Thursday, July 2, 2009


What can a bumblebee teach you about the relationship between your inner potential and your beliefs? Everything!

Yesterday was Father’s Day and I spent the day with four of my five children and friends on a beautiful river outside of Nevada City, California. It was a gorgeous place deep in a gorge, trees reaching up toward the heavens and the calming sound of the river as it dipped and curved around the granite rock outcroppings. The river was clean and cool and filled with wonderful swimming holes much to the delight of my children (and me!)

I watched my youngest daughter as she attempted to swim, unaided, for the first time in her life. Rebecca tried over and over again to keep her little body above the water as she kicked her little legs and moved her arms as fast as she could. But time and time again she would stop as she became afraid that she might sink. After explaining to her that as she was swimming in water that came up to her chest and that she could put her feet down and stand up anytime she needed to, therefore she need not be afraid. Suddenly her confidence level rose as she began to believe that she was safe and she began to experience more and more success until we had to literally pluck her, blue lips and all, from the water!

While watching my daughter in the river I was reminded once again how we limit our potential by our expectations and beliefs. We get out of life what we expect to get, what we believe is possible, what we think we deserve… and often those expectations and beliefs are the very things that are limiting our success, or our ability to really enjoy life.

When Rebecca thought of the possibility of sinking under the water, she allowed her fears and expectations to keep her from even trying to swim. After all, she wasn’t a fish! She had legs that were meant to walk on the firm surface of the earth, not fins that were meant to move around in the water… or so she believed. Until she changed her belief, she was unable to swim.

This reminds me of a story I once read about the bumblebee. Some time ago, aeronautical engineers studied the bumblebee. They measured its wingspan, computed its body weight, scrutinized its oversize fuselage, and concluded that there was no rational reason why a bumblebee can take off or land safely.

See, the bumblebee doesn't know this. It doesn't know that its wingspan is too short, or that its fuselage is too heavy to sustain flight. So the bumblebee flies anyway.

I've got hundreds of true stories about people who have done amazing things because they didn't know they weren't supposed to be able to do them. And I know hundreds of stories about people who didn't do wonderful things because they had it in their heads that they couldn't.

You see belief puts a lid on your potential. Your beliefs are what determine what you can do in this life. It's not your gender or your intelligence or your personal wealth or your parents or your age or your race or your looks or anything else.

So, if you change your beliefs about what is possible for you, you automatically change your performance to match. And when you change your beliefs and your performance, all sorts of wonderful surprises are in store for you. So spread your wings and fly! Anything is possible!

© Cynthia Stewart