How I learned to believe in myself.
Has it ever happened to you that an imaginary character makes you question your ideas and opinions?
It did to me.
A few years ago, I was watching the TV Series Black Sails. The show is about cunning pirates who manipulate each other.
One character particularly caught my interest: John Silver.
At the beginning of the series, he is a nobody. His reputation is on par with that of a… washing sponge.
As the series progresses, John Silver starts a tradition; during every dinner he tells stories to his fellow sailors.
At first, he was being beaten. However, slowly, he starts gaining the respect of his friends.
At this point on the series one sailor makes a quote about John Silver:
He knows how to tell a story. If one day he decides to use it for his own advantage, we are all doomed.
This is the line that made me question my reality.
I always believed I was naive
Since early childhood, I was told that I am too “innocent”. My parents, my teachers and my relatives…
And for some reason I believed them. That is until I heard the above-mentioned quote.
I told myself: “hey, I am a good story-teller.”
I started thinking about the connection between story-telling and being cunning.
The connection is complex but apparent: if you can tell a story then you can understand how Human Emotions work — how to make suspense, how to make relatable characters etc.
But if you understand how human emotions work then you can be cunning and not be the fool everyone believes you to be!
I rejected my previous self-doubt
By watching this TV series, I soon Realized that I was not naive; I only pretended I was one.
So I naturally discarded the idea that everyone can outmaneuver me.
Do you guess what happened to me in a short time? Magic.
I found myself in a position where I was seeing people’s motivations.
Not only did my everyday interactions change — I was not the person who was fooled left and right — but my career plans have taken major deviations.
I have noticed that I am a good marketer.
I found that the thing not long ago I thought of as a weakness — understanding humans and their motivations — was actually my greatest strength. (Once I believed that academic intelligence was my biggest natural “talent”; I was wrong.)
The above line changed my life
No, not just the fact that I found out I was not naive after all.
But I learned a lesson much bigger:
We ourselves make our own limits.
When I broke off that limit, I found myself better, stronger, smarter.
I realized that our brain is a tricky and funny thing. I realized that the notions we have of ourselves lead us until we decide to lead them!
I realized that your emotions do not control you.
You control them!
Sometimes I forget these; Sometimes my placebo effect gets the best of me and I find myself in self-doubt.
But, once in a while, I look in the mirror and point a finger at myself; I tell myself to get up, believe in myself and go ahead.
When you do, and when you stop thinking of yourself as a failure, something good happens:
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Thanks for reading. In case, we haven’t met before, I am Ara Mambreyan :)
The One Line of Television That Transformed My Life was originally published in The Ascent on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.