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10 Lies We Have Told Ourselves that Held Us Back From Success

10 Lies We Have Told Ourselves that Held Us Back From Success

Are you holding yourself back from success? Many people struggle to reach their full potential because they are scared of failing. People often tell little lies to themselves, but these lies could be destructively affecting your life. It is important to get rid of negative thoughts so you can reach your full potential.

Here are 10 common lies we tell ourselves which hold us back from success.

1. “This has been a really hard day. Why am I even doing this?”

Successful people always remember to look at the bigger picture. Knowing you are working towards something great gives you emotional strength, and will also encourage you to work harder. Instead of worrying about how hard your day has been, write down one thing you have done recently that has moved you a step closer to your dreams. The road to achieving your goals is filled with highs and lows, and if your goals require hard work, it probably means you will feel even better when you have achieved them.

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2. “I’ve done everything I can.”

If you believe there is the possibility you could have done a little more work for amazing results, then push yourself to do that work. You may have done the task, but make your work memorable by making it excellent. Go back to the work and consider what tweaks you could make so that your work is phenomenal. It’s better to work harder for a while than to regret that you haven’t given it everything you have in the first place.

3. “This situation makes me feel miserable, but I don’t have a say in the matter.”

Whether the situation is a relationship or a job, there is a reason it is making you feel miserable. While it can be difficult to push forward and move on, remember that you won’t get different results and achieve success without making a change. Find out if there is something you can do to improve your situation but also realize that sometimes it’s time to make a change. So instead of clinging to what makes you miserable, keep your eyes open for a change that will actually bring you the success you hoped for.

4. “I don’t know how to start.”

If someone extremely successful didn’t know how to start, they would attempt to teach themselves. Try not to let a lack of self-confidence stop you from achieving your goals. Instead of declaring that you don’t know, think of ways you could find out. It is likely you could ask someone, or use the internet to find out. Take a deep breath and try your best.

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5. “I don’t have any money.”

If you have money in your bank account, you do have money – you just may not be investing it wisely. Your money is only your responsibility, so before you buy something, try asking yourself this; “Will I regret spending this money in this way in a year?” Always make sure that you use your resources to push yourself forward and not to drag you back.

6. “I’ve been offered a great opportunity, but I would have to put in too much effort.”

If you wish to achieve success in both your personal and professional life, never choose short-term comfort over a long-term reward. If you wish to be successful, it is important to be willing to work hard, so you can reap the rewards. Seize any great opportunities that pass you by, and put in the work. Push yourself forward by knowing that once the hard work is over, you will feel extremely accomplished.

7. “I’m too tired right now.”

Try not to give yourself excuses when it comes to anything important. If you are physically too tired to do a task, you can do it when you wake up. There isn’t anything wrong with putting in a few extra hours of work – in the long run, it will probably benefit you more than your boss. If you are regularly too tired, adjust your sleeping pattern, so you can get the maximum amount of productivity out of your day.

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8. “I seriously doubt I can do this on my own.”

For most great achievements, someone had to do it by themselves first. Give yourself the chance to fail – or be extremely successful. Try not to worry and throw yourself into the task; you could impress yourself. After all, you are the only person you can really count on. Don’t let yourself down!

9. “Trying to make sure everyone is happy with me is very important.”

Many people naturally try to please everyone, but it can be time-consuming and stressful. To achieve success it is important to work hard, but don’t let yourself be taken advantage of. Instead live your life trying to please the right people, rather than all of the people.

10. “I’m good, but there are others who are better.”

Thinking this is self-sabotage, and it will hold you back from success. This thought shows a lack of confidence and doesn’t focus on what matters; it isn’t about being as good as others, it is about achieving your personal best. Instead of idolizing others, work on making yourself amazing instead.

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Do you know any other thoughts that could hold you back from success? Comment below and let us know!

Featured photo credit: Lonely man in a forest via shutterstock.com

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Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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