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A Tiny Teacher: How to Believe in Yourself

Updated on June 4, 2015
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Dr. Middlebrook, former university professor, is a fiction/non-fiction author (pen name Beax Rivers), and virtual writing coach and trainer.

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I want to share with you an inspirational story about learning to believe in yourself--even when the odds seem stacked against you. The story features lots and lots of teeny, tiny frogs, and one that stood out above all the rest. This is one of those stories that, once you read it, you'll replay it in your mind when you need a quick splash of encouragement. The author of the story is unknown to me, or I would gladly credit him or her. Take a few minutes to read it, and I hope it will inspire you too.

There once was a bunch of tiny frogs who arranged a running competition. The goal was to reach the top of a very high tower. A big crowd had gathered around the tower to see the race and cheer on the contestants. The race began. To be honest about it, no one in crowd really believed that any of the tiny frogs would ever reach the top of the tower. You could overhear people saying such things as, “Oh, this is way too difficult for a bunch of tiny frogs; they’ll never make it to the top." And other people were saying, "Not a chance in the world they’ll ever succeed. They’re just too small, and the tower is much too high!" One by one, the tiny frogs began collapsing. One by one they fell to the ground, except for those who managed to find a fresh tempo. Those went climbing higher and higher, but the crowd continued to yell at them. "It is too difficult,” they said. “None of you will make it!” Once again, more tiny frogs got tired and gave up. It looked like everyone was right. The goal the tiny frogs had set for themselves was just too hard to reach.

But even after all the others had stopped trying to climb the tower and had dropped to the ground, one little frog continued higher and higher and higher. That itty bitty little frog just wouldn’t give up. At the end of the race, all the other little frogs had given in to the crowd’s gloomy predictions. They had given up trying to climb the tall tower because, just like the voices below kept telling them, it was much too difficult a task. Except for the one tiny little frog that—after one last big effort, was the only one who reached the top. When she got back to the podium, she accepted her trophy with a smile, and all the other tiny frogs naturally wanted to know how she had managed to climb the tower. How did she do it? A contestant came forward, got in her face, and asked her, point blank, how she had found the strength to succeed and reach the goal. But the little frog couldn’t hear her. As it turned out...the winner was DEAF.

The moral of the story, of course, is that you should learn not to hear negative or pessimistic words—not even those that come from you—when it comes to setting goals and/or going after your dreams. Negative thoughts and words will take your most wonderful dreams and wishes away from you; those you have in your heart, that you know for sure you want to see realized in your life. This story is to remind me and to remind you that you should always speak words of encouragement to yourself. Remember the power that words have. Because every word you hear, read, and think, when internalized, will affect your actions. And, if you’re not paying close attention, you could become your own worst enemy. Always think positive, and above all, be deaf when someone either tries to tell you or to make you think, intentionally or not, that you cannot reach your goals and dreams. And be especially on the watch for when that someone is you.

It's not easy to stay strong and positive. In fact, I find it to be a continuous struggle, and often find myself borrowing strength from others. I look for and find inspiration through my faith, and now that I’m a member of the Hub Pages community, I also find inspiration and encouragement from my fellow Hub Page writers. Still, I have another secret weapon that I use to keep a positive outlook. It’s something we all do, but usually we take it for granted. It is talking to myself, either aloud, or using my “inner voice.” I’ve always done it, but I haven’t always been tuned in to the idea that I do it, or the fact that it matters so much what I am saying to me.

I believe talking to yourself really can help to keep you sane in an insane world, and “no,” you’re not crazy if you do it. In fact, you could be crazy if you don’t, because inner dialogue is an effective tool that can help keep negativity at bay. I think it’s a good idea to learn how to gain more control over your internal dialogue so that you can keep a positive mindset more often than a negative one, and so you can always be your own best friend.

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I'm using my self-talk now as I work on writing the novels I've always wanted to write. It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to do this, but somehow in the past I always managed to talk myself out of writing—mostly through negative thinking and negative inner dialogue. When it comes to the power of negative thinking, I’ve been there. I know for a fact that what you say to you makes a big difference. It also matters what you allow to stay with you that others say.

I've encountered many “Negative Nellies” in my past, people who, if I allowed what they've said to me to stay with me, would have kept me from working to accomplish my dreams and goals. It’s not even that negative people set out to influence you to destroy your dreams and your positive attitude about your ability to achieve your dreams. Many times it’s just that they’ve allowed their own world to become so dark and dreary through negative thinking, that they can only cast shadows. They have little or no sunshine left to share with you.

Once I started to monitor my self-talk—to check it, and more importantly, to change it when needed—then and only then did I discover what I needed to do to get myself in gear to go after what I want, despite my circumstances. Now that I have two novels published (the second will be out before summer 2015 is over!) I know it’s true that if you keep working hard and encouraging yourself to keep moving toward your true goals in life, one day, you will enjoy the victory.

© 2012 Sallie B Middlebrook PhD

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