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5 Not Obvious Factors That Damage Your Success Right Now

5 Not Obvious Factors That Damage Your Success Right Now

Are you getting everything you want out of life? If not, it may be because there are some things holding you back. Perhaps you don’t even realize it because you have gotten yourself into such a rut. Often, it is the little known things that keep us from achieving our goals. Are any of these things holding you back?

1. Not Measuring Success

If you aren’t measuring what you are doing, how can you know if you are actually succeeding at it? You need to use all of the tools available to you that can help you to track sales, leads, and other areas of business. By using free CRM Stride, you will be able to see where you are doing well, and which areas need improvement. The more you can see, the easier it is to tell if you are succeeding.

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2. Fear of Failure

Everyone fails at something in their lives, and the sooner you get used to that idea, the better, because you won’t be so afraid to fail. We can learn a lot from failure, and it helps us to get things right the next time. This is the key. If you don’t learn from mistakes and use what you learn to your advantage, you are holding yourself back from true success. Don’t be afraid to fail, and don’t be afraid to let your failures teach you valuable lessons.

3. Negative Thinking

Did you know that approximately four-fifths of everything you think is negative? We have as many as 50,000 thoughts a day, so that’s a lot of negative thinking going on. The trick is to learn how to recognize those negative thoughts, and turn them around into something more positive. One way to do this is to wear an elastic band on your wrist for a month. Every time you notice yourself thinking negative thoughts, give your wrist a snap with the elastic. This is going to make it easier for you to recognize the negative thoughts, and to correct them.

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4. Self-Criticism and Self-Doubt

If you are always putting yourself down, you are never going to let yourself succeed, because you won’t have the self-confidence that it takes to do so. Don’t keep telling yourself that you are no good at something, because after a while, you are going to believe it. When you don’t believe in yourself, you are not going to be the success you deserve to be. In addition to not putting yourself down, don’t put others down. Try not to be negative about yourself or others; instead, be encouraging and positive, and you’ll be a lot happier in life. Don’t doubt yourself either. The minute you start to doubt yourself, you will talk yourself into failure. When you doubt yourself, you end up holding yourself back needlessly.

5. Procrastination

When you put things off, you don’t reach your goals. We all procrastinate, but some of us do it a lot more than others. You are never going to get what you want out of life if you are constantly procrastinating. You need to take action in order to get the things you want, and there is no time like the present to get up and start doing them.

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If you are not where you want to be in life, you should sit down and take a good long look at what you are doing. Are you doing any of these things that could be holding you back from having the life you want and deserve? If so, it is never too late to change and start getting the most out of everything you do in life.

Featured photo credit: mAy 369 via flickr.com

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Jane Hurst

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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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