Convocation: Trust, faith and confidence in ourselves

College convocation is a time to share great insight and information — although it is sometimes forgotten. This week we will reprint some of the addresses given last week.

In the January 2012 Ensign, President Thomas S. Monson stated, “You can achieve what you believe you can. Trust and believe and have faith.”

Some definitions of belief are: trust, faith, or confidence in someone or something.

I want to focus on having trust, faith, or confidence in “the someone” being ourselves.

A few of the recent graduates of the BYU College of Nursing master's program.
A few of the recent graduates of the BYU College of Nursing master’s program.

Belief is an extremely powerful tool. Many of us here are familiar with the Placebo Effect. The Placebo Effect is a phenomenon in which a placebo – an ineffectual  treatment, using inactive substances like sugar, distilled water, or saline solution given to a patient in place of real medication – can sometimes improve a patient’s condition simply because the patient has the expectation (or the belief) that it will be helpful.

Many think the Placebo Effect occurs because the patient believes in the substance or the treatment. The patient’s thoughts and feelings somehow cause short-term physical changes in the brain or body. The patient believes they will feel better, and so he or she does feel better for some time.

The mind and body can accomplish amazing obstacles with the simple act of believing.

Henry Ford used to say: “Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.”

Here are some notable examples of individuals who chose to believe in themselves, despite experiencing rejections and repeated obstacles.

Abraham Lincoln was born into poverty and was faced with defeat throughout his life. In his career, he lost eight elections, failed twice in business and suffered a nervous breakdown.

Notwithstanding, he continued to believe in himself and in his abilities and as a result became one of the greatest presidents in the history of our country.

Walt Disney’s first animation company went bankrupt. He was fired by a news editor because he lacked “imagination”. Legend has it he was turned down 302 times before he got financing for creating Disney World.

J.K. Rowling was penniless, recently divorced, and raising a child on her own when she wrote the first Harry Potter book on an old manual typewriter. Her manuscript was rejected by twelve publishers. She finally found one who agreed to publish the book but was advised she get a day job because there was “no money in children’s books.”

All of these people were successful because they believed in themselves and weren’t afraid to go and make the mistakes necessary to achieve their goals.

Midway through my program I was walking through campus and happened to see a sign that said, “You can do hard things”. This made a deep impression on me. That semester in particular had been especially difficult. I was in the middle of a very challenging clinical rotation and was struggling through some of my classes. I doubted myself more than once that semester. But when I saw that motto, it reminded me that as long as I believed in myself and believed in my ability, then I could get through these challenges- no matter how hard they were. This gave me the courage and the drive to finish out my clinical and classes, because I knew I was capable of doing hard things.

Belief is not a passive principle; it needs to be accompanied by action.

Thomas Edison, the inventor of the lightbulb, is a good example of combining belief with action. While we all remember him as a successful inventor, many would be surprised to learn that he tirelessly conducted thousands of failed experiments before his first successful lightbulb was created. When questioned about these supposed failures, Edison replied, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Because he believed in himself and persevered, he created an invention that has blessed mankind for many generations.

Pres. Monson stated, “Don’t limit yourself and don’t let others convince you that you are limited in what you can do. Believe in yourself and then live so as to reach your possibilities.”

At the end of the day, we should remember that we will achieve far greater things when our belief in ourselves is accompanied with a firm belief in Christ. Nephi understood this when he said, “If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them. If he should command me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it would be done.”

As we are completing this chapter in our lives and starting a new and exciting one, I hope we can remember that the boundaries in our healthcare careers, our personal lives, and our spirituality are limited only by our belief in ourselves and in God.

By Tia Peterson—A recent BYU College of Nursing master’s program graduate that spoke during the August college convocation on Friday, August 14.

Published by BYU Nursing

Guided by the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we exemplify the Healer’s art by: leading with faith and integrity; advancing the science of nursing and healthcare; promoting health and wellness; alleviating suffering; and serving individuals, families, and communities. The mission of the College of Nursing at Brigham Young University is to learn the Healer’s art and go forth to serve.

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