“The world is all gates, all opportunities, strings of tension waiting to be struck. ” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Discouragement, it has been said, is one of the most devastating barriers to achieving goals. Two main areas I have personally ran into in the process of developing small ventures and creative projects is the seeming dearth of novel and innovative ideas. It seems that every bright idea has already taken form and is flourishing past my perceived expectations. There is definitely an inner patience necessary in believing that your time is coming, and this patience is exactly what is needed. It takes true persistence and confidence to stick with starting a project from the ground up. We may see competing products and organizations making serious headway and feel that our time has passed, but we must prevail as we never know when the big break will arrive. There is enough creativity in the world for everyone to stake a claim in developing and fostering their dreams. So, how can we keep a persistent focus and conviction in our goals and endeavors? According to Wallace Wattles, we must enter into a creative frame of mind, where unlimited potential is available, instead of the competitive frame of mind that leads to discouragement and comparison of progress. The competitive frame of mind encourages fear and resentment. The creative mind helps keep enthusiasm and a passion for our purpose, which is one of the most valuable assets to have for perseverance. Improving the Belief in Your Potential There are many ways to improve a sense of accomplishment and mastery. Theories of motivation can provide insight into factors that contribute to motivation and the obstacles that can prevent taking action. According to the self-determination theory, people have an inherent tendency for growth and expansion. People have an internal drive to achieve goals, though it does not necessarily come naturally. There are psychological needs that people strive for in order to manifest this tendency. These needs include: competence, relatedness, and autonomy. In regards to motivational behavior, competence is of particular interest. If people do not feel competent in the task at hand, there will be a hesitancy and uncertainty about true potential and capability to accomplish the task. Developing belief in our capabilities is a crucial step in beginning to pursue high aspirations and seeing a project through to completion. Another important concept related to confidence is self-efficacy. This is the belief in our abilities to achieve a given task. Those who believe they can accomplish a task likely will, and those who feel uncertain will likely shrink away from a task at the first set-back. Self-efficacy then plays a role in motivation to take action in beginning a project and to stay resilient when set-backs emerge. Essentially, people are more prone to engage in activities that fit their strengths and those they believe will be successfully accomplished. Though, this is not to say people shouldn’t strive to learn new skills and overcome natural set-backs. It basically comes down to the idea that everybody has natural endowments, which provide a unique ability that can be developed and mastered more easily. A few ways to build confidence and improve self-efficacy are to focus on past successes. Jack Canfield explains a way to promote our self-esteem by maintaining a “warm fuzzies file,” where we keep all our past accomplishments we’re proud of, and refer to these when we are feeling inadequate. Remembering past success provides a mental focus on positive accomplishments as we approach a new and uncertain activity. It can be helpful to actually write out these successful encounters to more clearly recognize them. Build Belief with Affirmations and Visualizations Along the same lines as writing out our successes, is to actually compose numerous affirmations based on the goal we are intending to accomplish. Write out a list of 10 affirmations that confirm your belief in the goal you are pursuing, and make a conscious effort to focus your self-talk on these affirmations. If you notice your self-talk beginning to contradict your potential to accomplish your desire, break this thinking pattern and focus on the positive affirmations you developed. Positive visualization is also a valuable exercise, and is more powerful than affirmation alone. Actual see yourself successful and accomplishing the intended task. A mental rehearsal can solidify a belief in what you want to do. If you want to graduate high school, imagine yourself walking across the stage accepting your diploma. If you are an athlete, imagine yourself scoring the game winning shot or making every free throw.Visualization is our creative force that prompts the action and creates the vision we strongly and diligently hold on to. We are only limited to our imagination.