LUKE: Master, moving stones around is one thing. This is totally different! YODA:(irritated) No! No different! Only different in your mind. You must unlearn what you have learned. LUKE:(focusing, quietly) All right, I’ll give it a try.
YODA: No! Try not. Do or do not. There is no try. Yoda teaching Luke Skywalker the principle of maximum effort.
The Merriam Webster describes a principle as “A moral rule that helps you distinguish right from wrong “. Indeed, principles can be experienced as standards of good behavior:
“I will always give the best effort I can to the challenges I set for myself.”
When you have principles, you have standards. And we’ll see how having principles and sticking to them can be the real key to high self-esteem no matter what’s happening around you.
Confidence comes from the latin word confido.
Con- “With” and -fido “Trust”
So litterally with trust.
It’s about trusting yourself. And how do you learn to trust yourself?
Well the same way you learn to trust a climbing hook.
You test it out on the ground, you strain and pull on it while there’s nothing at stake, and when you’re certain of it’s functionnality, you put your life on it and take it for a climb!
Confidence in life works much in the same way, you take any activity, you practice it while there’s not much at stake (rehearsal, practice, simulation…etc), and then once you’ve practiced enough and feel capable of holding your own under real conditions, you take your skills to the ring.
But what happens when things don’t go as planned?
Do we become angry? Dissapointed? Disillusionned, or even discouraged? Certainly.
The same could be said for the reverse, a few wins can make you feel like the one, but that only reveals the fleeting nature of self-confidence.
In fact, I would argue that it’s only part of the equation when it comes to being at peace with yourself. What you and I are really after might not be self-confidence, but perhaps it is self-love, or self-esteem.
Some confuse self-confidence with self-esteem, but these two concepts are really quite different.
The Meriam Webster defines self-esteem as: “A feeling of having respect for yourself and your abilities.”
So there’s a component of self-respect in self-esteem (or self-love).
In his amazing book the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey talks about how people base their sense of worth around different life centers.
Some people derive their sense of self worth from their partner, from their family, from their reputation, status, or even finnances.
However, because of the fickle nature of the centers, these people experience major fluctuations in their sense of self-worth, on a daily basis even.
The state of their relationships, or the state of their outer possesions determine how they feel about themselves.
When times are good, they feel awsome.
When times are tough, they feel weak.
Essentially, they are not in control of their sense of self-worth. That’s in the hands of other people and circumstances.
When you decide to live a life centered around principles you are able to gain power and control over your sense of self-worth.
Your source of positive self-esteem becomes the act of honoring your core life principles.
This creates a situation in which you’re able to feel good about yourself simply by living in a way that is congruent with how you perceive the world.
All those principles are frames through which you can experience reality, and what Stephen Covey says in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective people, is that living in accordance with yourprinciples is really the most solid way to preserve your self-esteem.
Listen, at the end of the day, people and circumstances change, principles don’t. And it’s always your decision if you’re going to honor them or not.
“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”
-Stephen R. Covey
The secret to self-love is living a life supported by strong principles.
Now this might sound odd because most of us aren’t accustomed to thinking that way, but if you take a moment to look at it, principles can be quite empowering indeed.
What would happen, if you were to come to agreement with yourself, that you would always give your best effort in anything you did. In other words, no matter what I chose to do and what the results are, I will make sure I’m giving 100% every step of the way.
So again, what would happen if you were to make this your point of reference, instead of the outcome in any situation?
What would happen is that you would perceive that in itself as a positive outcome.
In other words, you wouldn’t be more satisfied by the act, than it’s results. And that’s a sustainable way to build yourself up.
How is it sustainable?
It’s sustainablebecause the satisfaction is in the act, in the doing, not in the results, and that much is under your control.
So I’m going to leave you now with a very specific question to chew on:
What are the principles currently supporting your life?
You might find that there are many, or you might find that there are none. And if you hadn’t thought of it before, it might be the reason why you’re feeling like a leaf in the wind. Change your leafs, but stick to your roots! 🙂
“Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.”