The reasons that hold us back from chasing our dreams are often complicated; they are deep rooted beliefs and experiences that have ingrained themselves in our minds and often trick us into believing that our dreams are out of our reach. Because of these deep seated beliefs, it truly feels: impossible, silly, too difficult, or unrealistic to us, but let it be known that many people throughout history have achieved the impossible- even when the whole world thought it was impossible. Take heed, because your dreams won’t wait for you, they won’t sit quietly while you vegetate- they will actually grow more distant from you with time.
- Fear of failure
Fear of failure might be the number one reason that people fail to achieve their dreams. Whether you fear criticism from others, looking stupid, losing too much time, or just that you won’t be able to recover if you fail, fear of failure will stop you from ever getting started.
How to beat it.
In order to overcome fear of failure it often takes hard work, persistence, and dedication. The fear of failure is ingrained on some level in all of us- just in some more deeply than others. The first step to overcome fear of failure is to remind yourself that failure from chasing a dream almost never amounts to death or serious injury. In the pursuit of 99% of dreams, your life is not in immediate danger, but rather, only your ego is at risk. Next, realize that everyone who has ever achieved success at anything has failed at some point. Not only is failure guaranteed to happen, but it is necessary for success. Every time you fail, you gain valuable feedback and experience that makes you even stronger next time. So remember: failure will hurt, but you won’t die and everyone successful fails: failure makes you stronger!
- Fear of success
Although it may seem counterintuitive, many people secretly fear success. This is often called the imposter syndrome. It is a deep fear that success will place you into a light of increased scrutiny: you fear that as people observe you more, they will see that you are not worthy or a fraud. Besides the imposter theory, many people believe they aren’t good enough to handle success even if they achieved it, that it would be too much stress for them to deal with.
How to beat it
First, we must remind ourselves of other times in our lives when we got better at something or rose to the occasion. Vividly imagine a time from your past when you exceeded people’s expectations and you were praised heartily for it. Know that if you got better at something before, if you have ever improved at anything, then you are capable of doing it again. Start setting small goals and achieving them, as you do, you will build confidence that you are able to handle the success. Remember other times you have succeeded, and set future goals to build confidence.
- Lack of self belief and or self doubt
Lack of self belief and self doubt tell us that we arent good enough to get what we want. Maybe someone told us we were no good, maybe someone laughed at our dreams or told us we were stupid; whatever the reason for us not believing in ourselves, we must first learn to believe in ourselves before we can achieve success. Lack of self belief will often create a self fulfilling prophecy: if we believe we are no good, we won’t be motivated to get better.
How to beat it.
There are several ways to increase our confidence and belief in ourselves. As mentioned before, we can visualize times in the past when we were successful, and we can set small goals and achieve them. We should surround ourselves with positive people who believe in us, we should practice replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, we should read motivational books and watch motivational movies. The more we surround ourselves with stories of others becoming successful against adversity, the more we will believe thats its possible for us as well.
- Lack of willpower
Lack of willpower most often affects the person who knows they want something, but they lack the dedication to stick to the habits that will ensure their success. Lack of willpower usually means you often seek instant gratification rather than long term happiness, not necessarily because you seek it, but because its the habit you have formed.
How to beat it.
When willpower is your weakness you have to start implementing processes that will ensure you stay committed to the bigger picture. Daily reminders of what you want and what you need to do EVERY SINGLE DAY to achieve it are helpful. Commit yourself to setting goals and holding yourself accountable that they get achieved by a certain deadline. Don’t set your goals too high to start off, but begin with smaller goals and work your way up to huge success. Next, start a daily schedule and remind yourself each day what you need to do to be successful, then commit to forming new habits. For example: if you are trying to lose 10 lbs in 3 months, you have to commit to replacing your habit of getting fast food every day on your way home from work. Occasionally, we will deviate from our daily goals, but we must ensure that it is only an exception and not a habit. Set goals, make a daily schedule and action plan, hold yourself accountable, commit yourself fully to your dreams and goals, and remind yourself frequently why you are doing what you are doing.
- Lack of focus/vision
A lack of focus or vision can cause lack of willpower, inefficient actions, melancholy, and even huge mistakes to be made. It is highly important that we know where we want to end up so we have something to set our sights on, otherwise, we might end up at a dream that we never imagined at all.
How to beat it.
Think of a 20 year plan, what do you want to be like in 20 years? What do you want to have and own? Do you want a family? What kind of person (parent, spouse, co-worker) do you want to be? What accomplishments do you want to achieve? Where do you want to live? Focus deeply on these questions and really commit to getting solid answers. When you are finished, you should have a clear idea of who and what you want to become and once you know what you want to be and achieve, it will be much easier to start making the plans to get there.
