Dear Wantrepreneur: These 4 Toxic Thoughts Are Killing Your Success

Much of success in life and business is a matter of attitude and belief. And business success will never be reached if these 4 deadly thoughts and beliefs...

Years ago, in 1960, plastic surgeon Dr. Maxwell Maltz wrote a book called Psychocybernetics, based on 25 years of observing his patients post surgery. He fixed people’s faces and some of his patients had been in accidents and needed reconstructive surgery.

Others were unhappy with their looks and wanted a change. Maltz observed that a number of patients, after the surgery, still thought of themselves as “ugly” or not as attractive as they wanted to be, though before and after photos clearly showed they were.

He decided to study this phenomenon further, and the result was his book – a series of patient case studies. Maltz concluded that these patients doubted they could ever be more attractive and that they had talked themselves into that mindset. The negative self-talk and doubt “killed” their ability to feel successful and ready to go “greet the world.”


Getting rid of toxic thoughts

We all have doubts. When we first learned to ride a two-wheeler, we had doubts; when we studied for that horrible chemistry test, we had doubts. And if the doubts turned into negative conversations in our heads, then it took us longer to accomplish our desired goal. That’s just a fact, as studies show.

New entrepreneurs also have doubts – toxic thoughts that can stall and even destroy their dreams of having a successful business. Here are four toxic thoughts that can creep in and how to fight them.


More than half of all new businesses fail, so I probably will too.

Yes, that’s what the statistics tell you. And here is what happens when you hold that belief. You lose enthusiasm for your work. You procrastinate. You delay launching.


Photo: ©  Jenner, YFS Magazine
Photo: © Jenner, YFS Magazine

The “fix” for this is to remember instead that just a little less than half of new businesses are successful. You can be one of those. Then, you must surround yourself with people who are your cheerleaders, who encourage you, who are excited about your new business. Connect with other successful entrepreneurs who have made it and let them advise you. When you do this, you will meet entrepreneurship challenges with support and determination.


I’ve always worked for someone else. What makes me think I can be an entrepreneur?

If you continue to think about the benefits you had working for someone else (e.g. a steady paycheck, health insurance, a pension, etc.), then you will not place your thought where it should be – the reason you got out of that worker bee situation.

Refocus your thoughts on the benefits of being your own boss – flexibility, freedom to make decisions, a passion for the product or service you are offering. Remember that life as an employee was not pleasant for you – that is why you can and should be an entrepreneur.

Again, stay in the company of other entrepreneurs. Join a networking organization. When you have a challenge, seek help. They have all been where you are now, and some may still be. But they are members of this organization because they help each other.


I’m not a sales professional – I can’t market my product.

Well, you will be marketing more than your product or service. You will be marketing yourself too. And you have done this before.

When you got your first job, you sold yourself to that employer. When you convinced your parents that you were a good enough driver to drive at night, you sold them on your idea. You have sold all of your life. While you may not have formal sales training (and you can get that training, even online in your spare time), your enthusiasm and your passion are the two most important sales tools that you have.


Photo: © vadymvdrobot, YFS Magazine
Photo: © vadymvdrobot, YFS Magazine

Every time you make a sales call, or produce content that brings traffic to your website, you will get a little better at this sales thing. Will you make some common mistakes that all newbies in sales make? Of course you will, but if you keep your passion, you’ll learn, and you’ll get better.


I don’t know how to be a leader, so how can I employ people and lead them?

Join the club. Most entrepreneurs are not natural leaders either. They work at it, though, as they begin to employ others. Think of it this way. Mark Zuckerberg had no training in leadership; nor did Bill Gates. They learned along the way and developed their own styles which work for them.

You can read all about leadership and leadership styles. But you will have to find your own. Two important things will take you far – develop goals and solve problems collectively with your team, so that they all buy in; and have empathy – be able to put yourself in the shoes of those you hire. When employees believe you care, they will do amazing things for you.


Much of success in life and work is a matter of attitude and belief. And business success will never be reached if these 4 deadly thoughts and beliefs are taking up space in an entrepreneur’s head. Those who begin with great passion, keep that passion alive, get help and advice when they need it, and stay in the company of other successful entrepreneurs, have a much better and easier path.


This article has been edited and condensed.

Rick Riddle is a successful blogger whose articles aim to help readers with self-development, personal finance and content management. Learn why discipline is important and how self-sufficiency can help you in reaching your goals. Connect with @rickrddl on Twitter



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