Thinking you’ve already lost before you begin

I just listened to Gabby Beckford’s ted talk, about the drain in confidence we experience growing up. 

The initial “I can be anyone!” or “I can do anything!” is slowing suffocated by “I’m not sure I’m good enough” or “it’s not for me”. 

It’s the belief that opportunities available to us are reserved for others, and that we ourselves are not ‘worthy’ or capable to receive them. 

In high school, Gabby received an academic scholarship for a college degree, which she found out only received 12 applications, despite the 14 available spots. Motivated by how many other unknown opportunities there were out there, she ultimately applied for over 200 travel scholarship applications between age 17-21 (heck :O)

And after asking her followers why they’d pass on the same beneficial opportunities, the resounding answer was “I just don’t think I’ll win”. 

Cred: Gabby's Ted Talk Powerpoint Slide

Ironically, it’s pretty confident to assume that you definitely won’t win before you’ve even tried. 

Here’s a quote by Robin Sharma:

“You can’t win unless you first begin” 

This means accepting the imposter syndrome feeling and doing something anyway, despite the niggling thoughts of “I’m not capable enough”. 


Growing up, I never branched out to see what opportunities were sitting there, waiting. 

I didn’t see myself as scholarship material, and looking back, there were plenty that I was capable of getting, had I had the drive to research. 

So last year, I applied for an incredibly competitive travel scholarship to Japan. While the thoughts of “I won’t get through” permeated, I was still determined to try. 

With the endless hours of writing and rewriting, and the help of my friends who helped edit (so grateful for you guys), I managed to get through the first written application stage. Then came the face to face interview, which I passed, and then the final interview where I was 1 of 4 from my university. 

Just a snippet of the writing process

Unfortunately I didn’t get chosen in the last round. But the fact I was SO close despite being unsure whether I’d get through the first, was a huge leap for me. 

This reinforced that I’m fully capable of seeking out, and applying for random opportunities that seem out of my league. It’s not reserved for the special few. 

Without a doubt, we ALL have the chance to win, if we participate in the race, that is. 

So Gabby’s advice:

  • treat requirements like suggestions 
  • adopt the mentality “I’ll see for myself” 

It means being bold and trying out for things despite the fear of not getting it. It’s to move towards opportunities with confidence, and let your actions dictate your capabilities, rather than your limiting thoughts. 


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