5 Mental Blocks And Myths That Keep You From Excellence

Psychological obstacles could be holding you back in life in business. Here’s a look at five mental blocks you can break-free from, starting today.

The psychology of success has been studied extensively. It’s not uncommon for people to become trapped by their own thinking. Thankfully, there are practical solutions to help achievers overcome mental blocks that can (and do) keep most people from realizing their full potential and reaching new levels of excellence.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) training, mentorship, regular physical activity and healthy lifestyle choices are just a few of the proven tactics that help people overcome self-limiting beliefs and tap into infinite potential.

Psychological obstacles could be holding you back in life in business. Here’s a look at five mental blocks you can break-free from, starting today:


  1. You doubt yourself.

    Self-doubt is anxiousness about your ability to cope that has a negative motivational effect and thereby reduces your ability to process information. Self limiting beliefs can be overcome with simple techniques such as identifying people who break down your self-esteem.

    For example, when you surround yourself by people who are positive and encourage you, you will have more mental energy to focus on excellence. It’s important to first pinpoint if you are harboring self-limiting beliefs about your abilities.

    Next, you can take action to get the training you need to accomplish your goals. Whether it is a certification, a business training course or a new sales goal, you can seek the knowledge you lack once you candidly clarify why you feel unqualified.

  2. You don’t believe your goals are achievable.

    A study cited in The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology suggests that avoidance motivation is less likely to bring you success than promotional thinking. In layman’s terms this means people that believe they are taking steps towards an achievable goal are more likely to succeed than people taking steps to avoid an undesirable outcome.

    For example, someone who decides to drive two hours one way for a networking event is more likely to make essential connections than someone who focuses on the fact that the traffic will be heavy, the freeway is dangerous and the gas money might not be worth the trip. It’s important to take risks and remain focused on potential positive outcomes.

  3. You believe poor educational performance predicts a lousy career.

    When you think of yourself in terms of stereotypes, whether you associate with a certain socioeconomic class or had a less than desirable reputation in your past, anything people have said about you can shape your beliefs about your own success. It is also known as the Pygmalion Effect: what one person expects of another can come to serve as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    To combat this, actively focus on your positive traits by making a list of them and brainstorm a list of talents and skills that enable you to create unique value. Remember Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were all college dropouts. Just because you have a different learning style and educational background doesn’t mean you won’t succeed.

  4. You think competitors are better than you.

    When you compare yourself to others in a negative light you reinforce negative beliefs about your own potential. Instead of fawning over the competition find a role model or mentor to look up to and model your business based on their insights and accomplishments.

  5. You think a lack of focus is out of your control.

    Studies suggest people can improve their concentration and overall focus over time. Focus is important because, “how you pay attention will either help or hurt you on day-to-day basis. This is because attention plays a critical role in what you think, feel, remember, and how you act. It affects your motivation and ability to hit your goals and in particular, goals that are meaningful to you. Attention affects the accuracy of your decisions and how they snowball into purposeful living. It will clarify who you are and the person you want to be and help you build the scaffold to get there.” (Psychology Today)

    Reading instead of watching TV develops a wide-range of cognitive abilities; contributing to concentration levels. Meanwhile a healthy lifestyle can positively impact your ability to focus. Gluten, refined sugar and excessive caffeine reduce your ability to focus. Physical activity is also a cognitive booster, which will help you retain information and think more clearly.


This article has been edited and condensed.

Sarah Williams is a lifestyle and personal development writer who believes happiness is a combination of a peaceful mind, self-discipline, and appreciating every day—just the way it is. You can read her articles at her blog Wingman Magazine. Connect with @SarahAtWingman on Twitter.


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