Believe In Yourself and Stand By Your Convictions

To believe in yourself you have to develop your own convictions and stand firmly by them. Though it may sometimes be very difficult and painful, you must find your own path and follow it.

One of the reasons I went to the U.S. Air Force Academy was because I wanted to be independent of my father.  By getting into the Air Force Academy, which I was able to do through a full academic scholarship, I didn’t have to rely on my father to help pay my tuition.

If my father paid my tuition, I would have had to answer to my dad, “El Tigre,” about my grades, and everything else and I did not want that.  My desire to attend the Air Force Academy was also fueled by the challenge of succeeding at a school that is one of the toughest in the United States.

Obtaining recommendations for my application to the Air Force Academy was an important part of the process.  I asked my high school principal for one, and he told me that he couldn’t recommend me because I wasn’t involved in my high school’s Junior ROTC program; I’d be taking away a spot at a service academy from someone who was more deserving.

To get that recommendation, I went from shooting spitballs at the Junior ROTC cadets to being one of those guys parading around in boots and uniform, having spitballs shot at me, and being mocked by my own friends.  Much to my surprise however, not only did I like Junior ROTC, but I also discovered that I was good at it.

I ended up joining the elite Rangers program.  The challenge of doing well in that program excited me and pushed me forward. After two years of Junior ROTC, I achieved the highest rank possible. I finally earned the recommendation that I had originally sought from my principal.

Although my father wasn’t happy with me being in the military, he put a lot of weight and credence in the character traits such as discipline, honor and integrity.  There was no better place than the Air Force Academy to build those traits.

Years later, my father came to respect my decision to join the military.  Family members were invited to a ceremony at the White House for White House Fellows and got to meet President Reagan.  Because of my father’s keen interest in American government and history, he was as excited as I was to be there.  My father knew I would never have been a White House Fellow if I hadn’t gone to the Air Force Academy and joined the military.

Through all of my successes and setbacks, I believed in myself.  Could I have taken an easier path?  Yes.

Did I have to fight my father and work incredibly hard to gain admission to the U.S. Air Force Academy?  Yes.

Did I have total faith in my ability to achieve this goal? Absolutely.

Would I have gone as far without believing in myself and without a burning desire to succeed?  Absolutely not.


Actress and screenwriter Nia Vardalos isn’t the prettiest woman in Hollywood, but certainly is someone who believes in herself.  She wrote the screenplay for the hit movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  She also stars in the movie, but that wasn’t necessarily going to be the case if Vardalos had left her fate in others hands. Vardalos refused to sell her screenplay to those interested in making it unless she was allowed to star in it.  She believed in herself as an actress and was willing to risk losing a short-term windfall so she could achieve her long-term goal.

Success is about pursuing your passions, not someone else’s dreams. Although your parents may want you to pursue a safe and traditional path to their version of success, it may not be the one that’s right for you.

And if you’re a parent, remember that if you have done your job well, the best you can hope for is that your children are happy with whatever it is they do in life, regardless of their job or who they marry.

Success is not necessarily measured by someone’s bank account, but by the depth of their soul and the contribution they make to others.

Believe in yourself and stand by your convictions!

30 Responses to “Believe In Yourself and Stand By Your Convictions”

  1. March 31, 2013 at 8:07 pm, K Wittenburg said:

    Amazing and inspirational – thanks for sharing your story and inspiring others to believe in their convictions!!

    • March 31, 2013 at 8:10 pm, Charles Garcia said:

      Thanks Kaya for your kinds words, I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      • April 02, 2013 at 10:39 pm, K Wittenburg said:

        My pleasure – your bio is quite inspirational as well. Thanks for being such a positive influence.

  2. March 31, 2013 at 8:19 pm, Terri Long said:

    This article is very interesting. Very inspirational and I totally agree with believing in ones self. If you do not believe in yourself, how can you expect others to believe in you?

    Better self esteem and exceptional confidence comes by believing in who you are and what you have become. This is a great read and will definitely be sharing to all mu friends and family as soon as I can figure out how 🙂

    Thanks for such a great piece of writing here!!

  3. March 31, 2013 at 8:37 pm, David said:

    so true… great article

  4. March 31, 2013 at 8:52 pm, Eric Schmumpkin said:

    Charles, this was a GREAT article, and I am EXTREMELY happy for you and proud of you for all you have done for yourself and what you have done and continue to do to inspire others.

  5. March 31, 2013 at 8:53 pm, Jenn said:

    Definitely amazing and as always, Charles thank you for sharing! 🙂

  6. March 31, 2013 at 8:56 pm, Gary Brewer said:


    These thoughts ring true to me thanks for sharing I wish more people would speak out on this!

  7. March 31, 2013 at 8:58 pm, John Taylor said:

    Love the article, amazing story. Plan to follow from now on.

  8. March 31, 2013 at 9:01 pm, Buddy Hodges said:

    Hi Charles,

    You have identified several factors important in success: 1) character traits of discipline, honor and integrity (from your father), 2) lasting friendships with quality people (from The Academy), and 3) believe in your self and stand by your convictions.

    Success breeds success, and I believe that the cycle begins when parents and teachers invest attention in children and recognize them for little achievements. The confidence and ambition we are fortunate to have was engendered by the confidence that others had in us. Thank God for that.

  9. March 31, 2013 at 9:07 pm, Mac said:

    I joined the Corps for the same reason.

