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Published on July 13, 2020

3 Hidden Reasons Why You Fail at What You Do

3 Hidden Reasons Why You Fail at What You Do

Why do I fail at everything? If you’ve ever asked yourself this question, join the club!

Failure is a normal part of life. It comes with the territory of being a human being on planet Earth.

Think about something in your life that you really want to accomplish but haven’t yet been able to achieve. We’ve all failed at something in our lives. However, some people are better at failing than others.

The problem is that we live in a world where success is put on a pedestal, while failure is looked down upon. The line of thinking is that if you’ve failed, there must be something wrong with you.

This is so far from true. Failing at one thing doesn’t mean that your entire life is one big failure. The only true failure in life is when you stop trying.

Failure Is a Precursor for Success

Success isn’t built on success. Rather, success is built on failures. The more you learn what doesn’t work, the closer you get to figuring out what does.

In effect, messing up makes you a smarter and wiser person. Research has found that experiencing failure leads to richer mental models than experiencing success does[1].

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The most successful people in this world have failed massively. In actuality, they fail more than they succeed.

As Michael Jordan famously said:

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

The only way to change what isn’t working in your life is to get to the truth. This can be painful for a lot of people. It requires that you drop your excuses. Nobody wants to come face-to-face with their mess, but it’s necessary if you want to level-up your life.

I am a firm believer that the truth will always set you free, even when it makes you feel uncomfortable.

When you know the reasons why you’re failing time and time again, you will be empowered to do something different. This is the moment at which you can start turning your failure into a powerful plan of action.

3 Reasons Why You Fail at What You Do

Failure can be the result of many different factors, but here are three of the most common impediments to success.

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1. You Aren’t Taking Responsibility for Your Life

If you want to fix any problem in your life, you have to be willing to own it. Yes, life can be unfair. I know how tempting it can be to blame others or the world for your problems. However, that mindset won’t get you anywhere.

You cannot be the driver of your life and the CEO of your mind if you are constantly deflecting blame elsewhere. This is the fastest way to lose your power. You will continue to fail in life if you don’t take responsibility for what happens to you.

Drop the excuses and take ownership of every action you take and every thought you think. If you can do that, I promise that you will start thriving.

Part of the power of taking responsibility for your actions is that you silence the negative, unhelpful voice in your head[2]. When you do this, you have more mental space to think empowering thoughts about success instead of disempowering thoughts about failure.

2. You Don’t Believe in Yourself Enough

Belief is the foundation of everything in life. The most mind-blowing achievements would never have transpired without the belief that they were possible.

If you don’t believe in yourself, you will only sabotage your efforts and continue to come up short. The act of failing will affirm your limiting belief that you’re a failure and not deserving of success, and the cycle of destructive thinking will continue.

This is why it’s so important that you become an active observer of your thoughts and start to identify the core beliefs that are keeping you stuck.

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Core beliefs capture our fundamental view of the world, other people, and ourselves. Some common limiting beliefs include, “I’m a failure,” “I’m not enough,” or “I don’t deserve success”[3].

Question every single thought that you have. Once you become aware that you are separate from the voice inside of your head, your negative thoughts will grow weaker and weaker, and your self-belief will grow stronger and stronger.

If you find this particularly difficult, try starting a meditation practice to make space in your mind for positivity.

3. You Give up Too Quickly

Nothing of value in life comes easy. Every day there are people in this world who do the impossible. Have you ever wondered why this happens? Simple. These people don’t give up.

Even when all of the cards are stacked against them, they persevere. If you give up the moment that you encounter a challenge, you’ve adopted a dabbler mentality. The dabbler always fails.

This is someone who never finishes what they start. They jump from one thing to the next in hopes that things will be easier. Not surprisingly, they encounter the same reality.

Conversely, the master is someone who commits to everything. If this person can’t find a way, he or she creates a way. These types of people turn every failure into an opportunity for growth.

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You will fail. That’s a guarantee. All that matters is how you react when you do. The next time you feel like giving up, I want you to think about why you started in the first place.

I am going to bet that you have invested too much time, energy, and sacrifices to throw in the towel so easily. If you keep going and never stop fighting for your dreams, I promise that your future self will thank you for it.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Why do I fail at everything?” reflect on the above reasons.

The only person that is standing in the way of your success is you. If you want to be successful, you have to get comfortable with failure.

Even more, you have to seek out failure because this is where you will find life’s greatest lessons. Extract those lessons and use your pain as motivation.

In the words of the late, great, Maya Angelou:

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

Are you ready to rise above your failures and step into your power?

More Tips on Overcoming Failure

Featured photo credit: DANNY G via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Ashley Elizabeth

Resilience Mastery Coach and Motivational Speaker

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Last Updated on October 20, 2020

How to Change Your Self-Perception and Untap Your Hidden Potential

How to Change Your Self-Perception and Untap Your Hidden Potential

If your current self-perception is not serving you in ways that allow you to be your best self and achieve the goals you’re aiming for, it’s time to transform it into a force for good using personality and social psychology.

