When I attended a poetry reading in Melbourne, there was a man there who sang a song that went like, “You have to believe in yourself... you don't have a position because you do not believe in yourself.” That man was utterly full of crap. I have known any number of highly effective people. Most of them believed, not in themselves, but in something greater than themselves. Believing in yourself can be a source of strength, but it is neither the only nor the best source of strength. Some people with such beliefs have become successful. But so have any number of Muslims, Mormons and Sikhs. The Freemasons pretty much run the world. Yet Freemasons require a belief in something. They do not tell you what you have to believe, but they state outright that an atheist can never be a Freemason. There appears to be a very good reason for this. If all that you believe in is yourself, then you are going to be selfish and you are going to be weak. The littlest things would throw you off-balance. You don't get a promotion, you're a loser. Some idiot is attacking your character, you are the lowest thing in the world. Something unexpectedly bad happens, it must be negativity in your consciousness. Whereas if you believe in something greater than yourself, you are more likely to make rightful sacrifices and you are more likely to act with genuine courage. And these, ultimately, make for much more effective – as well as more ethical - human beings. The self is not something that should be believed in. It is not something that should be deified. Your consciousness did not create the solar system. Your consciousness did not create the United States. And while there are any number of people with such beliefs who have in fact become effective people, so have any number of others who believe in completely different things. To respond to the man mentioned above, I am not looking for a position. I am looking for wisdom, so that in whatever position I find myself I know how to do the right thing. And there is very little wisdom in attitudes such as his. Now there have been people involved in mysticism who have in fact achieved genuine wisdom. I know several. However this attitude is dead wrong. In a place that has opportunity, anyone with drive and intelligence can become successful regardless of what he believes in. They may believe in themselves. They also may believe in Christ. The Freemasons do not recommend believing in yourself. They say that you have to believe in something. Once again, they are probably the most successful group in history. Some beliefs have a positive effect on the character of the people who adopt them. Others have a negative effect. Once again, if all you believe in is yourself and nothing besides yourself, then you are not going to be a good person. You will be selfish, and you will be weak. And that does not lead to improvement in one's character. I've had respect for a number of people involved in the New Age movement. However I have no respect for beliefs that are demonstrably wrong. Some of these beliefs are positively poisonous. I knew a very talented and intelligent young woman who was naturally altruistic who said that if she cannot live for herself she cannot live. This is wrong absolutely. One can live for any number of things other than oneself. And if you have natural altruistic tendencies as did this woman, then telling her that she has to live for herself is not only misguided but destructive and ruinous in every possible way. Now maybe it is understandable why these people developed such convictions. They started out fighting for all sorts of altruistic causes. They were met with a greater force; at which point they did a complete turnaround and became totally selfish. I would encourage these people to rediscover their original ideals. They may not have had the power when they were younger to make them reality. They do have that power now. But when they are going around bullying people and telling them that they have to believe in themselves or else, they are doing something that is wrong absolutely. Once again, there are many things that one can believe in and become effective as a result. The self can be a source of strength, but it is neither the only nor the best source of strength. Many Christians are strong. Many Muslims and Hindus are strong. And any number of them are also highly effective people. Believing in yourself is therefore in many situations misguided. Being told that you have to believe in yourself or else is absolutely wrong. The Freemasons have a much better idea, and so do the Christians. Both of these groups have become exceptionally successful. And they did not do so by believing in themselves, but by believing in something greater than themselves.