If You Believe it, You Can Be it

Natasha McDowall
Written by Natasha McDowall

Self-Belief Is a Predictor of Success

What do you believe? According to science, believing in yourself is the strongest predictor of success. High achievers in life do not allow self-doubt, worry or outside influences to stop them from believing in their goals. If you want something, make this your mantra: “If you believe it, you can be it”.

Two Separate Belief Systems

Researchers often look at students when studying beliefs and success. Students more or less have the same goals, which include doing well on tests, finishing assignments and graduating. However, although students have similar goals, their belief systems differ.

Psychologists have identified two separate belief systems about learning and success. Firstly, belief in free will is held by people who think they can make their own choices and succeed, regardless of internal or external challenges. Secondly, belief in fixed ability is held by people who think their success is predetermined at birth by the skills and abilities they possess.

Free-will Belief

Free-will Belief

A study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences showed that students who believed in free will scored better academically, both on test scores and overall grades. They viewed themselves as free from internal as well as external constraints and believed that they were capable of choosing their own paths.

We are all unique individuals with different talents and abilities. We can be what we want to be if we believe that we can.

Fixed-ability Belief

Fixed-ability Belief

A separate study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology tied the lack of success of students with a fixed-ability belief to negative feedback. A person who does not believe in themselves or their potential for success tends to avoid challenges where failure is possible. 

Individuals who hold this belief are more likely to blame their negative performances on lack of ability rather than effort. This renders them helpless and vulnerable and will most likely lead to a depletion of their self-confidence.


What Do Successful People Believe?

Researchers often study successful entrepreneurs and business leaders. Many entrepreneurs fail before achieving the ultimate success.  Business leaders struggle with challenges and disappointments before becoming industry powerhouses.

The research all points to the same underlying theme – belief. Successful people all believed that they could accomplish their goals, despite mistakes and setbacks.

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