Those harsh evaluations from your inner critic speaking sourly of unworthiness have had enough airplay. You no longer want to allow features of imposter syndrome to immobilize you nor deflate any balloon of excitement and hope you had toward achieving your goals.

Your self-perception is about the relationship you have with yourself. The great news is that because you hold this self-perception, you are the best and most powerful agent capable of transforming it.

Here are 7 tips on how to change your self-perception and unleash your potential.

1. Learn to Detach From Others’ Projections

Simply cutting ties with anyone who drops negative criticism that leaves you feeling you are a lesser human being would lead to an incredibly lonely existence. What can better serve you is recognizing when someone might actually be projecting their self-image upon you.

Projections are often an unconscious way we defend ourselves to feel better emotionally and mentally about those aspects of ourselves we consider to be flawed[1]. We attribute the things we don’t like about ourselves to someone else because the pain and discomfort of confessing our own inadequacies are just too great.

Think of the friend at dinner who dominates the conversation and commonly speaks over others yet tells you you’re rude when you interrupt them. Think of the associate who claims to be a perfectionist and always struggles to meet deadlines but says your work will never be as good because you prioritize meeting targets over doing better quality work.

When you are on the receiving end of sharp, unsavory criticism, there’s a high chance that another person may be projecting. They are unwittingly showing you how they see the world.

However, this does not mean their assertions are true or valid. If anything, it’s simply a matter of opinion.

2. Recognize How Others Have Shaped Your Self-Perception

During her earlier research, Carol Dweck discovered children’s motivation and performance was highly influenced by how parents and authority figures encouraged them.

Her research offers guidance that could also influence a child’s esteem, self-efficacy, and self-perception as they grow through adolescence and into adulthood[2].

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  • Teach children how their effort can influence outcomes and their performance as opposed to labeling them according to the results they might achieve (i.e. a good artist, a genius, gifted).
  • As opposed to telling children they were good or bad, loved or not loved depending upon their behavior and results of performance, praise their efforts despite the results.
  • Make space for children’s positive and negative emotions as opposed to only being loving, affectionate, and supportive when they are well-behaved or performing to a certain level.

Dweck’s research has shone a light on likely sources of many imprisoning self-perceptions we develop as adults. As adults, we can see how and why we came to think about ourselves in the ways we do[3].

Change your self-perception with a growth mindset.

    Now, this is not a green light to unleash all blame on your parents and teachers but rather to recognize that you might be carrying the full weight of unhelpful self-perceptions you aren’t fully accounted for. You can also recognize and choose to do something about those self-perceptions that don’t benefit you.

    Ask yourself:

    “Does how I see myself make me feel better or worse about myself?”

    “Does how I see myself create obstacles between where I am, what I am feeling, where I want to be, and how I want to feel?”

    Continue to practice your awareness of how you see yourself in the present, consider how this impacts you, and start exploring how to put yourself in the greatest position of power to change this.

    3. Learn How Even Negative Self-Perceptions Serve a Purpose

    World-renowned psychotherapist Richard Schwartz coined an incredible therapeutic framework called Internal Family Systems through hearing how clients would talk about inner “parts” of themselves[4].

    Similar to how different members of our families have different roles by birthright, different personality traits, and characteristics, Schwartz proposes that we all have an internal system consisting of sub-personas or “parts” within our psyche that help form our self-perception.

    Have you ever thought that you should decide one way but another voice inside you said to do the opposite? If so, this framework can help you not only tame the unhelpful voices and self-perceptions but also discover others that can help you untap your hidden potential.

    Schwartz coined three main types of sub-personas:

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    • Exiles are those who often hold the emotional pain from abandonment, rejection, being exploited, and negatively judged by other individuals or other parts within our internal system.
    • Managers are those who are directive and controlling to avoid situations and interactions which might further hurt the exile part/s. These parts of us are often highly intellectual and good at problem-solving but push emotions away.
    • Firefighters are those parts of us that spring into action in emergencies when we’re caught off guard. When the exile parts of us have been triggered, these firefighting parts can jump into soothing and placate their emotional expression. Emotional eating or splurging our savings on clothes to make ourselves feel better are examples of ways we look to put out the emotional fire that is blazing.

    Regardless of the different characteristics of these parts we have within us, they all serve a primary purpose but in different ways: to protect us and keep us safe.

    When we learn to see how and why they do this, we dissolve our need to fight our self-perceptions.

    We no longer have to fight against the negative voices in our heads. We can now guide and use them to our advantage to help us get to where we now want to go.

