I’m a superstitious guy. I won’t eat certain foods on certain days, I won’t hit a snooze bar, and I have a lucky tie I wear when delivering keynotes. If you hang around me long enough, you’ll hear me tell you why I do what I do. I’ll try to find logical reasons for my little superstitions, but I know that I do these things because I don’t want to somehow jinx myself.
There’s one jinx I don’t buy into, and that’s the bizarre superstition of not believing in yourself. By expressing positive thoughts about ourselves publicly, we think that we are somehow jinxing ourselves. Don’t believe me? How many times have you heard an exchange similar to this:
“Do you think you’ll be successful achieving that particular goal?”
“Oh, I don’t really know. I’ve worked really hard but I’d hate to say ‘yes’ and jinx myself.”
Since when did believing in yourself become a jinx?! Why not have the audacity to actually utter those positive words out loud? Is there some sort of data that I’m unaware of that supports this jinx theory? I think not. As a matter of fact, I personally believe that the opposite is true.
Watch and listen to the tone and words of those who confidently speak about things that are not 100% under their control. Not only will you believe them, but you’ll see that they believe in themselves. Think about it for a moment. Assuming you’ve worked hard and done the things necessary to be successful, why wouldn’t you allow others to hear you speak in a positive manner?
So what are we so afraid of? Maybe we don’t want to be perceived as arrogant. Really? I just can’t believe telling others that we are confident, and that the work we have put into a particular goal will result in a positive outcome will drive others into believing we are somehow arrogant.
Perhaps it’s the fear of failure. After all, if we don’t tell people that we expect to be successful, and we keep our positive thoughts a secret, a possible failure won’t be as traumatic. Personally, I have a lot more respect for those who put themselves out there and put their goals on the line, then those who sound timid or unsure for fear they may jinx themselves.
I coached soccer and basketball teams for over thirty years. Over the first ten years, I was very careful to avoid laying out large goals to my teams. I didn’t want to apply unnecessary pressure on my player’s shoulders, and then see disappointment if they didn’t achieve those goals. During the next twenty years of coaching, I was upfront with these goals. I made sure my players believed in these goals too. I never found that talking about our goals jinxed our efforts. As a matter of fact, I think quite the opposite was true: Goals motivated the players to work harder and with more enthusiasm. In telling others about these goals, we created a support system that we were accountable to which made us work hard to achieve these goals.
There are some things we can control, and some we cannot. Having the courage to speak positively about things that are not completely under our control does not create some sort of mythical jinx! There is just no validity to the fear that we won’t do well just because we have the nerve to view things in a positive manner and share that vision with others. Let’s stop whispering our hopes and dreams, and instead, shout them out loud. Win, lose, or draw, if we’ve put in the work to achieve these goals, we can walk tall regardless of the results.