Riding The Crest

by Sean Adetula

So I’m sitting in my office one day, juggling a million little tasks (as is my everyday), wondering what else tedium had in store for me that day. As it happened life was about to throw me a curve ball. It happened like this. A guy was walking past my office, sees my face screwed up in concentration (actually, I was frowning), stops and starts to stare. I’m not sure how long he stood there for, he told me five minutes, could have been much longer for all I know. So he stops, knocks on my door and asks to come in, I told him he could and asked what I could do for him. He said, and get this, that he just wanted to know what a rich man looked like before he became rich.

Puzzled? So was I. I asked him to elaborate. If nothing else my curiosity was piqued. Apparently he’d been having a word with the Managing Partner who’d had certain things to say about me and based on that this gentleman was convinced that I was firmly on the road to success. Things couldn’t have been further from the truth, at least from the standpoint of how I felt. After thanking him and seeing him out of the office, I went back to engage my tedium and found that I could do no work. I was taken by what the gentleman had to say, hoping it was prophetic but wondering about his motives. I was still deep in thought about this late into the night, long after I left work for home and sleep that night involved a lot of tossing and turning.

I got it the next morning over cornflakes.

I was having one of those “feel-good” days, quite strange considering the fact that I hadn’t slept much the night before. I had on one of those “power” ties, kind of warning the world to watch out, I was feeling on point. So over cornflakes, while staring at the nutrition content on the back of the Kellogg’s box, it struck me why I was feeling so good, why I was able to rise the crest of my downer the day before. It seemed like such a fundamental key to living life, I wondered if anybody else “got it” and if not, my next thoughts were how do I package and sell this new discovery, if indeed it was new. What am I talking about? We’ve gone through life being told that one of the most important things we can ever do for ourselves, is believe in ourselves. That therein lies the key to our success but that hasn’t always worked, too much belief you’re seen as arrogant. Not enough, well, let’s just say you have self esteem issues and that’s putting it mildly. So what was it I discovered on that morning eating cornflakes…drum roll please.

The key isn’t just belief in self, the key lies in having others believe in you. I am minded to think of a bully (not that bullies are a good thing but they help illustrate this point), everybody knows that bullies are cowards, yet there is this thing about them that makes some of the play ground kids follow them, hang around them or just plain kiss up to them. Why? It’s because the bully has tapped into their belief system and is using it has currency to buy him or herself out of those days when you just don’t feel you can cut it. I know I’m a great lawyer, I’ll get better as time goes on but imagine if somebody else believed that with the same passion that I do, I just simply couldn’t lose. On those days when I feel less than par all I have to do is tap into their belief of me and it just might be enough to help me ride the crest of self-doubt.

Believe me those days will come and I remember remarking to a friend that I am so cognizant now of when those moods are about to set in that I know when I need to get my fix. I am of the opinion that self-belief pales in comparison to others believing in you and this is a currency I am more than willing to beg, borrow or even steal. Of course there exists the danger (as all pills have side effects) of one becoming narcissistic, true, but I never said it would be easy. For the good of alleviating my back pain I am more than willing to risk the occasional headache. For the worth of a good life and a great belief system I am more than willing to run the gamut of becoming a narcissist, doesn’t mean I will.

Nothing beats “you can do it”, and if it works for you the way it has worked for me, you’ll get strangers in your office cheering you on. Next, I’ll tell you how to go about building your own personal belief system, at least how it worked for me. Now, if I can only get American Express as part of my network, I’ll be sitting pretty.

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Anonymous August 15, 2005 - 8:53 am

i still didn't find that you told what was on the back of the cornflakes box which left me unsatisfied even with a good message story as this.

Anonymous June 5, 2005 - 7:23 pm

I really enjoyed this article. It is one thing to believe in one's self but having others believe in you is truly great.


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