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I was speaking to someone for whom English was a second language. They  spoke it well, but they said: “My English is not perfect”. I replied: “It is not imperfect either”, and they agreed.

Why focus on the imperfections and make unnecessary excuses when there are plenty of  perfections to focus on? Acknowledge and accept your abilities and you’ll strengthen them. Focus on the faults and you’ll feel you are failing.

Besides, modesty is charming, but gratuitous self-effacement is a pain.

 

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The Sow’s Ear Effect

Telling yourself good stuff about yourself seems, intuitively, like a good idea. It is supposed to help you feel good, or better, about yourself, and to gradually build self-esteem.

But this only works if the statements – or ‘affirmations’ – are believable. Far fetched inspirational statements seem like a good idea, but they can actually have the opposite effect.

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Hear the Storyteller, Not Just the Story

Stories have the power to persuade and change, they can also condemn and isolate us.

Once we are past childhood we judge a story by the storyteller. We look for interests and motives that could render the story invalid or suspect.

When we listen to the stories we tell ourselves we should be similarly cautious, the narrator is usually hugely biased.

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