In June 1937, a 40 year old lady embarked upon the 1st around the world flight at the equator. This was the riskiest flight of her career, to circle the world via the equator, including a stopover on a tiny island in the Pacific. On the 2nd of July 1937, after completing nearly two thirds of her historic flight, she disappeared somewhere near the island, never to be found.
The power of self-belief
Amelia Earhart is a great example of a consummate risk taker who did everything her way. To this day she remains a symbol of power, perseverance and adventurous spirit so essential to being a successful individual. Earhart was born in Atchison, Kansas on the 24th of July 1897. She felt oddly out of place when she was growing up. She liked to do things her own way, playing rough games with the boys, spending hours by herself reading books, or disappearing on long hikes. People around her considered her strange and unconventional. Growing up, she felt intense pressure to settle down and be more like other girls. However, Earhart had other ideas. She craved adventure and challenges, and the jobs available to women at the time were menial and mindless.
In 1920, Earhart went for a short ride in an airplane. Pilot Frank Hawks gave her a ride that changed her life forever, and suddenly she knew she had found her calling.
By the time I had got two or three hundred feet off the ground, I knew I had to fly. – Amelia Earhart
Earhart took lessons and became a pilot. In the air she felt all the freedom she had always been looking for. Piloting a plane was a constant challenge, both physically and mentally.
In the early parts of the twentieth century, female pilots were not taken seriously. Men were the ones who set records. In order to fight this, Earhart had to push the limits as far as she could. She went on to set her own records in flying that would make headlines, and pushed the profession further ahead. In 1935, she attempted a flight across the Gulf of Mexico. One of the most famous male pilots of the time told her it was too dangerous and not worth the risk. Feeling there was a challenge in this, she attempted the flight anyway and completed it with relative ease, showing everyone else how it could be done.
The key to Earhart’s success is that she did not succumb to the pressure to be more like others. She believed in herself and decided to continue being herself, whatever the consequences might be. Despite her unfortunate disappearance near the tiny island in the Pacific, all of this added to the legend of Earhart as the consummate risk taker who did everything her own way.
The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward. – Amelia Earhart
You are an individual, with ideas and skills that make you unique. People may be constantly trying to fit you into narrow categories that make you more predictable and easier to manage. If you succumb to this pressure, then you may gain some acceptance, but you will lose the unconventional parts of your character that form your self-belief. Learning from Amelia Earhart, you must resist this process at all costs. You must retain your self-belief. Remember you were born into this world with no sense of what you could and could not do. Then, bit by bit, life started to teach you to limit yourself. Think about what you would say to someone you really believe in if they started showing doubts. Sit down and say the same things to yourself.
Self-belief does not mean arrogance or blindness to your shortcomings. It should be focused on what you will become. An important part of self-belief comes from knowing your weaknesses and understanding how you can improve them. Self-belief gives you the freedom to make mistakes and cope with setbacks by seeing them for what they are: temporary setbacks and not the end of the world. Something else you’ll also notice is that as your self-belief grows, people around you start to believe in you more.