Home > The Monday Musings Column > Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right

Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right

The quote is attributed to Henry Ford, a man who is both hero and villain depending on how you view him (or both from where I sit). And there you have not just one paradox, but two.

The sentiment is true, for an attitude of mind will take you wherever you allow it to lead you. If you don’t believe in yourself why should anyone else? It isn’t easy most of the time, for life is full of slings and arrows and will kick you where it hurts as often as it can. Those who can deal with that and not buckle will do all right for themselves, but those who can’t will find life hard. That is the way of the world and any attempts to interfere by trying to level the playing field are doomed to fail.

So if think that you can you probably will and if you think that you can’t you probably will not; either way your prophesy will be self-fulfilling. Your attitude of mind will play a significant part in how things pan out for you, and that is why youth can often be an advantage. When you are young you often don’t know enough to appreciate the risks and pitfalls so you charge on regardless. As you grow older your experience can often help, but it can also point you at your failings and this is where coaching and training can help. Being able to try to practice in a controlled and benevolent environment can boost confidence, and preparation will also aid the can do mentality: Failure to prepare is preparing to fail as they say.

Mr Ford was a man who knew both failure and success. His pioneering of the theory of mass production is well-known and the success he achieved in that arena brought car ownership within the reach of the masses. His passion for welfare capitalism taught lessons that we can learn from today, but to many his anti-union stance makes him a villain and whilst his desire for commerce to lead the way to global peace he was somewhat naive in his approach. He was, as are most of us humans, a complex character, hence being able to be both hero and villain. We are none of us perfect after all which leads me back to the attitude of mind issue, but from a slightly different angle.

There is another aspect to the hero or villain question and that is in the sense of doing right or wrong. Here again we have a choice, and it one that we alone get to make. In the same way as choosing to believe in ourselves isn’t always easy, nor often is the choice of doing the right thing. It is up to you which you go for in both cases; how you live your life is your choice, and the choice you make will shape what you become. What will yours be?

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