Most people will tell you their own stories and give you unsolicited advice when you speak about your plans for the future but mostly, those stories are limited to only a small few who actually reached SOME FORM of success.
So why is success still the most commonly talked about the topic yet not a lot of people can reach?
It’s actually pretty simple when you look at success not as a plan but as a feeling or a state of mind and heart. What do we mean by that? Well, success is a mindset you can have for yourself, you can plan for the future but is your fear actually going to stop you from moving forward?
IT WILL CERTAINLY TRY.
Here is why you shouldn’t let it.
There is not a point in your life in which you can be 100% sure you have reached success. That is because people are bound to want more once we reach something, so you will always seek to continue, to reach more.
Some call it greed others call it drive. Bottom line: it doesn’t really matter what the name of it is, but if you stick by certain rigid ¨rules¨ and not change a thing, we can almost positively confirm that you will not reach success time after time.
Well, as well as you have that hunger inside of your gut, heart or even thoughts, if you do not adapt to certain situations and turn your focus to deal with the issues along the road, you will not be able to limber up sort of say, to fit in smaller windows of opportunity to reach what you set for yourself. And also, along the road if your mindset had an idea of what you wanted to reach and how, you are forgetting one crucial variable and that is: the little pebbles along the road. So by sticking to the same patterns you will not see them and you will simply fall and stumble upon every obstacle you come across of. After which you will call it bad luck. Think again.
Nobody is saying think 50 steps ahead, but I am letting you know that mistakes and bumps in the road are likely to happen and you should learn how to use them in your advantage. The bad part is: most of the people stumble and fall upon the first few mistakes and tries, and they give up by negatively whining about whose fault was it, while others give up because of fear.
So who is really to blame when this happens?
This brings me to the famous question of what is our first instinct when you are faced with a hard decision and a long way ahead?
Truth be told, our first instinct is to question everything we did until now and question every bit of ourselves and find an excuse to why it is better if we take an easier way out than to fight and put more and more effort into what we wanted to achieve.
So we use the lines like:
- ¨I’m not ready for this anyway.¨,
- ¨I’ll do it tomorrow.¨,
- ¨It wasn’t right for me.¨,
- ¨Someone else would do it better anyway.¨ etc.
It’s simply easier that way, so don’t be too hard on yourself. You tried your best, right?
As you may know already, our brain is like a canvas for a painter. It is forever to be filled with new images and new memories, new acquired skills and ideas. Gestalt therapists have this idea of homeostasis and the always flowing energy that is in constant need of balance. Sadly that balance isn’t quite possible to achieve and maintain since we are in constant motion and so is our brain. It gains new pathways and new connections that help us to better adapt.
Specifically, that new knowledge is to be used over and over again so that it transfers from a short-term memory to the long-term. That is only possible if we acquire an idea or think of an idea and then invest our time and commitment a.k.a. drive. Call it however you want but without nourishment, you won’t see progress.
Here’s an example:
Which will grow more?
- A flower you bought and put in a dark room and forget to water it?
- A flower which you put where it has a lot of light and oxygen and you water it whenever it needs to be replenished and you take care of the leaves, you take off those who have passed their ¨expiration date¨?
It’s About the Effort!
The right answer, I believe you already know. So why would your plans, dreams, and ideas be any different? You simply, have to put in the effort if you expect yourself to have any potential to reach success.
Now, let’s be clear again, success isn’t a place or time you can get to and say I’m here. The cliché is: it is not about the destination, it is about the journey.
If I’m being honest with you, there were moments where I felt I would never get to feel like I succeeded in something but I wasn’t going to let that stop me just because it got hard. I knew I wasn’t going to be the same person entering this journey as when I will be when I finished it. And that was perfectly okay. For me, the environment, of course, had advice to give, the mean looks and sentences like:
When my real answer should have been:
¨Thanks! I am a grown adult, of course, I will change.¨
But instead of feeling proud, people simply feel guilt, as they owed something to the world.
That brings me to the next point. The success you are going after is your own, so there will be people who say mean things or don’t understand it, but don’t forget who you are doing all that extreme mountain climbing to the top of the Everest. Because, let’s be clear, it is how it feels. Sometimes the oxygen is low, other times you are lightheaded, but at the end of it all, the view is amazing”.
The Magic Trick
People look to famous people thinking they just magically popped in that place and became an overnight sensation, but rarely does someone look behind the curtains and acknowledge all the hard work they had to put in. Still even knowing all that people just give up sometimes! Again, using all the excuses they could find just because more hard work is acquired.
