The Lies That We Tell Ourselves Can Become Truths

Mike Coval
January 5, 2021

I remember the first time that I thought I was stupid.  I was in the advanced 5th grade math class (basically 5th grader taking math with 6th graders) and my best friend, Jason, was in the same class.  We mostly would phase in & out of paying attention to the teacher and then doing dumb stuff that 10 year old boys would do which would disrupt class.  One too many re-enactments of Billy Madison lead to a meeting with our parents and they determined that we couldn't be in the same class anymore.  They kept Jason in the advanced class and took me down to the 5th grade class since Jason had better grades than me.

I felt stupid.  

Add to the fact that I was starting to get laughs from fellow classmates for my behavior and not to mention that I loved that they thought I was funny I then started focusing on how I could make people laugh rather than school.  This lead me to believe that "I'm just a class clown and not very smart."

By the time I got to high school I believed that I was stupid.  I also was bored out of my mind.  I hated high school.

I remember one of the things that solidified my hatred for school was after a presentation that I gave in my junior year.  I presented on creatine and its effects on athletic performance.  Besides not being particularly fond of me, my teacher also believed that creatine = steroids.  So after giving my presentation in front of the entire class, she went on to ridicule my presentation and ended it with "if you continue on the path you're on, then you won't amount to anything."

My plan was to work for Ford Motor Company on the assembly line once I graduated.

That shifted to continuing to work for my dad and his lawn & landscape company with the goal of eventually taking over the business.

Eventually, my confidence grew enough that I felt I was "worthy" of going to college so I did that with the low bar set for myself that I would graduate and work as a personal trainer at a commercial gym.

I graduated high school with a 2.3 GPA.  Not something I'm proud of, but it is what it is.  When I graduated from WMU, I finished with a 3.2 GPA.  Along the way, from 18-24 years old, I started making a mental shift from no longer believing I was stupid, but believing that I can do whatever I want as long as I put my mind to it and I make it interesting for me.

Now, at 34 years old, I realize why I had that mindset.  My environment had a big role in it and I wasn't wise enough at the time to understand that what I believed about myself wasn't true.  

Nonetheless, I poisoned myself because of my beliefs of who I was based on my perception of what others thought of me, my performance in school, and being told in roundabout ways that I was stupid by others who were my superiors.

I am lucky that I was able to get myself out of that mindset and start changing things around for the better.

What are some of the lies about you that you've told yourself that have held you back in your life?  Have you been able to let them go and shift in the opposite direction?

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Mike Coval

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