A Powerful Way to Build Self Esteem

You probably know the famous quote by Descartes, “I think therefore I am.” He didn’t say it last week or a decade ago. He said it over 300 years ago. And for the most part we believe it. But is it true? Are you what you think or are you much more than that?

Your mind doesn’t want you to think so. But the moment you stop believing the little voice in your head, you’re bound to make a radical discovery .

Your mind can be a little immature. It can be an attention hog, vying for you to notice it, when you could be growing or learning and generally living your life. It can rob you of inspiring memories. It can taint your greatest achievement with doubts and insecurities.

Am I serious? Actually I’m kind of goofy, but in the 30 years of working with the mind, yes, this is what I’ve found.

You’re probably way more capable, good looking, and sociable then you think you are. Whatever you’ve accomplished in your life, you’ve done it with your mind constantly whispering in your ear and questioning and analyzing every decision you make.

What would you think of Dale Earnhardt Jr. if he lost a race because someone left a crying baby in a baby seat in the back of his race car? It would be pretty tough to expect him to stay focused on the race.

Your mind consistently provides that level of distraction and grief….all the time. It tells you that you need to lose weight, or develop some other positive habit. Then it tells you that it’s going to be really difficult and no fun. (Is it trying to inspire you or what?). Next it tells you to make a plan and maybe do a little research on the subject.

Your mind begins to tell you that you can do it. And maybe you feel hopeful for a bit. But then when you run into the tiniest obstacle, it tells you that you don’t really want it and that you should quit. (I know, everyone else’s’ minds do it, but not yours, right?)

Face it, your mind can be nutty. It’s easily distracted. It can be overly critical. It knows all the things you’d rather not hear, and it’s happy to tell you them when you’re already down.

With a mind that weird, should you really trust it completely?

If a Presidential nominee acted that whacky and confused, would you vote them into Office?

You don’t have to put your mind in charge of your life. The mind acts as if it’s in charge of everything. In reality it isn’t in charge of anything.

I personally think Descartes was wrong… you don’t exist because you think. That makes the mind in charge of the universe. In reality, you have a mind because you exist. You think because you are!

Try saying this out loud. You can just say it in your head or whisper it, but if you think you’re not supposed to say it out loud, you’re probably listening to your mind and maybe something as risky as speaking out loud is too wild for you.


Try saying “I am therefore I think.”


Thinking is just one of the many things that you do in a day. You don’t exist because you think. Your existence is the sum of all the things you do. You have gotten to the point that while you are doing things, showering, driving or whistling Dixie, you are also thinking. Just because you think nearly all the time doesn’t mean that thinking causes your existence. That’s just crazy talk….. from your mind.

I am therefore I shower. I am therefore I make love. I am therefore I breathe and feel and walk and talk and smile and laugh and talk to myself in my head.

When you start with “I am therefore I think,” you start with a strong sense of self. You have a foundation for self-esteem deeper than judgements or negative beliefs.

“I am” is a very, very powerful thing to say. Try it.

“I am” – That’s it. “I am” doesn’t have to be followed by any other words. It is a perfect sentence with a subject and a verb. When you have said, “I am” you have said it all.


Self Esteem Exercise: Saying “I am”

Throughout your day, practice saying, “I am.”


When Randy came to his first workshop, he hardly spoke. He sat attentive but tense. He was uncomfortably thin and actually just plain uncomfortable. I suggested he practice saying “I am.” He did and that day a shift overcame him.

I watched as he began opening up to several people in the the workshop. He was painfully shy but slowly began to make friends with people on the breaks. After more practice with the “I am” exercise, it became obvious what his problem was.

He had a self-image problem. He had virtually no self-image at all.

When I say that he had no self-image, what I really mean is that he didn’t have any images or pictures, of himself. He couldn’t see himself in his own pictures. He couldn’t visualize himself at all!

When we began to explore the anatomy of the mind, he perked up. He began making pictures of himself in his head and a whole new world opened for him. I wish we had a before and after photo of Randy.

You wouldn’t look twice at the before photo. It was the picture of a guy you wouldn’t notice if he sat next to you in class or worked in the next cubical or sat across from you reading the morning newspaper.

The after pictures revealed that he had become interesting and interested. His eyes were alive. His face wasn’t pale anymore. He freely interacted with everyone in the workshop and even spoke in front of the group revealing to us that he was both smart and entertaining.

To this day he remembers the “I am” exercise as the beginning of the “New Randy.” He likes the new Randy and so do all of his new friends. Even his girlfriend, who didn’t know the old Randy. She reaps the benefits that began with those two simple words.

What I love most about this exercise is how easy it is to do and how powerful the results will be. Practice it today. I guarantee powerful results. Then come back here and leave a comment to let me know how it’s going.


Jerry is a non-guru who will twist your idea of reality on its head and leave you laughing. His mischievous smile will tell you right away he has found the lighter side of spirituality. Improve your life with spiritual tools and mindsets- visit Lightening Up and Letting Go, his blog on modern spirituality.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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