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9 Lies You Tell Yourself That Keeps You Away From Success

9 Lies You Tell Yourself That Keeps You Away From Success

“Stop lying to yourself. When we deny our own truth, we deny our own potential.”
-Steve Maraboli

We all make excuses and tell ourselves lies to avoid success. I should add, we do that to avoid the challenge, the blood, the sweat, and the tears. It is really taking the easy way out but that is denying us the chance of fame and power. The lies are barriers to achievement and fulfillment. Here are 9 lies that you probably tell yourself to avoid success.

1. I must never fail

People are afraid of failure. They are right. It ruins everything. You tell yourself that failure is not on the agenda.

The truth is that all the greatest entrepreneurs know about failure. They have all experienced it, although they may not talk much about it. But those who do all have one message. Failure was a learning experience.

Just look at J.K. Rowling, the creator of the Harry Potter books. She was at one point suicidal as she feared she could not make enough money to feed her children! Yet, she persisted and now she has sold over 400 million books and is the second richest woman in the UK. Think of each setback as a building block to success.

Richard Branson has a string of failed projects to his name. Just think of Virgin Cola, Virgin Cards, Virgin Clothes, Virgin Vie and Virgin Vodka!

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“I’ve missed more than 9000 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.”
–Michael Jordan

2. I just need a lucky break

As you tell yourself this, you visualize success. The problem is that the chances of this lucky break happening are about the same as winning the lottery. There is another issue here. You are deceiving yourself in thinking that the winners have always had it easy and have never had to struggle. They got lucky and they never had to deal with grinding poverty, unfair competition, and backbreaking hard work.

The reality is a lot different. It takes nerve, determination, persistence, and a vision to succeed. The lucky break may come but waiting around is not going to make that happen.

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.”
–J.K.Rowling

3. I do not have the courage

You are basically scared and are not prepared to make that courageous leap. You lie to yourself that fear is holding you back. If you are a manager, you may be avoiding staff problems because of a lack of courage. Your business may suffer. When you are in a relationship, fear may hold you back from expressing your real feelings and emotions. You may lose your partner because of this.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.”
–Eleanor Roosevelt

4. I must do everything myself

If you deceive yourself about this, you will never be able to surround yourself with top level team members who will really make a difference. If you persist in this, you are likely to end up micromanaging. You will never be able to delegate because you do not know the skill set of each of your team members. You will never win their loyalty, trust, and confidence. This does not only apply to your team but also to all your business contacts. This is one of the reasons why Richard Branson is a regular attendee at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

“To be successful in business, you need to connect and collaborate and delegate.”
–Richard Branson

5. I must wait for the right moment

You think that there will be the perfect niche and you will know when to pounce on it to make it into a roaring success. You just have to wait until the time is right and you keep putting things off.

If Gutenberg had persisted in that belief we would never have had the printing press. Nobody wanted books then!

“Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.”
-Napoleon Hill

6. I am not clever enough

So you think that successful people are really intelligent? You might be shocked to know that their IQ accounts for only about 25% of their success. The other 75% is due to their ability to network, their optimism, and their emotional intelligence.

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If you are telling yourself this lie, try to assess what your networking abilities and EQ are before beating yourself up about your lack of intelligence or formal qualifications. Common sense and social interaction skills will beat an MBA any day of the week.

“Hope is a talent like any other.”
-Storm Jameson

7. I haven’t got the right personality

If you think that personality is so important, think again! Look at the greatest success stories on this planet. Bill Gates is an introvert, Barack Obama has been described as aloof while Mark Zuckerberg is shy.

There are some fascinating insights into the personalities of people who have had enormous success. Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. is well worth a read.

Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, measure your self-esteem. This is what really counts.

“He is shy and introverted and he often does not seem very warm to people who don’t know him, but he is warm,”
-Sheryl Sandberg talking about Zuckerberg to The New York Times.

8. I never have enough money

You probably lie to yourself that all these successful people had loads of money to start with so they had it real easy. But throwing money at a project is not going to make it work. Instead of blaming the lack of funding, think of all the other factors that can make a project work. This may include planning, setting goals and objectives, team building, just to mention a few.

“The manager who comes up with the right solution to the wrong problem is more dangerous than the manager who comes up with the wrong solution to the right problem.”
–Peter Drucker

9. I know what works so I will continue with that

This is a fallacy because it can lead to stagnation. It is a dangerous lie too. The world is changing every minute. There are implications for your competitors and your markets. It also reduces your possibility of saving money on a more efficient solution or at looking at innovation. This is the dynamism of the business world. If you get stuck in a rut, you will never achieve success.

We have seen that success rarely falls into the lap of a person, unless they are born into a rich family. Even that is not a guarantee of achievement. The above examples show that determination, persistence, courage and vision are what really count in success. Time to stop lying to ourselves.

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”
-Lao Tzu

Featured photo credit: Lies/Ged Carroll via flickr.com

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More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on September 17, 2020

5 Practical Ways to Get Over a Mental Block

5 Practical Ways to Get Over a Mental Block

There’s nothing quite like a state of “flow” when you’re working. The rare moments when your inspiration aligns with your motivation likely lead to some of your most creative work. Plus, it feels great to actually check a task or project off the list so you can move on to the next thing. Meanwhile, a mental block — its opposite — can cause work to feel laborious and uninspired. Forget creativity when you have a mental block — it makes it difficult even to start working on what you need to do.

