4 Habits That Are Keeping You From Finding the Courage to Succeed
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.”
This quote by Henry Ford is one of my favorites. I love using this thought process for my goals and thinking about what I want to achieve. Because ultimately, if we’re afraid of something, that fear will eventually turn into our reality.
Are you afraid of success?
I ask this because research has shown that our fear of success stems from our self-confidence. We are more afraid of the consequences of success than succeeding. Let me explain.
Judgment, jealousy, and criticism are all parts of growth that we have to face. We’re social creatures who strive for acceptance, being liked, and welcomed. We don’t want to sabotage our chances of being supported because someone thinks we’re “better than” someone else.
If we’re afraid of success, we’re intimidated by how we’re expected to act and behave. If we’re seeking approval from everyone around us, we can’t focus on what matters the most, which is how we feel.
The key is to build our courage so we can become who we want to be, free of the burden of judgment and rejection. And it starts with creating a mindset where we prepare ourselves for success.
1. Stop focusing on what you don’t have.
When we have a scarcity mindset, we mainly focus on what we don’t have. If we tell ourselves that we don’t have time, money, energy, or motivation, then we’ll believe it, too.
Research has shown that our thought affects our reality. Ever heard of the placebo effect? It’s when we trick our minds into believing that fake medicine can improve our health. And it works, too. This is what Harvard Professor Ted Kaptchuk says:
“The placebo effect is more than positive thinking — believing a treatment or procedure will work. It’s about creating a stronger connection between the brain and body and how they work together.”
We can alter our sense of belonging and overall well-being with the help of our thoughts, just like we can improve our health. If we believe that we don’t belong somewhere, we will look for signs that we’re right.
As soon as we misunderstand someone, or misinterpret a situation, we will take any sign as proof that we’re right — that we don’t belong there.
Our reality changes based on what we think. But we rarely think about how we can use our thoughts for good. If we can convince ourselves of negative outcomes using our thoughts, why can’t we do the same for positivity?
“The most proximate determinant of how people behave is how they understand things, and you can change that.”
— Gregory Walton
We can convince ourselves to think of positive outcomes by changing the narrative. When we’re stuck in the past and view all obstacles as an opportunity for us to fail, we’re preparing ourselves to make mistakes again in the future.
If instead, we change our thoughts to be more supportive, we can handle the challenges that come our way, just by viewing ourselves and our setbacks in a different light.
The solution is to acknowledge how we feel, and change our thoughts from “I will fail.” to “I’m nervous about failing, but I know I can overcome every obstacle”.
“The only thing that stands between you and your dream is the will to try and the belief that it is actually possible.”
― Joel Brown
2. Don’t leave your life up to chance.
Planning requires having an idea for the future and having goals to work towards. If we don’t have a plan, then we have no goals. Without goals, how do we know where we’re going?
Goals give us motivation and higher self-esteem. But if we don’t focus on our strengths, values, and the results, we risk setting goals that are too far out of reach, or too achievable.
It all comes down to our understanding of what we’re capable of. And if we don’t have a plan, we risk giving ourselves goals that are way out of proportion to what we can and want to achieve.
Visualization is a great tool that helps us focus on the bigger picture. When we have our ideal outcome in mind, we can break it up into smaller, more manageable goals.
A study has shown that if we work towards our goals while also visualizing the perfect outcome, we can increase our chances of success.
3. Stop procrastinating and putting things off.
We often sit down, think about our dreams and say to ourselves, “That would be great, but now is not the right time”. This isn’t us waiting for the best opportunity, it’s a nasty habit of procrastination.
Research has shown that the real reason we procrastinate is to avoid unpleasant emotions. Our choice comes down to how we feel regarding the options. If we’re nervous, anxious, or stressed, we’ll do our best to avoid the cause of those emotions.
But procrastination is just a habit, and we need to break it. Here are three simple steps that will help us stop procrastinating.
- Divide each goal into small, manageable tasks.
- Use a calendar to schedule your time instead of using a to-do list.
- Reward yourself for every accomplishment, big or small, and celebrate every time you step in the right direction.
4. Never speak negatively about yourself.
We’re all familiar with the quotes that tell us to surround ourselves with positive people. But no matter how hard we try, we will always have negative influences around us.
Good, supportive people who only want the best for us are hard to come by. So if we don’t have our own best interest at heart, how can we expect others to do so?
We have to make sure our mind is on the same page as our goals. We have to support ourselves, believe in ourselves, and ditch the negative self-talk. We need to create a habit of being our own biggest supporters, no matter what.
The reality is that many people don’t have supportive influences around them, which is crucial to find the motivation to succeed. In the end, it all comes down to how we treat ourselves, our thought patterns, and figuring out where we want to go.
In short, these are the habits we need to break if we want to gain the courage to succeed:
- Focusing on what we don’t have and instead focus on what we can have.
- Letting our past experiences decide what we can achieve in the future.
- Leaving our life up to chance and use visualization to help us acknowledge and achieve our goals.
- Waiting for the ‘perfect time’ and instead, work on breaking the habit of procrastination.
- Talking negatively to and about ourselves and instead, making sure that we are our own biggest supporters.
But we can’t be too hard on ourselves. Habits are hard to break, so we need to be reasonable when we make big changes in our lives and celebrate the small victories.
The worst habit is to not believe in ourselves. When we don’t, we will feel like giving up on the first problem we face.
If we believe that we will fail, we’re creating that reality for ourselves, and we might not go after our dreams because of it. If we are afraid of making mistakes, then we’re standing in our way of success.
So I guess the real question is, are you afraid of failing?