|My Family, Circa 1954. I Was 10 Years Old. L-R...Brother David, Dad, Mom and Me|
I had zero self confidence. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero.
|.Me, About Six Years Old. Handsome, No?|
What this does to a child, of course, is create a sense of defeat before he/she even starts to try to do something. My favorite expression for years was "I can't".
My negative attitude enraged my mother, who did all she could to get me to think positively. My dad would become so frustrated with my struggles that on more than one occasion he would yell at me, "You're stupid". I believed him.
Oh my God---then came the teenage years. I guess I'm glad I lived through them, but the good Lord knows I would never do it again. Not only was I completely devoid of any confidence, but I had hormones coursing through my body and I wanted girls to like me and I wanted to be popular and I wanted to make good grades.....
|Circa 1960. L-R...Brother David, Dad, Grandmother May, Me (Age 16)|
When I was six years old my parents sent me to swimming lessons. I remember I quickly learned to swim a short distance. But, no matter how hard the instructors tried, they could not persuade me to try swimming in the deep end of the pool. I had a mental block. All the other kids could do it, but no matter how much encouragement everyone gave me, little Clint couldn't make himself succeed.
Then, there was arithmetic/algebra/geometry/chemistry/physics/you name it. In school, if it was technical, I said I couldn't do it before the first class. Oh, and my struggles with girls in school. Oh, how I wanted the girls to pay some attention to me. But I was too shy to even ask a girl for a date. I saw myself as a failure.
My friends, this business of attitude is either tremendously empowering or disastrously defeating.
Thank God, as time went on, and a few successes occurred in my life here and there, my self-image improved steadily. Finally, I was able to begin to achieve! What a liberating feeling! Success breeds success----and success begins to elevate confidence. And confidence leads to a circle of wondrous victories in life.
Back in those dark days of failure, my mom used to have an expression: "Can't never could".