The professor stood before his class of 30 senior molecular biology students, about to pass out the final exam. ‘I have been privileged to be your instructor this semester, and I know how hard you have all worked to prepare for this test. I also know most of you are off to medical school or grad school next fall,’ he said to them.
‘I am well aware of how much pressure you are under to keep your GPAs up, and because I know you are all capable of understanding this material, I am prepared to offer an automatic ‘B’ to anyone who would prefer not to take the final.’
The relief was audible as a number of students jumped up to thank the professor and departed from class. The professor looked at the handful of students who remained, and offered again, ‘Any other takers? This is your last opportunity.’ One more student decided to go.
Seven students remained. The professor closed the door and took attendance. Then he handed out the final exam. There were two sentences typed on the paper:
‘Congratulations, you have just received an ‘A’ in this class. Keep believing in yourself.’
I never had a professor who gave a test like that. It may seem like the easy way out of grading a bunch of exams, but it’s a test that any teacher in any discipline could and should give. Students who don’t have confidence in what they’ve learned are ‘B’ students at best.
The same is true for students of real life. The ‘A’ students are those who believe in what they’re doing because they’ve learned from both successes and failures. They’ve absorbed life’s lessons, whether from formal education or the school of hard knocks,and become better people.
Those are the people who you look for when you’re hiring or promoting, and the ones you keep if you’re downsizing. Your organisation needs their brand of thinking.
Believing in yourself comes from knowing what you are really capable of doing. Baseball superstar Mickey Mantle struck out more than 1,700 times, but it didn’t stop him from excelling at baseball. He believed in himself, and he knew his fans believed in him.
Surround yourself with positive people – they know the importance of confidence and will help you keep focused on what you can do instead of what you can’t. Who you surround yourself with is who you become.
Never stop learning! I would work this advice into every column if I could; it’s that important. Don’t limit yourself only to work-related classes, either. Learn everything about every subject that you can. When you know what you’re talking about, it shows.
Author: Harvey Mackay