What is the main difference between people who have confidence they will succeed and people who don’t? Is it that they live in essentially different worlds— the confident in an easier place where everyone supports their efforts at success and the less confident in a harsher world where it is harder to succeed? No.
The difference is not the world itself. The difference is how they view the world. The confident construct a reality out of the world around them, a reality in which success is possible because they pay special attention to those who have succeeded and have carefully studied the path to success. Those who lack confidence, meanwhile, pay more attention to those who have failed and the obstacles that exist to thwart their efforts.
It is much like two people walking next to each other on a busy city street, one looking up and the other down. The reality of the city is the same, but the view is very different.
Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who led Great Britain through World War II, is thought of by many experts as perhaps the best example of a person who led a complete life and functioned to the best of all his abilities. Churchill not only led a government through the most overwhelming circumstance, he spent his life engaged in such pursuits as studying, painting, writing, and raising a family.
However, one year after the treaties were signed ending all hostilities in the war, Winston Churchill was voted out of office. He left office shocked and humbled and feeling a failure.
By no reasonable standard would Winston Churchill have to accomplish so much to be considered a success. But at the same time, by only one standard could Winston Churchill consider himself a success. If Churchill did not see himself as having succeeded, then no accomplishment would suffice.
Research on middle-class men from similar backgrounds found that they have greatly divergent views of how difficult it is to succeed economically. Despite the fact that they experienced similar economic and social challenges, some viewed the world as tilted against them, while others saw it as offering great opportunities. The more optimistically they viewed their surroundings, the greater their satisfaction with their job and their confidence in future success.
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