Before you read any further, pause and take a breath. This is important and requires your total focus. Commit to be 100% honest with yourself as you answer the following question…
Are you frustrated or unhappy with your level of success in life? Whether it be your career, relationship, body, mind, achievements, or anything else, there’s a high likelihood that the answer to the above question is unfortunately “yes.” But why is this the case? Why do so many of us fail to achieve what we set out to accomplish? Why do our dreams and goals slowly get smaller and smaller as we get older?
There may be a million reasons you can think of to explain this, but here are a few things that aren’t true: it’s not because you’re not smart, clever, strong, talented, charismatic, or unique enough. In fact, those characteristics are pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things. The reality is that the answer can be boiled down into one simple statement:
You haven’t been thinking BIG enough. Plain and simple.
In “The Magic of Thinking Big,” David J. Schwartz explains that the common thread between the rare few who accomplish more things, earn more money, and get more satisfaction and fulfillment out of any aspect of life isn’t a secret reserved for the elite, and it isn’t something you have to be born with. These high achievers have created a belief system that has cultivated their success, and they haven’t sold themselves short by not thinking BIG enough.
So why isn’t everyone thinking big and accomplishing amazing things? Below are a few of the most common reasons why, along with simple strategies to eliminate these roadblocks from your life.
- You focus too much on failure rather than success.
As you’ve probably heard many times, we are truly the sum total of our thoughts. And if you’re constantly telling yourself “I probably won’t get the promotion,” or “it’s going to be too hard to lose the weight,” you’re actually programming your brain to turn those thoughts into reality. The good news is that the solution to this particular problem is simply a matter of changing your vocabulary. Rather than focusing on the negatives or challenges in any situation, tell yourself “I’m going to win,” or “I can do this.” It may seem simple, but this one shift in language is incredibly powerful.
- You have a terrible case of “excusitis.”
Most of us use excuses as shields to protect ourselves from both the fear of failure (good thing we just corrected that) and the fact that we just don’t want to put in the work. Some common excuses include:
- “I’m not healthy enough.” Guess what? Everybody has something wrong with their health, but dwelling on it is surely not a way to improve your health. If you really focus on being grateful for the positive aspects of your state of health and how you can continue to improve it, every cell in your body will start to work in your favor. The mind might actually be the most powerful tool to improve your physical state.
- “I’m not smart enough.” Most of us underestimate our own intelligence while simultaneously overestimating the intelligence of others. Many of the most successful or fulfilled people in the world aren’t necessarily the smartest, and many of the smartest people have fallen well short of their goals. Focusing on maximizing what you can do with your strengths is key. Attitude always trumps intelligence.
- “I’m just not lucky.” The great philosopher Seneca said “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” The reality is that luck is simply a matter of perspective. Those that seem to attract good things are the people that have shifted their perspectives towards success and positivity..
- You’re not cultivating confidence in yourself.
Quite possibly, the biggest reason why most of us sell ourselves short is a lack of confidence. We may think we’re sure of ourselves, but the reality is that most of us are paralyzed by fear and doubt. To cultivate a level of confidence that is impossible to tear down, you must actively eliminate sources of doubt in yourself while maintaining inner humility. Affirmations are great and can be very valuable, but you need to take the momentum that affirmations create and put them into practice in the real world. In other words, get addicted to taking ACTION and avoid over thinking things. Here are some beneficial strategies to implement to help you to follow through and take action:
- Introduce yourself to more people, focusing on making better eye contact. Even if this isn’t a natural thing for you, you’ll become more comfortable with it the more you practice. Getting over the initial hump may be difficult, especially if you’re on the shy side, but having confidence around others is most certainly an acquired skill that you’ll get better at with time. Sign up for networking events, say “yes” to more meetings, and even say hi to people you pass on the street. Your confidence level will slowly but surely start to rise.
- Act the part. This involves much more than “dressing for success.” Creating the person that you want to be includes paying attention to the foods you put in your body, the information you feed your brain, and the habits you implement on a daily basis. Would someone at the level of success in the field you’d like to be in stay up late partying on the weekends, or would they be putting in work to improve their skill set? Would a high-level achiever sit around playing video games rather than maximizing their productivity?
- Focus on service first. This is quite possibly the most important key to lasting success. Always give more to others than they expect to receive, and the rest will take care of itself.
You can always do better, and you can always think bigger. It’s time to stop thinking about why you can’t achieve what you want, because if you continue looking for reasons why you might fail, you’re going to find them. Utilizing the tactics above to shift your mindset will help you transform your life and forge a path towards not only achieving your goals, but making the kind of impact in the world that can positively affect the lives of everyone you touch.