But hey, I don’t judge I did the same. Until I saw that I became an observer of other people’s success and saw how happy they were living their plans and ideas so I gave myself a nudge. And yes, stopped talking the talk and started walking the walk. Today I’m pretty happy about my progress, I still have a long way to go, but at least, I’m proud of each step I take.
And hey, don’t get me wrong there are still pebbles in the road that seem like giant mountain rocks, but what is the alternative? Long pauses in the desert or a smooth sail while watching the sunset? Of course all those are metaphors, but they do picture how it is to stop in the middle of your plans just because you want a shortcut to your dreams. Well, wake up. There isn’t any.
So to answer the title of this post, yes, we are very much self-sabotaging ourselves when we are starting to daydream. Sometimes we don’t even get to walk a mile to see how we feel, we cut every hope in the root. Although, that idea had fire, that dream had a spark, so it won’t really go away, we will just feel envy and jealousy of others.
Tips and tricks to help you stay on the success train
- Accept it will never be easy.
How could it be? It is something you are bringing all your energy to, all your effort, your focus, your will. So just get along with the programme. Because let’s face it: the world will be jealous of your triumph, so they will make it harder for you. The bumps in the road will seem bigger, deeper. It will seem insolvable. You will start to feel like it is a catastrophe. It’s not.
It is worth the risk you want to put in. So don’t give up. Once you do accept it will be a long, hard, sometimes lonely and rainy day, you will learn and love to dance in the rain and all the black clouds won’t matter. You will feel more motivated because guess what? You will stop complaining and actually use your energy to something productive which will lead to your short-term plans being complete and successful. Yay!
- Create the environment in which you work best.
There is really no reason to work in unhealthy, non-motivating environment that others put you up to. This is your road, so find the one you work best at and the one which shows you motivational nudges along the way.
It doesn’t matter if it is a pre-work ritual, we all have it. For some, it is their favorite pair of slippers and a freshly brewed coffee. For others, it is soft instrumental music and scented candles. It really doesn’t matter. It is up to you to find where you feel most comfortable and most like yourself to you can self-inspire instead of self-sabotage. So think…
What inspires you?
- Push through the fear.
Fear. I truly did hate that word. To me it was a weakness. So I learned that what mattered to me was not to ignore it, but to truly embrace it. And yes, I know it is a cliché people say but think about it: You feel fear-you give up. Such an inspirational story?!
On the other hand, you have people you feel fear and yet they continue in spite of it. That not only makes them stronger but it gives them a special kind of a nudge to continue, to want to have more hunger, to do it better. It gives all your dreams more meaning because you know how hard was to walk through the fear and yet, for yourself you did that!
Now that’s inspiring!
- Commit to your desires.
By making a plan that includes exact steps will not only not help you walk the walk, it will have the opposite effect. Now, please, focus. I am not saying don’t have a plan. I am saying don’t be so rigid with it. You can’t plan every step of the way, something will have to be improvisation. Because the road you will walk to, if you want it to take you somewhere special, it will be the road you never walked before.
By knowing that, you can understand that you will not know all the variables and the situations you can find yourself in. Which is okay, it will make it an adventure worth talking about. Like fighting your own fear, it will give your story more meaning.
Now that you know the first four, you don’t have an excuse to why you aren’t committed to your plan. Because you will have to work hard on it, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. But look at it like this: you will have set a plan for yourself, you will have an endpoint, but along the road you will have changed to better, you will be wiser, smarter, more experienced. And even if the road changes you will be able to adapt and work towards your plan even so.
- Adapt and continue.
Adapting to a newly found environment is what human race has done since the beginning of time. So don’t even try to say you can’t. Treat yourself better than to lie to yourself. Be honest and think if you really want it or if you are finding an excuse because it is too hard.
Mistakes will also happen often. Learn from them. That is just trial and error. Nobody got it right from the first try, so don’t expect too much of yourself. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You will adapt, learn, know better and succeed.
Once you do reach your goal, you will feel proud. I promise.
- Congratulate yourself.
We are often too hard on ourselves when we make a mistake, yet when we succeed and achieve something big, we don’t even take the time to celebrate ourselves. We don’t take a second to pat ourselves on the back and say: ¨Congrads! I knew I could do it.¨ Why? Well because success is expected, but failure is an embarrassment. So we are our own worst critics. Don’t be that person.
You did well! So take the time to be proud of yourself! After all, there are a lot of people who gave up, you didn’t! Way to go!