With lifted eyebrows she looked at her teenaged son, sitting next to her at the kitchen table.
“What do you mean, no good at maths?”
He leaned back, shrugged.
“I am a person who is good with words, with languages, but I am no good at maths.”
He looked at her, frowning. She behaved as if she hadn’t seen his grades.
“Could it possibly be that you see yourself as someone who is good at languages, and then you do what people who are good at languages do, and then you get great results?”
“Mum, it’s not that sim...”
“And you define yourself as someone who is not good at maths, you stop liking it and start getting poor results.“
“Mum, it's not about how I define myself.”
She put her hand on top of his.
“Oh yes sweetheart. It's all about who you think you are.”
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White house chief of staff John Kelly explained why he stayed for 17 months in what he called a “bone-crushing hard job” by saying: “Military people don’t walk away.”
Once you define yourself as someone or something, your actions will become evident.
This goes for both “good” and “bad” behaviours.
I have clients who call themselves lazy. Or who say they are unstructured. Others say they are procrastinators.
The first thing I tell them is to re-define who they are.
When you define yourself the way you want to be, rather than as a limited version of you, the actions will follow.
It’s not what you do.
It’s who you are.