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JOHN EGGERS COLUMN: Enjoy the Fourth of July with confidence

We could rid ourselves of most of the world’s problems if everyone felt confident about themselves and their abilities. I know, it’s a hard sell. But after you think about it for a while, it’s true. As Norman Vincent Peale said, “You can if you think you can” and he was probably paraphrasing Henry Ford who said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't -- you're right.”

Both of those two men exuded self-confidence and look what they did with it. You know all about what Henry Ford and his leadership in the auto industry. Norman Vincent Peale authored two of the world’s all time best selling books, “The Power of Positive Thinking” and “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Both are still widely read today.

If you had to select one group of very successful people in the United States who continually exhibited a high level of self-confidence, I think Ford and Peale would have no problem selecting former presidents. I am sure many read Peale’s books and many used Ford as an example of leadership.

How many of our presidents would have succeeded if they had a low self-confidence level? The answer would be “none.” What can our presidents teach us about self-confidence?

George Washington said, "Associate yourself with people of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for 'tis better to be alone than in bad company."

One reason why we have mentoring programs in schools is because we want to ensure that our young people associate with as many positive thinking people as possible. If every young person surrounded himself or herself with people whom possessed self-confidence and good moral judgement, we would have a world filled with happy people.

Thomas Jefferson said, "Nothing can stop a person with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help a person with the wrong mental attitude."

Every president possessed mental toughness. They pursued their task relentlessly.  They just never gave up unless they were proven wrong.

Self-confidence also gave them the courage to change.

James Madison said, “The circulation of confidence is better than the circulation of money.” Self-confidence can be contagious. This is why winning teams keep on winning. This is why members of a family who have high self-confidence also are more likely to have children who also possess a high level of self-confidence. It’s almost guaranteed that if you associate with people who believe in themselves and their abilities, you will too.

Andrew Jackson  said, “Any man worth his salt will stick up for what he believes right, but it takes a slightly better man to acknowledge instantly and without reservation that he is in error.” It is not easy to admit that you are wrong, but it certainly is a lot easier when you believe in yourself. There is no harm in apologizing. People will think better of you when you do.

Ulysses S. Grant said, “In every battle there comes a time when both sides consider themselves beaten, then those who continue the attack win.” You have heard about the person who failed eight times but got up nine times. Self-confidence helps you get up and up and up.

Franklin Roosevelt said, “We are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of our own minds.” We pretty much are what we believe. Kids who do well in school, believe they can do well. People who achieve in business, believe they can achieve. Athletes who win a lot believe they can win a lot.

Barack Obama said, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

If you wish to change to be a more self-confident person, what do you need to do? Here are three things that will help you.

  • Associate with people who are self-confident.
  • Begin to train your mind to believe you can do better than what you are currently doing. Say positive things to yourself every day.
  • Realize that you are capable of doing anything you want to do and don’t allow yourself to think you can’t.

Be the change that you seek. You are the person you have been waiting for. Do these three things and you can and will enjoy the Fourth of July with more confidence.

Riddle: What did the scientist say to the hydrogen atom that claimed it lost an electron? (Are you positive?)

There is one thing you can be definitely positive about. It’s hard to think negatively if you continually think positively.

100 percent graduation rate

A local movement is underway to ensure the area has a 100 percent high school graduation rate. Here’s some tips on how you can help us achieve that goal:

  1. Project Graduate is all about helping kids think positively about their ability to graduate. Let’s all help them do this.
  2. Lack of self-confidence is the single greatest factor that causes kids to drop out of school. Kids who graduate have a much higher degree of self-confidence.

John R. Eggers of Bemidji is a former university professor and area principal. He also is a writer and public speaker.