I recently read Robert Kagan’s article Not Fade Away (http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/magazine/99521/america-world-power-declinism#), which dissects and invalidates the all too common opinion that America is on its decline as a superpower.
I think the facts he laid out and case he made was fairly convincing, although, I would want to do some fact checking on my end. However, what interested me the most about this article is how it applies to self development.
In the article he outlines the major successes the United States has had over its history and also outlines the major failures. What he leaves us with is that there has never been a time in the history of the United States where there hasn’t been a time period of successes without failure. Moreover, he outlines that in the 21st century there is the possibility that America actually has had more successes than failures when compared to the prior 40 years.
His last point is that ultimately the decline of America is inevitable, but whether it is in 20 years or 400 years is going to be determined by the belief of its people. The American story can be told from a lens of failure or success, and it is up to the storyteller to determine what story to believe and spread. If we choose to believe that America is on its decline, our attitudes and actions will reflect that of a declining nation which will contribute to our demise. On the macro level, if we collectively choose to believe that America is still on the rise our actions and attitudes will reflect this as well.
This is a very interesting notion since this ideology can be applied to ourselves. In our lives we are going to face tons of failure and tons of successes. It is up to us on whether to focus on one over the other. No, we shouldn’t deny our failures, rather we should accept and move on. Yes, we should celebrate our successes. It is up to us whether we want to tell the story of our life as a string of successes or failures. Every moment is an opportunity to live in success if we choose to.
Our feelings about ourselves contribute to our everyday actions and attitudes. If we feel like we are a success we will act successful and thereby attracting more success into our life. If we feel like we are a failure our attitude will project failure thereby attracting more failure into our life. It all starts with a belief.
I recently played a game that really drove home the point that your internalized beliefs will manifest your attitude and physical condition. This game starts with people wearing blue arm bands trying to race to as many checkpoints as possible. However, on the way to the checkpoints there are people with red bands who are there to tag blue banded people out. If you are tagged out you switch to a red band and try to tag others blue bands out of the game.
When I wore the blue band I felt this constant fear and anxiety. I hid around corners, I ran cautiously and I felt weak. I’m sure my heart rate was elevated and others could tell I was nervous just by looking at me. After I was tagged out and put the red band on I instantly felt strong and invincible. I walked around as if I owned the place and wasn’t scared of anything. The anxiety and fear was instantly gone.
This really hit home the point that these 2 personas created by this game are the same types of personas our minds create about ourselves. Think about what you are limiting yourself to by your beliefs and work to change these beliefs. If you want to do something in your life the very first step maybe to identify the limiting beliefs you have and set steps to overcoming them.