19. WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? (English version)

The word of the day is belief, and I’m not referring to the religious meaning of the word. I’m referring to believing in the human capacity. Belief can move mountains. Belief can also create mountains. Belief has power, and it’s up to You if this power will work for you or against you.

”Who do you think you are?” This question is frequently used in a condescending tone when someone oversteps a boundary. It can be a person cutting in line for the bus, or a shy bullied seventh grader, who dares to sing at the school concert. In my home country, Sweden, this question is probably thought of frequently due to our country’s ”don’t you dare to stand out mentality”, which is a clear contrast to, for example, ”proud to be an American”.

Now I’m asking You the question again, this time with a neutral connotation: Who do you think you are? Are you a hard working family man owning a house, car and a dog, or a depressed single mom, or maybe a jock? Have you placed your identity in a box, or do you see yourself as a person with a great number of skills and possibilities? In other words; do you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset?

Mankind has always been fascinated by stories of those, who have been able to step out of their box when it no longer fits. Who doesn’t love a true Cinderella story, where a person with the odds against him or her, overcomes his or hers obstacles and is able to blossom, from an ugly duckling to a handsome swan. Many people are unfortunately stuck in the belief that they are a certain way and that they cannot do anything about it. I will share a personal example of this with you.

During my seventh year of school, I went from being one of the top of my class in math, to barely making it at all. From having an encouraging teacher who gave me the right kind of challenges, I now had a teacher who sighed and was quite generous with comments like: ”The results of the other class is much better than yours” and ”Why do I bother with you lot at all?”. When I started high school, my math grade had hit rock bottom, and it stayed that way the third year.

The high school years were all but pleasant, not so much due to my lousy math grade, but because of a great number of class mates who were anything but mates. One day I couldn’t take it anymore. I had had enough of those who bullied me and two others in my class and rose from my seat in the classroom just as we were about to take a major math test. I scolded our tormentors vigorously. Even though the clock was ticking, our teacher let me go on. As I can recall, our eyes met for a moment, where I could sense a consensus in his look. The room was dead silent and the accused sat there gaping looking increasingly ashamed when I, like a prosecutor, listed proof of their countless violations.

I finished my speech with ”Enough!”, sat down, picked up my pen and…scored a hundred on my test! In my moment of rage, I had forgotten to not believe in myself, or rather believing to be lousy at math.

Belief is fantastic. Belief can move mountains but also create them. Who do you think you are, or rather, what skills and possibilities are in Your reach?



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