How to Conquer What Is Holding You Back
The sky is not the limit. You are.
“The deeper I go into myself, the more I realize that I am my own enemy.” — Floriano Martins
Freedom is overrated. If it were so important, what do people choose to keep their dreams captive?
We all want to be free but are unable to be free.
Prison inmates confront fear and anxiety upon release. They can’t handle being free. Most ex-convicts re-offend deliberately because they can’t cope with their freedom.
That’s the paradox that’s holding you back.
We are so used to live in our comfort zone, that being imprisoned feels safer. Fear, routine, procrastination, busyness, comparing to others, and self-doubt, — that’s why you are keeping what you love behind bars.
The sky is not the limit; you are. Your life is boundless, and so are your possibilities. However, you must first conquer what’s holding you back: your mind.
Napoleon Hill said: “If you don’t conquer self, you will be conquered by self.” Your most significant challenge lies within you. Not at the gym or work.
Are you ready to explore your inner-self?
Conquer Your Mind
“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
You create your own suffering. According to science, most of our problems are not caused by reality, but by our perceptions. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) helps people take ownership and accept their role in ‘creating’ their own suffering. As American Psychologist Albert Ellis says: “People don’t just get upset. They contribute to their upsetness.”
It is not what happens that holds you back, but your judgmental beliefs about it.
See what happens when you reframe your thoughts.
1. Don’t try to be happy if you want to be truly happy
Your pursuit of happiness can quickly turn into an obsession. The more you chase it, the less you will enjoy it. We expect happiness to happen to us, rather than develop appreciation.
Consciously or not, we all desire and fear happiness at the same time. Train your mind to value what you have rather than feeling frustrated because of what you don’t.
Happiness is a by-product, not a goal. Start by appreciating small chores. Enjoying something is the path towards loving it in the long run.
2. Stop blaming others
What others do is on them. How you react is on you. No one out there will let you out of your (perceived) misery. Stop waiting for someone to fix your problems. It’s up to you.
Other people can influence how you live, only if you let them. Being in charge of your life is your responsibility.
Jim Carrey said: “The decisions we make at this moment are based on either love or fear. So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality.”
When you stop blaming, you start owning your life’s course.
3. Adapt, as water does
Fighting what you can’t manage or what didn’t go your way, will only get you stuck. Adapting to reality doesn’t mean giving up your dreams. On the contrary, when you stop fighting lost battles you can focus your energy on what really matters.
Learn to be fluid and adaptive as water.
Lao Tzu said: “Water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.”
4. Stop overthinking and jump
Take the leap. Move into action.
There’s no worse outcome than being paralyzed. No one has the answers to what’s right. You’ll learn as you go. The more you do something, the better you become at it. Mastery requires practice. Doing is how you get there.
Jumping into action is easy once you stop thinking about the consequences. If babies could think, they’d never learn to walk.
Learn to trust your second brain, your gut. Said Shelley Levit: “It’s good to have a bright, analytical brain, but at the end of the day, the stomach is the smartest organ in the body.”
5. Learn to live with your thoughts, not through them
Your thoughts distort your perspective. Get rid of that lens.
Taming the negative wolf, not killing it — that’s how you neutralize your thoughts from causing you pain and suffering. Don’t let your thinking stop you from doing what you love.
“You create your thoughts. Your thoughts create your intentions. And your intentions create your reality.” — Wayne Dyer
Your mind is what’s holding you back. It’s time for your dreams to take over.
Your Purpose In Life Will Set You Free
“When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.”
― Ralph Ellison
Live the way you want to be remembered. That’s how you stop being afraid of dying. When you let your passion, not your fears, drive you.
Coco Chanel said: “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” Finding your purpose is not that hard; sticking to it, is. The road is full of opinionated companions who will tell what you should do with your life.
Feedback is an unexpected gift, as I wrote here. But use other’s people opinions as a mirror for you to reflect upon, not as instructions to follow blindly.
Confronting your fears is how you win the battle. Jim Morrison said: “Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.”
When you know what you want, it’s easier to stay on track.
Discovering who you are will set you free. Or as Tracy Aston said: “When I discover who I might become I’ll be free, because our potential is unknown until we explore it.”
We live in a culture of distractions. However, your phone is not the only thing getting in your way. Other people’s idealized stories are the most dangerous interference: they will make you doubt who you are. Moreover, they will try to collapse your dreams like a house of cards.
“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”
― Virginia Woolf
A clear purpose determines what you say yes to. And, most importantly, when to say ‘no’.
Stop looking outside. Don’t expect others to tell you how to achieve your dreams. The answer is you. Change happens from within.
Find Your Purpose
“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it”
― Gautama Buddha
Your purpose is your ‘why’; it is the North Star that helps you focus on the big picture. Your dreams deserve a place in the infinite sky.
Your life needs a lighthouse. Your purpose guides your way but also keeps you safe when you are navigating through rough waters.
Don’t let your purpose hold you back: Start small. Focus on what you can impact; not everyone will change the entire world. Don’t get stuck in finding the perfect one. Not everyone is meant to be Gandhi.
Fall in love as you walk the walk: What comes first? Passion or action? I’d say both. Enjoying the journey will make you fall in love with what you do. You can course correct as you make progress. However, don’t expect to love something until you become good at it first.
Explore beyond your personal bubble: Leo Babauta recommends to put our self-centered perspective aside and realize that the world doesn’t revolve around us. By understanding other people’s needs, you might find your purpose in helping others. Or learn to discriminate what really matters in life from what’s superficial.
Your purpose doesn’t need to be lofty but needs to be selfless. Pursuing your purpose is a lifetime job. As Edgar Allan Poe said: “The best things in life make you sweaty.” A purpose-driven life takes time and effort.
Here’s an exercise I use at many of our workshops to help people reconnect with their life’s purpose: write your own obituary. Take a stab at it. And start living your life the way you want to be remembered.
Go on. Make It Happen.
“It’s only after you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow, and transform.” ― Roy T. Bennett
Your dreams depend on you more than on anything (or anyone) else.
Sure you don’t control most of the events. But you can conquer your mind. That’s the most important thing you can do. Overcome the thoughts and emotions that are holding you back.
You are in charge, no more excuses.
Let your purpose keep you on track and steer your dreams away from the rocks and troubled waters.
“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” ― Zig Ziglar
Dream big. But start small.
When you show up, you are giving room for your dreams.
When you stand up after life knocks you down, you strengthen your convictions.
When you eliminate distractions, you gain focus.
What you do with your mind is what’s holding you back. The sky is not the limit. Your possibilities are infinite.
Your dreams depend on you. Set yourself free.
Upgrade Your Life
Get my Free eBook “Stretch Your Mind”: http://bit.ly/2EOOyQP A collection of exercises to help you grow beyond your comfort zone. One stretch at a time.