Rebecca Ward, Self Confidence and The Optimist Creed

Self confidence is one of the keys to success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success.  If you want to become self confident, you need to do three things: 1) become an optimist, 2) face our fears and take action, and 3) surround yourself with positive people.

Have you been watching the Olympics?  I find myself getting hooked in every two years.  I like it now that the Winter Games don’t happen the same year as the Summer Games.  I thought that the opening ceremony on Friday was pretty impressive; particularly the way they lit the torch.  What did you think?

On Saturday, I turned on the TV in time to see that three young women from the USA won the fencing saber medals.  Mariel Zagunis repeated as the gold medalist, Sada Jacobsen won the silver, and Rebecca Ward won the bronze.  After the medal ceremony, Rebecca Ward made a very interesting point that ties directly to optimism.

She said that she was very disappointed when she lost her semi final match, and would not get a chance to compete for the gold medal.  But then she quickly realized that she needed to forget about that loss and get her head ready to compete for the bronze medal.

If you read this blog, you know that I am a big fan of The Optimist Creed.  I think it is the best statement on optimism that I’ve ever seen.   The seventh point of The Optimist Creed says, “Promise yourself to forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.”

That’s what Rebecca Ward did.  She set aside her disappointment at not having a chance to compete for the gold medal, and pressed on to win the bronze.  She could have let her disappointment in losing the semi final match, destroy her opportunity for an Olympic Medal.  But she didn’t.  She displayed the mental toughness necessary to move on after a defeat.

The common sense point here is simple.  If you want to succeed in your life and career, you need to become an optimist.  Among other things, optimists are willing and able to put aside setbacks and move forward.  That’s what Rebecca Ward did in Beijing.  She was disappointed in losing a chance to compete for the gold medal, but she did not let this disappointment stop her from taking advantage of the opportunity she had to win the bronze.   Good for her – and good for you, if you follow her example.

By the way, I have created a downloadable version The Optimist Creed.  I have it displayed prominently above my desk.  Would you like a copy?  If so, send me an e mail at and I’ll send you a copy that you can frame and hang in your workspace.

That’s my take on Rebecca Ward, optimism and Olympic Fencing.  What’s yours?  Please let a comment letting us know.  I value every comment I receive.  Thanks for reading – and writing.


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  1. I’m not sure it’s down to optimism Bud, I think it’s more a very real sense of who you are and what matters to you.
    Real confidence is being able to choose your behaviour with complete trust in that behaviour. That doesn’t mean you know how things will turn out (as in Rebecca Wards case), but that you can deal with whatever happens.
    That genuine self-confidence comes naturally when you’re engaged with something that matters to you or means something to you. All it needs is a deep choice about what’s important to you and it’s so much simpler to get going. Of course, when you’re plugged into what matters to you those set-backs along the way don’t matter a jot – engaging is what counts.
    Not optimism – confidence.

  2. Steve:
    Thanks for your thoughtful and thought provoking comment.
    I agree that self confidence is key to career and life success. That’s why it is the first point in my success model.
    I believe that you can build self confidence in three ways: 1) Being optimistic; 2) Face your fears and acting; and 3) surrounding yourself with positive people.
    I agree with you that it’s much easier to be self confident when you are engaged in something that has deep meaning for you.
    Thanks for your comment. I really appreciate it. I’m going to check out your blog right now.
    Best wishes for your continued success,

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