Amy Rees Anderson

To Succeed in Life, You Need Two Things: Ignorance and Confidence

“To succeed in life, you need two things:  Ignorance and Confidence.” – Mark Twain

When I read this quote I couldn’t help but laugh because so much of my life I lived by those two things – ignorance in that I always underestimated just how hard I would have to work to pull off the projects I took on in my life and just how many hard times I would have to go through to accomplish the things I wanted to, and confidence in that for whatever reason I always assumed I could handle whatever needed to be done to get me where I wanted to go.  And funny enough, if I hadn’t been so ignorant of how hard things would be then I likely wouldn’t have been so confident in my ability to make them happen, but since I was ignorant I had all the confidence in the world to take things on.  So I suppose I owe much of my success in life to my ignorance 🙂

Every goal we want to accomplish in life involves an element of risk and challenges that might get in our way. That’s what makes it exciting to try and achieve it. So the one thing you CAN’T do is allow yourself to obsess over all the reasons it might not be possible, or all the fears that it may be too difficult or even impossible to achieve. The more you think about all the scary and daunting things that might happen the more you will find yourself afraid to even try, which is a surefire way to kill your ability to succeed. That’s not to say that it’s not okay to recognize that “sure things may be hard and obstacles may stand in your way” but the thought then has to be “but I’ll figure it out along the way because that is what I do.” In your mind you need to change the obstacles ahead from being huge deterrents to being small inconveniences that will help you grow smarter and stronger along the way. Look at them as a positive thing that is designed to help mold you into everything you can possibly be.

Today my husband Rollin was asked to teach a class and he shared the following example regarding trials in our lives:

“Did you know that very few wild trees produce fruit? Let me explain why. Let’s take an apple tree for example. In the spring it will bloom and be beautiful. The bees will pollinate each of the flowers which will bud into a small fruit and it will look as though tons of fruit is starting to grow. But if that tree doesn’t get pruned by its caretaker it will not be able to support the weight of all the fruit growing nor can it provide enough nutrients for all the fruit to grow, thus all the tiny apples will shrivel up before they ever become ripe. So in order for the apples to grow to maturity, the tree must be pruned and many of the apple blossoms cut away, and only then can it produce delicious apples. Now ask yourself this question – if that tree were self-aware would it willingly submit itself to be pruned and cut back by the caretaker so it could flourish and provide amazing fruit? The obvious answer is yes. But let’s now take us as self-aware human beings. In order for us to become our very best selves in life and accomplish all that we can, we too have to be willing to submit ourselves to being pruned and cut back through the process of experiencing hardships and overcoming trials. It is only through that process that we will be strong enough to produce our very best fruit. And so we should submit ourselves to our caretaker (God) and put our faith in Him that he knows exactly which of our branches to prune and if we submit with a good attitude the outcome will be amazing.”  -Rollin Anderson

Go forward with a touch of ignorance about the difficulty, confidence that you can handle it, and faith that with your best effort and the touch of the caretakers hand the end result will be amazing!

~Amy

 

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