A mental block can manifest in several ways. Perhaps your imposter syndrome is squelching your creative ideas, for instance, or you’re overwhelmed by the breadth of a project and its impending deadline. Maybe you’re just tired or stressed.

Either way, having a mental block feels like being trapped in your own head, and it can seriously dampen your ability to think outside the box. The problem is, you’re so locked into your own perspective that you don’t see more innovative approaches to your problems.[1]

Luckily, jumping over these mental hurdles is simpler than you think. You just need the right strategies to get your flow back.

Try these five practical ways to overcome a mental block.

1. Break Your Project Down

A few years ago, I was working on changing a company product that I believed would hugely benefit our customers. Sounds great, right?

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As inspired as I was to make people’s lives easier, though, the sheer magnitude of the task at hand felt overwhelming. Every morning, I cracked open my laptop to work and felt totally paralyzed. I loved the idea, yes, but actualizing it felt risky. What if it didn’t turn out the way I pictured in my mind? More importantly, where would I even begin?

A former colleague gave me great advice over coffee:

Change how you think. Start by breaking the big project down into small tasks.

When a major project overwhelms you, you only see the entire forest instead of the individual trees. And as you stare it down, you start to feel discouraged by your own lack of progress, thus slowing you down further.

Breaking down a massive task into smaller chunks makes the work feel more manageable. You’ll have multiple clear places to start and end with, which will lend a motivating sense of productivity and mastery to your process. Learn more about it here: The Motivation Flowchart: The Mental Process of Successful People

Think of it as accumulating small wins. When you realize you’re more capable than you have once thought, you’ll develop the momentum and confidence needed to get your big job done little by little.[2]

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2. Change Up Your Scenery

Of course, there’s a time and place for sitting down to get things done. But if you’re experiencing a mental block, switching up your surroundings can make a big difference in your output.

Have you ever noticed how your environment directly impacts your performance and mood?

Your brain associates your physical surroundings with certain feelings and activities. So, if you feel mentally stuck, your mind may need some new sensory stimuli.

During this time in your life, it may not be possible to set up shop at a cafe or move from your cubicle to a conference room, so you may need to think outside the box. If you’re working remotely in a home office, try going to your dining table or couch. If the weather cooperates, sit outside for a bit with your computer or take a walk around the block.

You can also simply rearrange your workspace. Not sure where to begin? Try decluttering. Some studies show that an organized desk enhances productivity.[3]

The point is to stimulate your brain with new sounds and sights. You may find a much-needed dose of inspiration when you work while breathing in the fresh air, listening to city sounds, or staying in the comfort of your own living space.

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3. Do an Unrelated Activity

When it comes to productivity, a bit of distraction isn’t always a bad thing. That’s especially true if your chosen distraction helps you get things done in the long run.

Have you realized how your most creative thoughts tend to bubble up when you’re, say, lying in bed or taking a shower? In their research of the “incubation period,” scientists have discovered that people’s best ideas seem to surface when they aren’t actively trying to solve a problem.[4]

In a 2010 study, participants needed to look for a roommate or new employee based on the profiles that the researchers gave. The people who had a brief “incubation period” — in this case, working on an anagram — consistently made better choices than those who spent more time weighing their options.

If you can’t seem to prime your brain for a project, try doing something completely unrelated to work, such as washing your dishes, working out, or calling a friend. Some experts say finding another low-stake project to work on can help jump-start the creative part of your brain and activate your flow.[5]

The key is to allow your unconscious mind to do its best work: eliciting the new knowledge your conscious mind may be ignoring or suppressing.[6]

4. Be Physical

Feeling antsy? When your mind won’t seem to settle into a state of flow, it may help to swap out your mental activity for a physical one and see how it impacts your perspective.

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While any physical activity is beneficial for your body — and getting up to move can serve as a helpful form of distraction — certain forms of exercise can more directly impact the mind. To be specific, relaxing, flow-based exercises like dance, yoga, or tai chi can create a gentle sense of momentum in your body, which can prime your brain for the same state.

Stress-reducing activities may also be necessary. Meditating or taking slow, deep breaths will also calm your nervous system if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Evidence shows that the logical, creative part of your brain essentially shuts off when you’re stressed.[7]

On the flip side, when your mind and body are relaxed, you can think more clearly, be more creative, and focus for longer periods — all of which will help you overcome a mental block.

5. Don’t Force It

It can be frustrating to fight against your own mind. If your mental block won’t go away after some effort, it may be time to take a break. Forcing creative thoughts only adds to your stress levels, which in turn inhibits your ability to think creatively. And if you sit and stare at a project for too long, you’ll not only waste valuable time but also begin to associate this specific work with frustration and produce work you’re not proud of.

“I know that forcing something is not going to create anything beyond mediocre, so I step aside and work on a different project until it hits me,” the artist Ben Skinner said about his creative process.[8]

If your work isn’t time-sensitive, then it may make sense to step away for a while to focus on something else, be it an administrative task that requires less creativity or a project that you feel motivated to work on.

When the time is right, you’ll find your way back to the original task with a fresh, creative perspective (hopefully).

More on Getting Rid of a Mental Block

Featured photo credit: Jonas Leupe via unsplash.com

Reference

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