The blog is on hiatus until 11.21.11. See you soon!

Written November 14th, 2011
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Trusting Yourself

by Carolyn Babcock, Ph.D.


(Image downloaded from smstemplates.net via “Google images”)



Recently, a friend lamented that his mother “never trusted her intelligence.”   She had started college, but never completed, and became content in her position as a teacher’s aide, rather than a teacher.  Of course, one is not necessarily better than the other.  However, the reason for her not pursuing her degree – not trusting her intelligence – is an interesting one, and may lie at the heart of why a nontraditional student does not return to college, even though earning a degree might allow the potential student to go to the “next level” of her/his profession.


Each of us is the unique result of our background, family environment, culture, education, religion and experiences.  Because we adapt to our circumstances, we may come to believe that our upbringing and current cultural environment has predetermined our future.  For instance, you may have been raised in a blue-collar environment where the nobility of labor has been emphasized, rather than the pursuit of higher education.  Perhaps, no one in your family has ever earned a bachelor’s degree, so you see it as something that has no application in the “real world.”  You may have even shared with co-workers your curiosity about college, only to be teased and ridiculed.  Yet, there lies in the back of your mind a curiosity, a stirring of interest, in how pursuing a college degree could enhance – and change – your life.


You know you are smart.  People tell you that all the time.  You want to know more, but are not sure where to go or what to do.  It is so much easier to continue with the path of your life that you have laid down – retire with the same company, or perhaps your family’s business.  But, to do so does not mean that you cannot satisfy your curiosity about additional possibilities.  Allow yourself the joy of discovery, including the discovery of where your intelligence can take you.  Trust your intelligence.  Trust yourself.

“Setting Yourself Free” (another view on the idea of “perfectionism”)

(Reprinted from the 8.12.2011 post of The Daily Om)

According to The Daily Om, we need to remember that being imperfect is part of being human.  This interesting article is a nice complement to the previous post “I’m a perfectionist” from 8.1.11

Life becomes much more interesting once we let go of our quest for perfection and aspire for imperfection instead.

It is good to remember that one of our goals in life is to not be perfect. We often lose track of this aspiration. When we make mistakes, we think that we are failing or not measuring up. But if life is about experimenting, experiencing, and learning, then to be imperfect is a prerequisite. Life becomes much more interesting once we let go of our quest for perfection and aspire for imperfection instead.

This doesn’t mean that we don’t strive to be our best. We simply accept that there is no such thing as perfection—especially in life. All living things are in a ceaseless state of movement. Even as you read this, your hair is growing, your cells are dying and being reborn, and your blood is moving through your veins. Your life changes more than it stays the same. Perfection may happen in a moment, but it will not last because it is an impermanent state. Trying to hold on to perfection or forcing it to happen causes frustration and unhappiness.

In spite of this, many of us are in the habit of trying to be perfect. One way to nudge ourselves out of this tendency is to look at our lives and notice that no one is judging us to see whether or not we are perfect. Sometimes, perfectionism is a holdover from our childhood—an ideal we inherited from a demanding parent. We are adults now, and we can choose to let go of the need to perform for someone else’s approval. Similarly, we can choose to experience the universe as a loving place where we are free to be imperfect. Once we realize this, we can begin to take ourselves less seriously and have more fun. Imperfection is inherent to being human. By embracing your imperfections, you embrace yourself.

Happy Holidays!

Written December 28th, 2010
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Blog entries will return on Monday, 1.3.11.  Happy New Year!

Fear of failure …

Written March 22nd, 2010
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By Carolyn Babcock, Ph.D.

… often means “fear of success,” as strange as that might sound. We can be our own worst enemy as we embark upon a new path, be it breaking a bad habit like smoking, or acquiring a new habit, like writing papers.

It is true that “we learn more from our failures than our successes.” It is through not getting the results we had hoped for that we change our approach to achieving our goal. Through these changes we acquire experience – and invaluable teacher in the learning process.

So, why do we sometimes sabotage ourselves so that we do not succeed? It is that value that we place on ourselves, our self-esteem that can have a negative impact, if our self-esteem is negative. We interfere with our positive progress because we believe we are not worthy of success. Sometimes we worry that success will ruin our relationships. Another possibility is the uncertainty that lies with change: What will my future look like with this major change in it?

While change can sometimes be scary, especially when it occurs quickly, educational changes take place over an expanse of time. You are not transformed into a human encyclopedia overnight. It is also not something that is given to you without hard work. You must earn those changes that occur. You will not do as well on some papers and exams as you had hoped, or, you might exceed your expectations on a specific project. Either way, it is a process of intellectual growth.

Therefore, think of your college career as the “evolution of you.” You will adjust to the changes, sort of like the slow acquisition of a new wardrobe when your weight gradually approaches a desired goal. Your education will be a series of epiphanies, or “Ah ha!” Enjoy the process. Enjoy your own evolution.