GIVE: Open by the Spirit — Be Open to the Action of Self-Belief

GIVE! … By the Spirit™ with Dr. Pennie Murray

Be Open to the Action of Self-Belief

© 2010 Pennie Murray

May 25, 2010

Here’s a question: there’s a leadership position open at your organization. Two candidates apply—a smart woman who doesn’t think she’s smart, and a not-so-smart man who believes he’s capable of anything. Who gets the job?

I read an article some time ago that appeared in Newsweek, were British psychologist Adrian Furnham, who studies perceptions of human intellect (how smart people think they are) suggested that while men and women score pretty much the same in IQ assessments, men’s egos are generally larger than their IQ’s, while women’s egos are often smaller than their IQ’s. Furnham suggests that after analyzing 30 international studies, women across the world tend to minimize their intelligence, while men exaggerate theirs. (Click here to read more on this research)

“Desire self-belief… and never accept “no” as the defining factor of who we believe we can be—to ourselves, our family and the world around us”

According to Work in Progress, men aren’t more clever, smarter or shrewder. But since they think they are, they are more confident about their abilities. It seems that these self-beliefs may be highly adaptive and makes a difference as to who gets what and how much. We all know that person who has a measure of arrogance and excessive pride that makes us want to gag—maybe the operative phrase here should be “healthy self-belief.” But nonetheless, confident self-belief helps us, while playing down our abilities hurts us.

Let me throw some cold water on this thing. Replace the male/female references in this study with mainstream Americans and Black Americans, and think about the core message of the article. By in large, we bear social conditioning and residue (historically being seen as intellectually and socially inferior) that still causes many to minimize their competence as black men and women in comparison, causing them to renege on their contributions to the social progress of America.

Some researchers argue that we are being misled when we’re told that improving our self-esteem increases our self-belief and self-efficacy. Instead, they argue that as individuals, we should focus on increasing our actions or involvement, and the feedback we receive on those actions or efforts, is actually what raises our self-belief. In other words, finding and living life through your purpose allows you to make a major investment in yourself and the world around you. And once we make that investment, not only do we improve our self-esteem and gain a better quality of life—we also increase our self-belief.

It is my hope that as Blacks in America, from an individual level, we not only become open to believing in ourselves, but that we desire self-belief through our actions, and never accept “no” as the defining factor of who we believe we can be—to ourselves, our family and the world around us.

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