Margaret Slattery, in her Living Teachers, tells of a community in which a stranger came to settle and to engage in the practice of law. He immersed himself in his legal work; and when he was sometimes seen walking at the eventide, he walked alone, with his head down, and with the look of mental distress upon his face. One day he confessed to an artist who had a studio in the town that he had made one sad and terrible mistake in his life. The artist said nothing, but parted from him and went into his studio. Weeks afterward, he invited this melancholy and dejected lawyer to come in and view a portrait which he had finished, telling him that it was his masterpiece. The man was surprised and pleased that his judgment should have been sought by the artist, but when he went into the studio to view the portrait, he was surprised to see that it was a portrait of himself, only now he stood erect, with his shoulders thrown back and his head up, ambition, desire, and hope written on his face. Regarding it in silence for a few moments, the man said, "If he sees that in me, then I can see it. If he thinks I can be that, then I can be that man; and, what is more, I will be."
When Rear Admiral Du Pont gave to his superior officer, Farragut, the explanation of why he had failed to take his ships into Charleston Harbor, Farragut heard him through to the end and then said, "Admiral, there is one explantation which you haven't given."
"What is that?" asked Du Pont.
"This. You didn't believe that you could do it."
That lack of confidence has been the secret of failures not only in the field of war but also in this greater warfare of the soul.
Do not attempt to do a thing unless you are sure of your self; but do not relinquish it simply because someone else is not sure of you.—Steward E. White
A jet airliner captain was about to take off on a flight to London. "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen," he said over the loud speaker system. "This is your captain speaking. We'll be crossing the Atlantic this evening at an altitude of 37,000 feet. Our estimated speed is 730 mph. We should reach London in approximately 5 hours." After a moment of silence, the captain continued, "We will take off as soon as I get up enough nerve."—Paul Light, St. Paul Pioneer Press