Think back when you were a little kid and got scared. What did you tend to do? If you were like most kids you went looking for your mommy or some similar form of security.
This pattern doesn’t go away so easily. When you get scared or worried today you probably still tend to seek comfort and retreat to where you feel safe and secure. Do you tend to do what’s familiar, safe, and easy even when greater things are on the horizon? This isn’t unnatural, but if we don’t actively seek out personal growth, we’re likely to stay in the same place and live by the same habits we always have, despite how self-defeating they may be. When a new opportunity arises, we may decide it’s too risky and not even try. Or we may decide to go for it, experience some setbacks, and give up before we even make progress. What’s currently holding you back that you’re too afraid to change? Here are a few suggestions to help you move beyond the familiar everyday lifestyle that limits your growth.
Be willing to let yourself fail
Successful people fail on occasion. It’s how we learn and improve. If somebody tells you they haven’t failed, it’s probably because they aren’t trying hard enough. There’s nothing inherently wrong in failing and in fact it offers us a chance to grow and gain wisdom. The only way we can truly know we are getting closer to our potential is to fail. If we don’t push our limits we can’t grow. Anyone can go through life doing the same thing over and over knowing it will be easy and knowing it will be safe and secure. We must not fear failure if we are to ever do something more than ordinary. Even if you value security consider how this plays a role in your life and if it inhibits you in the pursuit of better things.
What’s your excuse?
Excuses are some of the most subtle yet power forces in life. You probably don’t even realize how much of your thinking is based on deep seated excuses. Excuses are essentially a defense mechanism we use to make ourselves feel better when we aren’t living up to our potential. For instance, I got in a lot of trouble when I was a youth. For a long time I used this as an excuse for my behavior and lack of motivation. Until I turned this around to be a source of motivation and strength it was easy to call on this in times that required me to push past limits. Realize when you’re making excuses and how this can limit your sense of control and empowerment.
Tame your horse
A wonderful metaphor for how our mind keeps us in the cycle of self-defeat is the horse and rider. If a horse is trained to follow a certain path it can difficult if not impossible to get it off this course. Our unconscious mind is the horse and we are often the rider at it’s mercy. When something new or unexpected arises, our horse immediately alerts us of the potential danger. The horse makes us feel uncomfortable, unsafe, and think of all the possible bad things that could happen. Our horse keeps us focused on how things “should” be and what we are “supposed to” do. Our horse doesn’t welcome change, and anything different or new is perceived as a threat. Knowing this will take place can help you tame your horse by not immediately react to the irrational way of viewing things your horse promotes.
Stop selling yourself short
We all encounter limitations in some form or another. Sometimes they’re “real” and we have to accept our circumstances, but most of the time the limitations we experience are self-imposed and based on some faulty belief that we’re not good enough or don’t deserve to be successful. Consider how much you hold yourself back based on faulty beliefs and conditioning from society and culture. It’s a fact that most people won’t be world-class, one of a kind champions. Only a small percentage of people will ever really reach the pinnacle of success. However, this fact doesn’t need to hold us back from using our unique potential. Most people who are “average” have much more potential than they realize. The simple fact that people consider themselves to be “average” holds enough conditioning to prevent any true breakthroughs. Assuming you have at least average mental and physical ability, you will be able to get to the next level by sheer fortitude if you’re willing to try. You just have to want it badly enough.
Do you have the will to succeed?
Our emotions and thoughts are connected to our will. When we begin to feel discouraged and think less of ourselves it effects our will to persevere. We can’t give up at the first sign of resistance. Nothing in life worth pursing is easy. If this was the case we wouldn’t experience any growth. Whatever the situation may be, taking the familiar road is all too easy. You must break the cycle. The will to succeed comes from overcoming the faulty beliefs and conditioning you are prone to, and beginning to push past the discomfort that arises when you try something new. How do you break the cycle of self-defeat? How have you changed self-defeating habits or pushed past your limits? Photo credit: Aristocrats-hat