    4. Reframe Your Language to Practice Healthy Detachment

    You don’t need to undergo intensive therapy to benefit from some simple language reframing techniques. When you change a few words in your self-labeling narrative, you can drastically change the impact that narrative can have on you.

    When you look at the following four sentences, you have a sense of which one feels the most self-deprecating and which one feels the least:

    • “No one loves me. I’m simply not attractive.”
    • “Right now, I feel that no one loves me. At the moment, I don’t feel attractive.”

    Which statement feels the heaviest? Did you notice the changes in the sentences?

    Self-perceptions we make tend to be purely black and white. We also tend to inaccurately and blanketly apply them to cover all contexts and situations, particularly when our emotions are the most intense.

    Reframing your self-narrative is easier than trying to eliminate it in one fell swoop. Recognize that your self-perception is but a reflection of transient feelings you are feeling at particular moments in time, and you’ll become better at preserving your self-worth.

    5. Forget Positive Affirmations and Practice Truthful Self-Perceptions

    As a coach and a consultant, I have often had clients come to me wanting to instantly silence any negative self-talk they express toward themselves. It is true our subconscious develops healthier inner dialogue over time with the regular and frequent practice of feeding it better mental nutrition. However, no amount of positive self-talk can transform negative self-perceptions if we don’t believe they could be true.

    If you have a poor body image, you can tell yourself until you’re blue in the face that you have nothing to be concerned about when you look in the mirror. You’re still going to be free from the mental and emotional shackles that such self-perception holds.

    You’ll be pleased to know the answer isn’t in endless journaling or writing out positive affirmations hundreds of times a day. There’s a faster and more effective way!

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    Develop phrases which you actually believe that guide you to look in the direction of how you want to see yourself:

    I’m working towards improving how I see and/or feel about myself.”

    “I’m learning and practicing how to adjust this aspect of myself so it better serves me.”

    Notice how there is no mention of looking to improve or delete an aspect of your personality in either of these statements?

    Your subconscious will be more on board with you using the phraseology above because you’re emotionally more receptive to it. It feels safe, honest, and true.

    Practice more language and phrases like these above and you will grow incredible self-perception that will take you beyond what you originally felt you were worthy of aiming for.

    6. Combine a Growth Mindset and Imagery to Untap Your Potential

    The use of imagery is an incredibly powerful mental tool to help you develop more helpful self-perceptions that will serve you in moving toward your initial goals. Combine this with simple growth mindset questions, and you’ll be well on your way to unleashing your potential.

    Using an example, let’s say you don’t feel you don’t have what it takes to apply for a certain job.

    The first part of the exercise is to playfully develop the growth and expansive mindset questions and entertain the answers to them:

    1. What if I did have enough skill, expertise, knowledge, and confidence?
    2. How would I approach applying for the job?
    3. How would I be feeling as I applied for the job?
    4. How would I feel upon submitting my application or getting an interview?

    The second part now is to bring those potential answers to life. Breathe life into a mini-movie scene of these possibilities you create in your imagination. Imagine the environment you surround yourself in as you prepare your job application.

    When you engage your five physical senses during imagery, you can ignite physical and emotional responses that signal to your brain what you are focusing on is important. The more you practice the imagery in which you paint a healthier and helpful self-perception, the more your reticular activating system[5] will look for opportunities for this to come to fruition in reality.

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    You can learn more visualization techniques in this article.

    7. Deliberately Practice Healthier Self-Perceptions

    Our hidden potential remains untapped when we aren’t moving toward clearly defined goals.

    From recognizing our unhelpful self-perception, we can start to shape those which aren’t just healthier for us but also strategically helpful for us in moving toward what we want to experience, do, and have.

    When you next look at a particular goal, ask yourself the following questions:

    1. What qualities do I already have that could and would help to meet that goal?
    2. What do I already know that could help me meet this goal?
    3. How can I position myself to gain the skills and knowledge that would help me achieve this goal?
    4. What choice/s along the way would give me opportunities to experience satisfaction, happiness, and fulfillment in ways that matter to me?
    5. Even if I don’t meet this goal, will I still feel good about myself throughout the efforts I make to do so?

    These questions are not only strengths-based. They also guide you to make choices and create opportunities that help you feel higher and healthier levels of fulfillment.

    Meeting the goal may or may not happen. Regardless, your self-perception is sure to undergo powerful, positive transformations on many levels.

    Final Thoughts

    These 7 tips will help you realize your potential and change your self-perception positively.

    Through learning how to practice acceptance and compassion toward yourself and how to have a better relationship with yourself, you can develop self-concepts that help you untap your hidden potential.

    You’ll be radiating a healthy glow that’s almost palpable with a powerful sense of self that will take you wherever you want to go!

    More Tips on Improving Your Self-Perception

    Featured photo credit: Vince Fleming via unsplash.com

    Reference

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