Self-doubt and limiting beliefs can be intimidating dream killers. Many people go to their graves with regrets, “what ifs” and “if onlys”, never able to shake their own self-imposed limitations. But what are these oppressive thoughts, really?
There were probably times in your life when you really put yourself out there. You gathered all your gumption and you seized an opportunity. But it didn’t go well. In fact, as far as you’re concerned, it was an abysmal failure. Maybe you swore you’d never try it again. I know, I’ve been there a time or two.
Although, after I finish thumbing through my long catalog of excuses, toxic people and unfortunate events, I have to ask myself: Why do so many other people go through these same things and yet seem to rise above it all and go on to do amazing things?
Somewhere along the line they overcame self-doubt and limiting beliefs. So, here’s a look at how you, too, can overcome yours:
Use lessons of failure to build credibility.
All the great stories of people who achieved success are stories littered with adversity and failure. At least those are the stories we care to hear. They’re more credible. Those greats will often tell you that they wouldn’t change a thing. If we can learn anything from the successes of others, we can learn that failures of the past, difficult people, and unfortunate events can refine and eventually define the greatness in us.
Your confidence has the capacity to improve through negative experiences and failures. It sharpens you, if you let it. In fact, your personal edge — like anyone else’s — has the ability to get edgier. Except rarely does this happen without resistance and without failure.
Use pain as motivation.
Everyone has pain to a greater or lesser degree. If it’s to a lesser degree now, it’ll be to a greater degree someday. Is the pain of staying the same harsher than the fear of stepping out into the fearful world of change? The ones who succeed are determined to face their challenges.
Sure, you can wallow in self-doubt, stay stuck, and schedule your epic funeral on Mt. Regret. It’s simply what we choose to do with our pain. It can keep us down or lift us up.
Win the mind game.
Life is lived in the mind. Can you dissociate a single external circumstance from how you process it in your head? Every image on TV, every word said or seen in print (like these words) are processed in the domain of your mind. Well, guess what.
Self-doubt and limiting beliefs are also products of your mind and they are typically just unfounded thoughts. They have no more credibility than any other illusion. We talk of people who have illusions of grandeur. Well you can have illusions of limitations too. At the end of the day they’re just illusions. It’s all a mind game. The simple point here is that success is a thought … a decision that is first made in your mind.
It really does come down to how we think. We really can train our minds to think in more productive ways. Sure, we’ve all failed in the past, but those stories should be funny by now. Let them build your credibility. Let past pain motivate you to amazing exploits.
One last thing. These are things we need to remind of ourselves daily. Self-doubt is relentless. Typically, those who refuse to give into self-doubt have to discipline their minds to think productively. It may very well be that your competition is only winning to the extent that they’re winning at the mind game. Let there be no doubt about it: You can too.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Mark Jay Scott is the founder of Love Your Edge and BizzBuzzLocal.com. Mark has been a writer and speaker for nearly 20 years, formerly as a radio personality for a major market FM station in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan region where he produced and hosted two weekly programs, Real Life Matters and Essential Radio; and excelled in copywriting and voiceover production for a wide variety of commercial advertisers. Mark loves to help people succeed by motivating them and showing them simple and practical ways to love and keep their productive edge in life and business. Connect with @markjayscott on Twitter.
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