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5 Ways to Stop Psyching Yourself Out of Your Goals

5 Ways to Stop Psyching Yourself Out of Your Goals

    For the past 5 and a half years I have gained interests in several different disciplines and topics. I like playing guitar, gaming, writing, creating and designing websites, programming, biking (bicycling, Harley dudes.), understanding economics, science, and math. I’ve come to find out that I am pretty good at some of these things, yet with most I am mediocre at best.

    And because of this I start to talk myself out of everything that I have any ideas about.

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    The Inner Critic

    Let me introduce you to someone. Her name is the critic, and if you are a knowledge worker or creative you know her quite well. She is the one that pipes up and tells you that you aren’t very good at something and because of that you should give up on everything.

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    Sound familiar?

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    The inner critic is something that we all experience and can lead talented and creative individuals to give up on their ideas without even trying them.

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    Personally, I have been visited by the critic too many times to count. And many of those times she has stopped me dead in my tracks on some idea about a website, article, or piece of software that I would like to create. Remember, the critic is sneaky; not only will she try to stop you dead in your tracks and force you to give up, she will sneak her way into your plans and and todo lists in the form of non-clarified next actions, forcing you to procrastinate on your goals and dreams.

    Luckily there are some ways that you can battle the Inner Critic and take over.

    1. Define exactly what you want to accomplish – also what you don’t want to accomplish
      There is nothing worse than having a project or goal that is poorly defined. The Inner Critic loves this kind of “amorphous blog of undoability” and with it tells you that, “you don’t even really know what you want in ‘life/project x/goal x’, therefore you might as well give up”.Instead, identify exactly what being done looks like and also what is outside of the scope of what you are trying to accomplish. This will ease your mind and allow you to accept that you can actually get something done.
    2. Share your thoughts with others
      One of the fastest ways to shut down the Inner Critic is to run your ideas and dreams by others. There is something about getting out of your own head; it allows you to more clearly see what you are trying to accomplish as you get instant feedback from a third-party.This type of response can prove to you that you ideas are actually good and that you can do something with them.
    3. Make constant progress
      There is nothing that the Inner Critic hates more than you actually progressing on your dream projects and goals. This type of action turns into a snowball effect where you can’t help but finish what you have started.If what you are doing is something creative, make sure to allot a certain amount of time per day to the task. No matter what give yourself this time and move forward on your project.
    4. Write, journal, diary, mindmap
      This sort of goes back to the idea of getting things out of your head. A plan that isn’t defined or at least out of your head is doomed to fail. Writing things down can help you clarify what you are trying to accomplish and can subsequently help you find what you need to do next.Also, writing every once in a while about your fears of what you are doing (or not doing) will help keep the Inner Critic at bay and allow you to concentrate on the tasks at hand.
    5. Iterate
      If you can’t seem to accomplish your tasks or keep thinking that you don’t have the skills to do so, then split them up even further, accomplish a small portion, and then come back to the next part later. Also, instead of making something perfect right-off-the-bat, make it good and then come back to it again and make it better. Keep doing this until you have accomplished what you were set out to do.Iterating in the manner can help you stave off procrastination and fear as you finish your project in smaller increments and with less stress.

    The Inner Critic can take hold of your internal talk and make you think that you are not good enough. Just remember that it has nothing to do with being “not good enough” and everything to do with not giving yourself the support that you need to move towards accomplish what you need and want to get done in your life. Use these 5 tricks to shut down the Inner Critic at first blush and move towards getting things done.

    More by this author

    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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    Published on July 22, 2019

    The Secret to Success Is Failure

    The Secret to Success Is Failure

    You see a job that you’d love to do; and, you decide to go for it.

    You submit your application, and then are pleased to find a few days later that you’re invited for an interview. This goes well, and you begin to have quiet optimism that a job offer will be coming your way soon…

    It doesn’t.

    Instead, you receive a letter saying thank you — but, they’ve decided to go with another candidate.

    At this point, you could allow yourself to feel defeated, sad, and perhaps even a little angry. These are normal responses to bad news. Yet, it’s not wise to let them fester and disrupt your goals. Successful people don’t let failures kill their dreams.