Everyone makes excuses to save themselves from feeling negative emotions. The human mind often seeks to protect the ego at any cost. To accept that we could do something if we tried, would mean accepting responsibility for our own position in life, this would hurt our ego. In order to protect the ego, our mind weaves complex webs of lies and excuses that absolve us from the responsibility for our own lives. To accept that our life is a product of our choices and habits would hurt the ego, so it saves us pain to give up our lives to forces outside of our control.
How to beat it.
To beat excuse making we have to accept responsibility for everything that happens in life. Life is all about choices and results, sure many things happen to us that are out of our control, but we get to determine how we react…even to the worst events in our lives. If someone is overweight, most likely, it is because they have made certain food and lifestyle choices that made them that way: they might have inherited a slow metabolism, but their choices ultimately determine how they look. The next time you find yourself wanting to make an excuse to justify why you haven’t, or can’t do something choose to just own it instead. Say to yourself “ I haven’t achieved my dreams because I am lazy, or because I haven’t tried.” Just being honest with yourself that your lack of happiness is due to your own choices will set you free, when you look at life this way it doesn’t make sense to just stay where you are.
- Failure to commit to continual personal growth.
When we neglect investing time into making ourselves better, we seriously hinder our potential. If you want to be a pro basketball player, then you are going to have to practice: you can’t just dribble the ball all day long, you have to practice everything: three pointers, rebounds, ball handling, passing, and free throws. Of course you will naturally have strengths and weaknesses, but in order to truly be successful you need to be able to handle anything, you need to be able to be ready for whatever you need to do to reach your dreams.
How to beat it.
Realize the importance of growing as a person. Commit to doing at least one thing every single day that will make you better suited to achieve your dreams. We must learn to focus not only on chasing our dreams, but making ourselves better and more well rounded so we are more ready to capture opportunities as they appear. Seek to master any skill that you need to achieve your dreams. You can’t be an inspirational speaker no matter how strong your marketing skills are, your writing skills are, or your knowledge base is until you commit to learning the skill speaking in front of others.
- Not setting goals
Not setting goals is a sure fire way to ensure that you never reach your dreams. We need goals to motivate us, build our confidence, give us focus, and to ensure that we are on the right path in life. Goals are a vital part of success.
How to beat it.
Start out with your dream life, work down the line setting goals in intervals all the way to daily goals. For example: if your goal is to be an accomplished author and have several best sellers, you need to have a plan to get there. Set a life goal of publishing 6 best sellers, then a 10 year goal to have your first best seller, then a 5 year goal to be a published author, 1 year have your first book finished, 6 months have at least 150 pages completed, 3 months 75 pages completed. Then break down into monthly and weekly goals you need to hit in order to make your larger goals come true. 25 pages written each month, 7 pages each week, 1 page per day. Its easier to hit your goals if you stay consistent and do it every day.
- Being too attached to outcome (excessive focus on results and not how to get them)
This reason is the biggest lesson I have learned as of late, its that becoming too attached to the outcome of something can actually drive your dreams further away. Sometimes even when you work hard, commit to believing in yourself, and seek to improve, what you want can elude you if you can’t learn to let go of outcome and have faith. Imagine it like walking and holding a cup with water in it: if you can relax and walk normally it is easy to prevent spills, but the more you focus on keeping the water still, the more it begins to shake and spill. If we believe that everything rides on us making this dream come true, many times it will not.
How to beat it.
You must learn the art of doublethink. Doublethink is the ability to believe conflicting things simultaneously in order to get the results you want. So when you are working towards a dream you think about it, dream about it, desire it, and work towards it as if it were the entire purpose for your life, but when the moment comes you must learn to relax and have faith that everything will work out as it should. You can be happy with the fact that you did everything you needed to do to be prepared, and now all thats left is to see what happens. Even if something bad happens you will be ok, know the journey often teaches you much more than arriving at the destination.
10. Being problem focused instead of solution focused (pessimistic)
It is common for us to find the problems with trying to do something, but it is far less common- and more effective- to find solutions instead. Think of a time you wanted to do something: the first things you probably did was start listing off reasons why it wouldn’t work out, or reasons why it wasn’t a good idea. Only finding problems will cause inaction and failure to start.
How to beat it.
The next time you find a problem practice the art of finding a solution. Ask yourself “What can I do right now that will make this problem better?”, if you can’t see an answer just keep trying until you find one, it may take some time, but if you commit to only finding solutions instead of problems, eventually you will start seeing only solutions. It is a tough skill to master for most, but when you can look at obstacles and only see solutions, very few things are going to be able to stand in your way.
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