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The Power of Belief: What To Do When Things Are Difficult

In all of my endeavors over the years I have felt that if I believed in what I was doing then I could find a way to achieve it. There are times for all of us though when we lose our belief in ourselves, in what we are doing, or in what we want to achieve. These are the times when we really decide how badly it is we want what we want. Rarely, is what we want easy to obtain, and that is likely why we chose it as our goal. In times of doubt I think of the late President Kennedy regarding the birth of the space program, “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” In moments of doubt, it is important to regroup and make a plan to achieve our goal. I like to use this process: visualization, action, release of negativity.

I like to start with visualization. What goes on in our own mind is often the most influential ingredient to our success. Visualize yourself with the outcomes that you want. See things the way you want them to be. This can be difficult, because we often self-sabotage and see things falling apart, but make the effort to believe that you can actually have things work out for you. See yourself doing the things you want, and how you want to do them. Try this brief exercise.

  • Take about five minutes and sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and hands on your lap palms up.
  • Breathe deeply for 3 – 5 breaths (diaphragmatic breathing is great for this exercise)
  • Visualize yourself as you want to be. Picture yourself confident in the body want to have, conducting yourself the way you want to. For example, maybe you see yourself with washboard abs. looking confident. When visualizing, go for what you want, be bold.
  • See events unfolding the way you want. For example see an email with a “congratulations” about a job you wanted. See everything working out for you.
  • When you complete the exercise take a deep breath and on the exhale, see all negativity leaving in that final cleansing breath.

Taking action can mean many things. I am a believer that activity and energy in a particular direction will yield positive results. If you take action with the intention and belief you will be successful, then you will likely be successful. In some cases our action opens doors we were not aware of, or guides us in directions that are seemingly unfamiliar or unexpected. One day I received a mailer from a publisher of books that I have purchased in the past. I sent an email soliciting an idea for a book, and wound up getting it accepted and published. What would have happened if I had looked at the mailer and not followed up with the action I was feeling I should take? How often do we have an idea or feeling we should do something, and don’t act on it? Take action. What have you got to lose?

Releasing negativity is an important step in the process as well. I believe at some point all of us need to release whatever negativity we are feeling in some way. Years ago a great teacher told me his method of dealing with individuals he was feeling negatively towards. He would write out all of the things that angered him about a particular person and then crumple up the paper and throw it away saying, “I release it all and it has no hold on me.” Then the important step: don’t think of any of it again.  I do this with many things such as excessive worry, or obsessing about negative outcomes. I believe writing things down has a certain power as it brings ideas from the abstract into our reality. I likewise believe that writing down your goals will make a huge impact on your success in obtaining them.

Using physical exercise is also a great way to help release negativity. Whether it is running as fast as you can and screaming at the top of your lungs. (This one is best done in a deserted area.) Or hitting things like a heavy bag used for boxing, or piling up pillows and blankets and pounding them. The method is not as important as the letting go. Nothing good will happen from hanging onto grudges or past failures.

On our journey to get back from difficult times we must first believe we can bounce back from setbacks and failures. Failure will remain brief if it is followed by persistent and inspired action towards our achievement. If we give up, then it is accepted, failure is secured, everlasting, and its sting will have no relief.  In these moments of doubt we should stop for a moment and recognize what we are feeling as honestly as possible, and breathe deep, take heart, and continue on pursuing our victory.





  • Noel Plaugher

    Noel started studying martial arts after being a victim of violent crime in 1990. Noel is a third degree black belt in Kung Fu Shou Shu, and a certified teacher of Xing Yi Chuan. Noel has studied other arts including Aikido, Judo and forms of Qigong. Author of the book "Standing Qigong for Health and Martial Arts - Zhan Zhuang" published by Singing Dragon. Noel lives in Atlanta, Georgia USA where he teaches and writes.

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