    Sure, they might temporarily feel deflated. But, very quickly, they pick themselves back up again and begin planning their next steps towards success.

    How about you? Do you currently feel embarrassed or guilty about failing?

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    Don’t worry if you do, as most of us have been programmed since childhood to see failure as a bad thing. Yet, as I’m going to show you in the next few minutes, this programming is dead wrong — failure is actually an essential part of success.

    Don’t Be Tempted by Perfection

    The first thing I want you to think about is this:

    Resisting failure is, at its core, seeking perfection. And, perfection doesn’t exist.

    That’s why perfectionists are also likely to be chronic procrastinators.

    As Psychology Today noted in their article Pitfalls of Perfectionism, people who constantly seek for perfection stop themselves from engaging in challenging experiences.[1] That’s because these perfectionists are less creative and innovative than the average person — plus they’re less likely to take risks. Add these factors together, and you have someone who is overly focused on their own performance and is always quick to defend themselves. Unfortunately, these traits prevent them from having the necessary focus when it comes to learning new tasks.

    Let me be clear: Striving for perfection is not the same as striving for excellence.

    The former is a fool’s quest for the unattainable; while the latter is really just about doing our very best (which we can all obtain).

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    And, there’s another problem that perfectionists have to deal with. Namely, when they fail to reach their ideal, they feel dejected and defeated. And — as you can imagine — repeat this often enough, and these people can end up feeling bitter and depressed about their lives.

    So, forget about seeking perfection, and instead, focus on always doing your very best.

    Why Failure Is Good

    I recently came across a Forbes article Failing Your Way To Success: Why Failure Is A Crucial Ingredient For Success[2] that helped explain why most people are opposed to failure.

    The article referenced the work of two world-renowned psychologists (Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky), who were awarded a Nobel Prize for their work. They discovered something very interesting: the effect of a loss is twice as great as the gain from a win.

    Have you ever thought about that before?

    What it means is that failure has a far greater negative impact on us than the positive impact of an equivalent win. It’s no wonder then that most people are afraid to fail.

    And, here’s where it gets interesting…

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    Amazon (which along with Apple, Facebook and Google, is considered one of the Big Four technology companies) has a culture that is tolerant of failure. And Jeff Bezos — Amazon’s founder and CEO — believes that this culture is one of the main reasons for the company’s big achievements over the last 25 years. In a letter to shareholders, he said:

    “Failure comes part and parcel with invention. It’s not optional. We understand that and believe in failing early and iterating until we get it right.” 

    The truth is, failure can open up a world of exciting opportunities for you.

    How does it do this?

    By constantly showing you new avenues to travel on. And, by helping you learn from your mistakes — so you can be better next time around. It also helps you identify what’s not working for your life, and what is.

    So instead of seeing something as detrimental to success, you should see it as a tool FOR success. A tool that will help you to continually refine your journey in life.

    If you still need some convincing that the secret to success is failure, then take a look at the following excerpts from our article 10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On:

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    • J.K. Rowling encountered a catalog of failures shortly after graduating from college, including: being jobless, the breakdown of her marriage, and living as a lone parent. However, instead of giving up on life, she used these failures to propel her to write the Harry Potter fantasy series — the best-selling book series in history.

    • Walt Disney didn’t have an easy start either. He dropped out of school at a young age in a failed attempt to join the army. Later, one of his early business ventures, Laugh-o-Gram Studios, went bankrupt. He was also fired from a Missouri newspaper for “not being creative enough.” (Yes, you read that correctly.) Was he defeated by these failures? Just ask Mickey Mouse.

    • Michael Jordan had this to say about the power of failure: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 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.”

    Embrace Failure, and Prepare for Success

    I hope this has been an eye-opener for you.

    Failure has long been branded a leper; but in reality, it’s a healthy, essential component of success.

    The trick of course is to develop the mindset of a winner. Someone who sees failures as stepping stones to success — and defeats as important learning experiences.

    So, are you ready to embrace your failures and take the proud road to success?

    I sincerely hope so.

    Featured photo credit: Bruce Mars via unsplash.com

    Reference

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