  10. March 31, 2013 at 9:25 pm, J W. said:

    Great article. Garcia. Gracias

  11. March 31, 2013 at 9:27 pm, Jason Wagner said:

    Very inspiring, as usual, Garcia! I especially liked the part about how, when possible, it’s important to find your own path, independent of others so that you may pursue your own destiny. Really good writing, well played.

    • March 31, 2013 at 10:28 pm, Charles Garcia said:

      Thanks Jason. Finding our own path is very difficult sometimes. Takes courage.

  12. March 31, 2013 at 9:37 pm, Scott Bravell said:

    Belief allows us to look at life’s challenges as opportunities rather than obstacles!

    • March 31, 2013 at 10:30 pm, Charles Garcia said:

      Belief is like a giant magnet.. so powerful, and it’s unfortunate that more people don’t use it the way they should.

  13. March 31, 2013 at 10:24 pm, Michelle Gilstrap said:

    Thanks for sharing your story and your belief in yourself and your convictions. I was fortunate to have someone in our high-school attend the Air Force Academy. I understand now from your story what it took. My sister was an intern with a U.S. Senator in Washington and I was very proud of her. I have always though that she believed in herself . Knowing what you want is so important.

    • March 31, 2013 at 10:30 pm, Charles Garcia said:

      Thanks for the nice comment. Great that your sister was able to get that experience — something I am trying to do for my 16 year old son this summer.

  14. April 01, 2013 at 2:18 am, Tab Pierce said:

    Great article. I find standing by my convictions easy, I find others lack of acceptance to my convictions interesting. It doesn’t change my direction or determination, what I try and do is not allow it to derail mie into discussions I (not others) can win.

  15. April 01, 2013 at 10:52 am, Believe In Yourself and Stand By Your Convictions | My Blog said:

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  16. April 01, 2013 at 10:56 pm, Jolie B said:

    A wonderfully inspiring piece this is! A personal story told from the heart of pitfalls and triumph; hard work and determination. To thine ownself be true! This proves it! Thank you.

  17. April 02, 2013 at 10:38 pm, Tom said:

    Very well done! I’m jacked!

  18. July 12, 2013 at 6:25 pm, Sarah Jones said:

    Thank you for sharing your story. Your story gives others the courage to believe in themselves, to inspire others as well. This is the perfect story to tell children, the importance in believing in themselves and their dreams. I also wanted to share a book that has changed my life.

    What Makes You Great? Uplifting New Book Inspires Readers to Fight through Adversity & Pursue Life’s Greatest Dreams.

    Written by Tasha Hoggatt, ‘What Makes You Great?’ serves as a guide to staying on track during faith-testing times. Urging readers to create opportunities for themselves and pursue them no matter what curveballs life throws, the book is resonating with readers from all walks of life.
    For Immediate Release

    Los Angeles, CA – At some point in life, everyone loses faith in themselves and their aspirations. Nobody knows this better than California’s Tasha Hoggatt, who unexpectedly lost her brother when she was just twenty two years-old. The book, What Makes You Great? is semi autobiography. When Tasha Hoggatt brother passed away, it was the hardest and the most difficult experience she had to overcome. As an experience that shaped her life on many levels, Hoggatt has a unique perspective on others experiencing similar plight. In an effort to help everyone at their time of need, Hoggatt has compiled all she has learned about following her dreams into a potentially life-changing new book.

    ‘What Makes You Great?’ is more than a self-help book; it’s a blueprint to living the fullest life possible, even when darkness overshadows all light.


    The goal of the book is to inspire others who can create an opportunity for themselves, to follow their dreams. Please read this book often to help you stay focused. In this life, we do not have the luxury to live to 500 years old. We are lucky to live to 90. With that said, we should make every second, minute, hour, day, week, month and year count. It is important to always move in the direction that will bring you closer to realizing your dreams and living a positive life.

    Avoid emotionally and mentally negative situations and thought patterns, so you can make the best out of your life and others around you. Put your family first building a foundation of love and respect. A family is a group of individuals living under the same roof, united by certain convictions and common affiliation, the basic and various social units in society. A unit that should be valued!

    As the author explains, while her own life experiences seemed unique, she became acutely aware that everyone suffers their own personal times of need.

    “I wrote the book, What Makes You Great? because I have seen both friends and family due to difficult experience lose faith in themselves. In turn, they give up on their dream and put aside many of the aspirations that will make their life better aside. Our dreams are the blueprint of our life that we need to pursue. It gives us confidence in our ability to achieve anything,” says Hoggatt.

    Continuing, “The book is broken up in seven sections. It is an easy read. It is important because at one point, we all lose our faith or at least are dangling. It is great to have a guide or an avenue so to stay on track. It is important to pursue dreams. It is good for our souls, humanity, each other, our relationship and the world. Love, respect and peace.”

    Since its release, the book has garnered a string of rave reviews with over 7,500 copies sold. For example, one reader commented that, “This is a must read!! If you are looking for something uplifting this is the book for you! I’m really glad I came across this great book. It definitely gives you a new found perspective on life.” Another reader stated, “I like the chapter on the importance of association and negative vs. positive thinking. This book can be considered a mental detox.”

    With its popularity expected to soar, interested readers are urged to purchase their copies as soon as possible.

    ‘What Makes You Great?’ is available now:

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