The following quote is from a sociologist named Charles Cooley. Read it carefully.

“I am who I think you think I am.”

Read it again if you didn’t totally get it.

What he’s saying is that people come to understand who they are by imagining what others think of them.

It is a profound observation.

In practice it happens all the time.

In that sense the sociologist is right.

But accepting that as way of thinking is 100 percent wrong if you want to reach your potential as a person or as a leader.

Limiting your beliefs based on your perceptions of others is a bad habit.

In the worst case (in which you think someone has a low estimation of you) you can have a very low estimation of yourself. This of course is a limiting belief.

In the best case (in which you think someone thinks very highly of you), your belief in what you can be is still limited by what you think someone thinks of you. This is also a limiting belief.

The most healthy and realistic way is for a person (you) to determine who and what they are. Don’t leave that up to anyone else. And don’t think small. You want liberating beliefs, not limiting beliefs.

“I am who I think you think I am.”

…It may be true, but that does not make it right.