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7 Stupid Ideas That Are Holding You Back From Being Your Best

7 Stupid Ideas That Are Holding You Back From Being Your Best

“The problem is that the people with the most ridiculous ideas are always the people who are most certain of them.” (The Decider, July 21, 2007) – Bill Maher

In my life I have had seven definite ideas that have held me back from being the best person I can be. When I think about what Bill Maher says about ideas, mine were ridiculous, but I believed them to be “true.” If you feel you are not living your life to your fullest potential, keep reading! Because if you nod yes to one or more of these seven stupid ideas, then maybe you need to change your ideas.

1. I don’t deserve success, it is unachievable so I wont try.

This is an idea that is based on a limiting self-belief, and that actually says you have no hope inside of you and therefore don’t believe you deserve to be successful. Your mind is using a truck load of energy focusing on the negative elements of you — it’s very draining! Instead  focus on the positive elements in your life and I guarantee you will feel so much better about yourself.

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2. Others will think I am stupid if do this.

Here’s another limiting self-belief and the words of Ellen DeGeneres say it all about this stupid idea:

“Start thinking positively. You will notice a difference. Instead of ‘I think I’m a loser,’ try ‘I definitely am a loser.’ Stop being wishy-washy about things! How much more of a loser can you be if you don’t even know you are one? Either you are a loser or you are not. Which is it, stupid?”Ellen DeGeneres, The Funny Thing Is…

Surround yourself with people who make you happy, who support you, believe in you and who see you at your best. They are the people who will stop you from thinking you are an idiot and stupid. I do, however, like what Ellen says about being more definite in saying you are a loser rather than saying you think you are!

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3. It’s too late for me to change or to do what I want to do.

This is just an excuse to accept our lot in life. The older we get, the less opportunity we believe we have to follow our dream. It is never too late — it is only because we choose to believe it is too late. The power of choice sits with us.

 “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, either way you are right.” – Henry Ford

If you are a mid-lifer like me, then you will be surrounded by people who believe that it is too late and are waiting to retire. Go surround yourself with young people just starting out on their journey and absorb their energy and positivity about life. Hopefully that will ignite you to go and do what ever it takes to follow your dream.

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4. I tried, but it didn’t work out as I expected, so I am not doing that again.

This is a stupid, negative idea that focuses on your failure. This idea could so easily be turned around to an idea that says, “I gave it a go and it didn’t turn out as I expected, but wow what a journey! I learned heaps and next time I will be more aware of…”  Which idea feels better to say? I am guessing that it is the second idea that feels better. So why focus on negative thoughts when they make you feel yuck? Failures are part of the package of life, so embrace failure, learn from your failures, adjust and keep going.

5. I am actually comfortable with how things are at the moment.

Not only is this idea stupid, it is dangerous and it is tricky. Because to be your best you have to be courageous and uncomfortable at times. I too like the safety of comfort and contentment, but after a while it does get boring. You start to feel worse and even more discontented. I find that once I take up a challenge and push myself out of my  comfort zone, life becomes a good-scary and exciting! If you choose to step out of your comfort zone and you don’t feel energized and excited, then you haven’t stepped out far enough!

6. To be my best requires too much hard work and energy and I don’t have that right now. Maybe later…

This crazy idea suggests that you maybe lack a vision of what it is you want. You actually don’t know what your best looks like and therefore you will find an excuse for not doing what it takes to be that. If you lack clarity about what you want to be, then the desire and motivation are nonexistent. I know that, personally, I have to be clear about what it is I want and what success looks like for me. If I can feel it, smell it and visualise it, then I will do what ever it takes. If not, I will find any excuse as to why I can’t do it.

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If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” – Jim Rohn

7. It’s too overwhelming and I am scared.

To be our best we actually have to change who we are and what we think. And yes, it is overwhelming and scary! If being our best was easy and not scary, then we would be going for it and living our life to our fullest potential. Life is not like that and this stupid idea illustrates how fearful we are of change. Life is not a straight line, it’s full of twists and turns and tough times. However, if we choose it to be, we can live a life full of joy, happiness and love. To be the best  person you want to be embrace change and your vulnerability.

When I watched Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability, it was like a whole new world of thinking opened up to me. Once I stepped into my power of vulnerability, I stopped being scared and overwhelmed and became free of my fear and my stupid ideas.                                      

So get rid of your stupid ideas, embrace change, take up the challenge and go for it!

More by this author

Kathryn Sandford

Career Resilience Coach passionate about supporting others to grow and thrive in a complex world.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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