Mirrors are tricky.
Yes, they give an accurate depiction of how you currently look. Yes, it aids in tying your tie, shaving, and practicing your signature smirk — all which are very practical.
But it’s tricky because it only trains you to look at yourself in present tense.
A mirror does not show how far you’ve come, or where you’re going. A mirror doesn’t log or keep tally of progress, nor is it particularly concerned with your vision ahead.
Which is why many of us struggle with attaching our identity to where we currently are.
We harbor our past as an indictment against what we can do, we play victim to unfortunate happenstances, and we lose hope in our potential, all because of what our reflection reminds us of.
But in reality, how you see yourself is directly correlated to your potential.
Getting the woman of your dreams is not predicated on the past girl you struck out on and just because you don’t have your dream body now, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. You may just have to work off 3 am cold pizza and soft drinks to see it.
You may feel like a hamster running in a wheel at the same entry level job you’ve had out of college, but that does not mean your Fortune 500 business idea is null and void.
When you look in the mirror are you looking at the possibility of victory, or do you have your eyes on your problems to the point where you see no way to win?
Social Man founder Christian Hudson speaks on this in one of the modules in ‘The Ten Code‘ series. He breaks down the art of telling the story of your life: knowing how to process past experiences, overcoming doubts and placing value in self.
All pillars to achieving your aspirations.
Like what Hudson was alluding to, reaching the levels we’ve always wanted to starts with reshaping the way we see ourselves. And that starts with you.
The Past is The Past
A big part of what makes up the way we view ourselves are the experiences we had in our past. You performed horribly your freshman year so you assume you’re a ‘bad student’.
You miss the final cut in tryouts, so you deem yourself not good enough. You get in a car accident, and now you’re a bad driver.
Mishaps will always happen. If you don’t know, let me inform you now: you will always face roadblocks and difficulties that lie ahead of where you want to go.
Which is why you cannot reach a conclusion about yourself due to one bad semester or tryout.
How you see yourself is important because it’s the first step to actually becoming the individual you want to be. Without that vision, if you cannot see yourself being and doing what you’ve always wanted, you will never be inspired to make it happen.
Whether it’s your performance in bed, excelling in your career or completing a dumb Rubik’s Cube, if you let your past define you, you will never advance ahead to conquer them.
Our responsibility is to believe in ourselves. In an almost fake-it-till-you-make-it fashion, we must act according to where we want to be, not where we are. When we do that we set in motion the action needed to eventually get to where we want.
Stop Playing Victim
If we let it, guilt can blur our self-perception and stunt our potential. As I stated earlier, life inevitably brings uncertainties that may knock us one way or another. But how we respond is up to us.
In life, you can either make things happen or watch things happen. When we’re reactive — as in being instrumental in addressing shortcomings instead of letting them shape our perception — we regain control of our circumstances.
Too many of us play victim and fold into the nature of our situations. Stephen Hawking was dealt a pretty woeful hand but saw past his own disability.
Ray Charles was born into poverty, combated racism, and decided to take up piano before going blind. He could have accepted his fate as a blind man, play victim, and succumb to his circumstance, but he saw (figuratively of course) himself as more.
When you start seeing yourself as who you want to be, and doing what you’ve always wanted to do, rather than see yourself at where you are presently, you’ll be surprised at how far you go.
A few years back I was watching tryouts for a high school basketball team and remembering eyeing, in particular, a significantly undersized kid.
As I watched the lay-up drills, bounce passes, and crossover routines, it was clear that the kid was not only undersized but was just not as good as his teammates.
When the coach split the squad up and had them put on different colored jersey’s I feared for the boy, I knew he was going to get crushed. But the exact opposite happened.
What the kid lacked in size and skill he had in heart. He was driving harder than anyone to the bucket, jumping after loose balls and shooting it like he was Steph himself.
He ended up outperforming everyone.
See, the freshman wasn’t deceived by the mirror. He didn’t see a 5’6 110-pound guard. He saw himself making the basketball team by all means necessary. He saw himself as more, and alas, his potential was unlocked.