Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Self-Confidence - A Personal Achievement Remembered

I think of myself as a self-confident person, probably because every now and then I try something audacious, work hard, and actually make it happen. I sometimes wonder where this strength comes from - what helped form it.

Meredith Bell once posted a video on her blog, Your Voice of Encouragement, in which she suggests that writing down your Top 50 personal achievements in a "Victory Log" can help boost your self-esteem. Not that I feel I need more work in this area. But I've been interested in the exercise, because my previous attempts to list my personal achievements had never exceeded 20 items. So, curious about what the other 30 might be, I've been letting my brain wander in search of so-called "lesser" achievements.

This morning, a memory popped into my head.

When I was nine years old my family made a road trip to McGill, Nevada to visit my grandparents on my mother's side. My grandfather was a powerful authority figure. Head of a family of 16 children, he was a leader in that Mormon community. One day he and I were walking down the main street of town, and I asked him, "Grandpa, who made this town?"

"God made this town."

It wasn't the answer I was looking for. "What do you mean?"

"God created all that is. Everything in the universe."



I pointed to the sky. "Did he create that cloud?"

"Everything, son. He created everything."

"The sun and the moon?"


"That saloon?"


My little nine-year-old brain questioned that. That didn't seem right. Why would God create a saloon? He may have created the sun and the moon, but surely, I thought, people created some of the things in the world. "Did he create our car?"

"Yes, God created the car. All the cars in the world. He created everything."

I decided not to pursue the matter with more questions. I sensed that my grandfather meant well and wanted to reinforce my faith, but I knew he would just continue to insist that God made everything that ever was, is, or every would be, and that was that.

But in my heart, I didn't believe that was the way things were. And from that moment on, I saw my grandfather as a fallible person. I concluded that I had to trust my own judgment on my emerging journey towards figuring things out.

That incident may seem trivial to you, but it was, in retrospect, momentous to me. And I haven't thought about it until today, nearly 60 years later. And I have to say, it's definitely on my Top 50 list of personal achievements.

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2012. Building Personal Strength . (Permission to use photo purchased from fotolia.com)


Beth said...

Not trivial. Big, and a key developmental leap. I think it's huge when (and if) when a person absorbs that their parent or grandparent is fallible, and also that they aren't resposible for every good thing or every bad thing that happens to you. Another key to becoming a well-adjusted adult for me was learning that I was not responsible for another person's happiness or lack thereof.

Сергей said...

Thanks a lot! Very actual theme for me. I try multiple services to track my achievements. Now use the online-service Personal achievements