When a paralytic woman became the fastest woman in the world
Wilma Rudolph (1940-1994) faced toughest of childhoods. She was born prematurely, and walked into illnesses one after another, constantly! Her family was financially weak and could barely afford a doctor. She was nursed to health by her family, majorly by her mother.
At the age of 4, she contracted infantile paralysis (caused by polio virus). Eventually, she recovered from the virus. However, she had to wear a brace on her left leg and foot, and later an orthopaedic shoe, to walk. In 1952, she started walking independent of the aid of the medical devices. She vowed to get over with all her illness and get on with her dream of becoming an athlete. And the rest is history.
In 1960 summer Olympics in Rome, Wilma emerged as ‘The Tornado, the fastest woman on earth’! She flew through the 100 meter, 200 meter, and 400 meter relay, breaking the world records to pick up 3 gold medals.
What made her life a story of extraordinary success? Her relentless belief in herself!
What is ‘Belief’?
Belief is trust, faith or confidence (in something or someone).
Currently, I’m reading a book ‘The Magic of Thinking Big’, in which David Schwartz says that belief is often confused with ‘wishful thinking’. But, belief is more than just wishful thinking. He says that when you believe I-can-do-it, the how-to-do-it develops.
Now, feel the difference (if Wilma would have said):
- I wish I could become the fastest woman on the planet.
- I believe I can become the fastest woman on the planet.
Wishful thinking is merely wishing that you could have done something, largely signifying lost hopes. But, having a belief that you can do something signifies infinite possibilities and creates a limitless future.
Why believe in self?
What if Wilma would have just sat in dismay, repenting over her bad foot? What if her painful past had dwelled throughout her life? What if she never believed in her dreams?
A firm and unwavering belief triggers the mind to figure out ways about how-to. Set yourself out for a purpose and strongly believe that you will achieve it.
Belief gives you courage, interest, and enthusiasm to move ahead. It is a driving force that keeps you at hard-work, despite of having days when you feel like giving up.
How to develop self-belief?
First, you have to set your goals, and be bold on them. Setting the goals give you a direction. Initially, you can set easier goals as per your risk appetite. It’ll help you boost your confidence, which is a must in developing self-belief.
Now, you have to begin to filter out negative aspects about yourself. You strictly have to cut down on comparing yourself with your past performances, and with others’ performances.
And finally, keep challenging yourself continuously for better. You’ll see in time that your self-belief has grown from a lower Point A to a higher Point B.
Wilma’s path wasn’t easy, but she said, “I believe in me more than anything in this world.” She really stood by those golden words.
A direction to your self-belief
Ordinary humans generally tend to believe in producing ordinary results, leading an ordinary life, the one with ease and comfort. Break out of your comfort zone!
When Wilma first started walking normally, without any medical aid, at the age of 12, she would have had a new-found belief that she can now lead a life of a normal female. Fare well in academics, get a good job, find a loving partner, have a family, and get settled in life. And, that would be it.
But, she chose to place her belief in doing something extraordinary, beyond the reach of any normal human being, because normal human beings aren’t crazy enough. She began to work on becoming an athlete. Being paralytic to being an athlete? Well, she wasn’t the most realistic human.
Believe in becoming the great one. So what if you fail once, twice, or thrice? So what?! Why restrict your belief in your ability? You say it’s being realistic? Will Smith says, “Being realistic is the most common path to mediocrity.”
You have to choose to place your belief in being extraordinary, in your world. Whether your world is your business, profession, personal relationships, global movement, or a mixture of a few or all, remember that you have it in you to produce the most miraculous breakthroughs. The biggest factor in actualisation of your potential is your belief in self!
Believe in extraordinary. And, battle it out to glory!