I still remember the time when, as a grade school student, I wanted more than anything I could think of to play a musical instrument and be a member of the school band. Along with ten or twelve other students from my school class, I decided to try out for the band. After being handed a completely alien musical instrument and trying to get it to make music in front of the band instructor, my class teacher, and the other students, I was dismissed.
I knew that I had not done well. But it was an hour later, after the last student of the day had performed, that I overheard the band director telling my class teacher that not only could I not play in the band, but I had no musical ability and would never be able to play a musical instrument! What incredible programming for a twelve-year-old boy who had his heart set on learning how to play!
It worked. I heard, from someone else, that I had no musical ability and I believed it. I accepted as fact that I had no musical talent and that I never would. It wasn't until years later that I finally got up enough courage to rent a piano, learn some notes, and play it secretly when no one was around to remind me that I could not play. I never did develop the skill I wanted. But I learned, after some twenty frustrating years, that our school band director was wrong. And I had believed him.
As children, we often come to believe many things we are told by adults. But how much of what we were told, particularly about ourselves and our abilities, is true? Could it be that many of the things we have come to take for granted about ourselves—things we may have allowed to define or even limit us—are, in fact, false?