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In today’s society there is so much pressure to look good. We have designer clothes, costume jewellery and fashion shows. We have beauticians, makeup artists and health clubs where we can go  work-out and look good (or bad). We also have hair transplants, diet pills, cosmetic surgery and special creams to help keep us looking young. Then there are false nails, false eye lashes, false teeth (dentures) and false hairs (wigs).Then there are dyes to change the colour of your hair, tanning creams to change the colour of your skin and different coloured contact lenses to change the colour of your eyes regardless of whether or not you need to wear glasses.

The media is constantly bombarding us with images of slim, beautiful women with dazzling smiles and strong handsome men armed with a six pack. This is what society says we should all strive to be like. Indeed this is what we all really want to be like. Yes! In today’s society there is so much pressure to look good.

Now, I am not about to say that this is all a load of old baloney and that it’s wrong to want to look good. Far from it in fact. Often if you look good, you feel good and this has a major impact on self esteem and the personal drive for accomplishment. However what I am about to suggest is the complete paradigm shift in the normal way of thinking. A friend of mine and I would muse over matters of this nature frequently during our leisure hours and would draw our conclusion after hectic arguments with each other. Once I told him that I have never met a person yet who was entirely happy with the way he or she looked. That is to say a person who honestly did not want to change a single thing about his or her appearance – not size, not weight, hair loss, crooked teeth, nasal hair, nose size or for that matter, the size of any other body part! I will say it again! I have never met a person who was entirely happy with the way he/she looks, a person who if he had a magic wand wouldn’t change at least something about his or her physical appearance. Furthermore I don’t believe that such a person exists!

The saying “beauty is skin deep” is very true. Beauty is only skin deep and therefore good looks alone are a shallow means of comparing ourselves with others. On the inside, of course, we all look the same. Therefore, to increase your self-esteem, I finally recommend that you look after your outward appearance, but to really enhance your self-esteem, I would want you to look on the inside, not just the outside. At the end of the day, if you are comfortable with the way you look – great; if not, then decide to do something about it if you can – remember, though, beauty is only skin deep.

But, one final observation which I would like to make is that, when it comes down to your appearance, understand this: of all the things you wear, your expression is always the most important and precious one.

Generally, we are all nurturing some negative thoughts or aspects of something which would stand between our hopes of doing something to achieve something and our negative proddings holding back our spirit of adventure and enthusiasm. Sometime ago the following experiment was undertaken at a marine aquarium in the US. A savage barracuda was placed into a large tank of water. The tank was then partitioned down the middle with another piece of glass and a mullet fish was placed into the other side of the tank. Immediately, the barracuda tried to attack the mullet, but half way across the tank its onslaught was abruptly and painfully cut short by the wall of the partitioning glass. The barracuda recovered and tried again and again but each time he bumped his snout against the glass. Eventually the barracuda learnt that chasing mullet fish was a painful experience and so gave up trying. A little while later the glass partition was removed, but the barracuda would still swim up to the point where the barrier had been, then it would turn around and swim back again. The barracuda had conditioned itself to believe it could not succeed and so gave  up trying.

It works the same with a lot of people. The fact is, you can condition your mind to accept that you won’t succeed – just like the barracuda- but conversely you can also condition your mind to overcome your self-imposed limitations and achieve success.

A friend of mine who had the good opportunity of staying in the US for more than ten years told me the following analogy: Do you know how they teach dolphins to jump high out of the water and over a rope? The trainers start by putting the rope below the surface of the water and then every time the dolphin swims over the rope, it gets rewarded, but every time it swims under the rope it gets nada zilch. Of course, the dolphin soon learns to go over the rope every time and it continues to do this, as the rope is gradually lifted higher and higher out of the water. The trainers build up the dolphin’s belief system, they encourage it to overcome any self-imposed limitations and to keep climbing higher.

Similarly, then, with us: we can condition our mind to overcome your self-imposed limitations and achieve success.

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