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The writer (left) with his friend Martin Driver.
The writer (left) with his friend Martin Driver.

This past week, I travelled to United Kingdom for a short trip to be best man at my friend, Martin Driver’s wedding.

It was a fabulous trip, and I was so thrilled to give a reading at this lovely occasion. It was such an honour to be asked to be best man.

Like all weddings, there was lots of joy as well as tears of happiness, and a whole load of hugs and kisses. It was also fantastic to catch up with some of my oldest friends in Brighton, where I went to university.

My friend Martin, for as long as I can remember, always said that he would never get married.

But then he met his lovely wife Patricia, and as he enters into the sixth decade of his life, he tied the knot. I’m so happy for him and I suspect he is going to be a very content man for the rest of his life.

Why do people change their mind under certain circumstances, and breakaway from long held beliefs?

The prolific Dutch post-impressionist painter, Vincent van Gogh, who is among the most famous and influential figures in the history of Western art is reported to have said, “…if you hear a voice within you say, ‘you cannot paint’, then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced”.

Self-belief forms the core foundation of getting any result in life.

Renowned management guru, Bob Proctor says, “…you don’t have to know how to do it, you just have to know that you can.”

Perhaps my friend Martin, when he met his future bride, realised that he could actually be married and be happy, even if he didn’t know the steps to make this happen.

I find that this is the most powerful mindset you can ever have.

I have met so many entrepreneurs and successful business owners who’ve made it, even though they actually did not know how to manage their businesses to start off with. They only knew and believed that they would get it done.

This attitude, where you take ownership of your actions is necessary for all parts of your life, from your relationships to your career.

Your beliefs are hugely influential, and powerful. Their impact is beyond the normal conscious control of your mind. Much of what happens to you, is a result of your sub-conscious beliefs.

The power of your sub-conscious beliefs is quite phenomenal.

There are multiple scientific studies on the placebo effect that reinforce this. A placebo is a substance containing no medication, given to strengthen a patient's expectation to get well. Their belief that the treatment will work, dramatically affects the way their bodies react to the illness.

The placebo effect is not deception. Instead, it is a product of expectation. The human brain anticipates certain outcomes, and because that belief is so strong, the desired result is produced.

This underlines the fact that ‘belief’ is vital to the human mind. If your belief in something strong enough, it will happen. Therefore, to be successful at anything we do, we must have belief.

On my daily radio show, The Right Perspective with Shankar Santhiram on Lite Malaysia, I regularly remind listeners that of all the ‘beliefs’ we develop, self-belief is critical.

People with self-belief have qualities that we admire. They are confident and competent. These types of people also encourage confidence in others. The biggest contributor to self-belief is your confidence in your ability.

As you master skills and gain expertise in any given field, you gain in confidence. And, as you sense that you are competent at what you do, naturally your self-belief increases.

While positive thinking has a role in the development of your self-belief, setting and achieving goals helps you build your confidence and competence.

Through my work, I have learnt that the key component to developing self-belief is being confident that the end result you want is possible.

You need to be able to say with total conviction “it really is possible for me to achieve this goal”.

Having self-belief facilitates finding creative solutions. When you approach a goal at the workplace with disbelief you will feel anxiety and your ability to think gets clouded by t


Alternatively, when you approach a goal or a problem at work or even in life with self-belief, you are able to think much more clearly.

People who lack self-belief have a strong inclination to filter out the positive aspects about themselves.

So, consciously work on identifying and acknowledging your results and strengths.

List out your accomplishments, and not undersell your success to yourself. Most of all, stop comparing yourselves to others. It is a total waste of time, and completely futile.

Do not sabotage your own self-belief.

Instead, work on self-improvement by concentrating on your self-efficacy. This is your belief in your own capacity to execute the behaviour necessary to produce results.

Just like my friend Martin, when you increase your self-belief, you will find that your value grows.

Shankar R. Santhiram is managing consultant and executive leadership coach at EQTD Consulting. He is also the author of the national bestseller “So, You Want To Get Promoted?”

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