When I was a senior in high school my wrestling team competed in a dual meet tournament. We competed against various teams in dual meet format the first day, and then the second day were seeded according to our previous day’s records and competed in an individual bracketed tournament. During the dual meet we wrestled a team from Oakland and I was paired up against a ranked wrestler I had lost to previously. I would have said I believed I could beat him, but I also had my fears.
The match began and eventually it ended in a tie. He had scored a one point escape, and I scored 1 point due to a penalty point given to me. So we both finished the day with a 3-0-1 record. So the next day we were seeded #1 and #2 and ultimately met in the championship match. But my attitude was very different going into the championship match. The result of the previous match caused me to realize I could certainly beat him. It was a tough match and we finished regulation in a 3-3 tie once again. This time, since it was in a tournament bracket, we went into overtime where I proceeded to win 7-3. As the match progressed, my belief grew and grew to the point that in overtime I won decisively.
This reminds me of a time I was coaching soccer for a U-16 boy’s soccer team. We were playing in a tournament with teams from multiple states. Earlier in the season we had competed in the State Cup and had lost to a Nike sponsored team 1-0. This time we played another Nike sponsored team but from a different state, yet they had the same uniforms. As illogical as it sounds, those uniforms reminded them of the former team and intimidated them.
We came out in the first half playing very tentatively and the other team completely dominated the possession and shots on goal and even scored an early goal. Yet we managed to survive the barrage and just prior to halftime scored a goal to level the match. That goal injected belief into our team like I’ve never seen. At halftime I didn’t have to say a thing. All the players began saying, “We can beat these guys.” They proceeded to encourage one another and build up one another’s belief to the point that when we finished the game, we won 6-1.
What was the difference? Belief. The team we played in the first half was the same team we played in the second half. The team we were in the first half, that had been dominated, was the same team we were in the second half. It was simply a matter of belief. When we were about to begin the overtime period in my wrestling match, I KNEW I was going to win. I knew it. Believe you can, and you can. Believe you can’t, and you can’t. Belief led to better execution and better performance in both cases.
Jesus said, “All things are possible to them that believe.” (Mark 9:23) Belief creates confidence. Belief causes a person to do something others won’t do. Belief will lead someone to take “risks” that others might see as foolish. Minister Mark Hankins says belief will cause you to swing out over the fires of hell on a corn cob stick and spit in the devil’s eye. With belief comes great exploits, and personally, I have never seen anyone accomplish anything of any significance without believing they could.
I work in helping people achieve their dreams. But if they don’t believe, they won’t. It’s that simple. But, if I can help instill belief in them, they begin to see some results; sometimes just enough results to create a little more belief, which leads to more results, which leads to more belief, until eventually they realize with 100% conviction that they WILL win.
Faith (belief) comes by hearing and hearing (Romans 10:17). When a person has someone in their corner continually encouraging them they can win and demonstrating to them that they can win belief is instilled; even better when an entire group does the same. Just as my soccer team began to encourage one another and build each other up, belief was created. Yes, the recipient must still act upon that belief, but the best of leaders, coaches, teachers, parents, or anyone in a place of influence, are the best at instilling belief.
Belief is powerful. But where does it come from? How does one arrive at a place of believing? I believe (pun sort of intended) it comes by way of a simple principle.
But how can they call to him for help if they have not believed? And how can they believe if they have not heard the message? And how can they hear if the message is not proclaimed? Romans 10:14 (GNT)
Someone ultimately cannot believe in themselves or something else, if they have never been told they can. Whether they hear from a person, a book, a story, or this blog, belief begins when someone transfers belief to that person. It always comes externally first. And it must continue to come externally until the “switch of faith” one day is turned on internally. For some that happens right away. For others it takes longer.
Once someone has a measure of belief, it can grow when it is acted upon and positive, measurable results can be seen. I had a small amount of belief I could win that first wrestling match. But when we tied 1-1, my belief increased. When we were tied at 3-3 and went into overtime, I saw enough results that I KNEW I would win. The “switch” turned on. When my soccer team scored that first goal to tie the game, belief came. They had a small amount of belief proven by the mere fact they went onto the field to play in the first place, but at half-time, the “switch” was turned on.
As a business leader, a coach, a parent, or a husband I am continually reminding myself how powerful a simple and sincere word of encouragement can be to a person. Perhaps one of the most powerful things someone can say is a heartfelt and sincere, “I believe in you!” Then, when that person leads them down a proven path of achievement more belief is instilled. As positive results come because a person acts upon their belief, their belief and confidence grows. And so goes the cycle of belief.
One final story. I coached a young man in wrestling that had achieved a decent level of success through his junior year in high school. During the next summer he went to a soccer camp in Brazil. They pushed him harder than he had ever been pushed in his life. They helped him realize he could work much harder and accomplish much more than he ever knew. And although it was a soccer camp, the belief that was instilled caused him to dominate during his senior year of wrestling. Technically not much changed, just his belief.
“All things are possible to him that believes.” It is true. So start believing in yourself and in others and see what happens.