Adding beliefs – the sixth grader can think, “It’s true I cannot play “Hot Crossed Buns”. It’s true that I’m not a world-class sax player right now.” “It’s also true that Charlie Parker was not a world-class saxophone player in the sixth grade and look what he accomplished.”
Alter the importance of the beliefs – the sixth grader can think, “It doesn’t matter that I can’t play “Hot Crossed Buns” right now. I will be able to some day. I still have it in me to be a world-class saxophone player.” He or she chooses to diminish the importance of the current state and focus, instead, on the future possibility.
Part of the confusion, candidly, comes from affirmation gurus who promote the idea that your affirmations must be adhered to with unshakable belief to make a difference. Doubting – the cardinal sin of affirmationdom – must never be allowed to rise or else the magic potion will be spoiled.
People are people. Some days we believe in our dreams fervently and other days we completely lose sight of them. That’s not being negative that’s just being human. The path is not lost by one moment of doubt.
This affirmation may or may not be appropriate for the sixth grader in question. It depends on how he or she resolves the cognitive dissonance associated with it. If he or she cannot come to terms with the disparity, then an affirmation like “I am becoming a world class saxophone player” or “I am a better saxophone player every day” may be more acceptable and reduce the cognitive dissonance.
Conversely, the previous affirmation is ideal for a college student majoring in music performance on the saxophone. That person has already put in many years and is now an expert on the instrument. He or she may be planning a career playing the saxophone. That college student certainly can realistically aspire to becoming a world-class sax player.
Here is what I have learned from more than 17 years experience working with affirmations. There really are two classes of affirmations – aspirational and incremental.
Aspirational affirmations are your “big thinking” affirmations. They are the ones that remind you that something far greater than right now lies within you. That knowing is not for anyone to label as delusional or unrealistic. It depends on you and your belief. Incremental affirmations are affirmations that are more finely tuned. They focus on specifics and immediate steps. They are the trees to the aspirational affirmations’ forest.
In my view, they are both part of a healthy affirmation diet. Just like protein and calcium serve two different but beneficial roles in the body. Both kinds of affirmations add value to your over all growth. One is today’s weather forecast and the other is the long range forecast.
Let me illustrate the difference with a couple examples.
A high school quarterback with big dreams might use both of the following affirmations:
Aspirational: “I am the next John Elway.”
Incremental: “My completion percentage is improving each and every game.”
A person trying to climb out of depression might use both of the following affirmations:
Aspirational: “I am completely happy with all aspects of my life.”
Incremental: “Today I am putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward.”
A person focusing on creating a better financial future might use both of the following affirmations:
Aspirational: “My million dollar idea is on its way to me right now.”
Incremental: “Today I am paying my bills on time.”
It’s not about being unrealistic. It’s about using the very real power of your thoughts to support your immediate goals and your long term dreams.
So, if you are a sixth grade saxophone player with a passion to be the world’s greatest saxophonist, I say go for it! One thing is for sure. None of your critics will be there to beat you out!
Be peaceful Be prosperous!
Ray Davis is a writer, poet, and thinker based in the American Midwest. His writing advocates the principles of personal freedom and spiritual development. He has developed B2B sales training programs for a Fortune 40 company for nearly seven years. Prior to that he was a top producing sales rep for six years. He is the founder of The Affirmation Spot – http://www.theaffirmationspot.com
Affirmations are positive statements that inspire and motivate people to take active steps to enhance professional and recreational performance, strive to achieve goals, face challenges, modify or reinforce behavior, and improve the general quality of life. They are thought vitamins that fortify your mind the same way vitamins fortify your body.