It's easy to look at others and figure out what's keeping them from achieving their goals. It's a whole other thing to take an objective look at our own thoughts & actions and recognize when we might be our own worst enemy on the path to success. Here are 5 common mindsets that might be holding you back from what you are more than capable of achieving.
1. You NEED to be told what to do
This may seem counter-intuitive at first. Have you ever wondered why self-help books rarely change peoples lives? It's not because the information is bad, even though much of it may be filler text. It's because fundamentally most humans are predisposed to follow orders. Most of us need a set of instructions and a dangling carrot to get anything done.
Self-help authors know this. They know that in order to truly achieve your own definition of success you must learn to do things on your own, your way. It's about switching your mindset from follower to leader. If all of these self-help gurus acknowledged that fact, they wouldn't be able to sell copies of their follow-up books. When people believe they just haven't found the right set of instructions they will continually seek more instructions, more "hacks", more obedience. It's much easier than thinking for ourselves.
Accept that no one will be able to tell you exactly how to live your ideal life, they can only offer inspiration. Only then will you stop looking for instructions and start taking action. You will encounter many setbacks along the way. Learn from each and keep moving forward.
2. You don't take deadlines seriously
Working to deadlines is not fun. Handing in that assignment at school. Getting that project finished at work. Making sure the kids get to school on time. These are deadlines imposed on us by others. But what about when there is no one to impose those deadlines on us? What about when you're trying to make it on your own. You know you can do it, it just takes discipline. If it takes you 3 days to do something you could have completed in a day, then it will take you 3 years to achieve a goal that should only take you 1 year. Most people would quit before 3 years.....
This is the silent killer of dreams. Procrastination, laziness, or even just working at a comfortable pace might be slowing you down to the point where you walk away for lack of accomplishment. Learn to make your own deadlines and stick to them no matter what. Start with easy deadlines if you have to and keep shortening them until you achieve a constant sense of urgency.
3. You exaggerate risk
We all do it. We paint a picture of the worst possible outcomes in our minds and exaggerate the chances of them happening. It's our way of protecting us from failure. When we learn to take a step back and view risk in an objective manner we can accept that we will fail from time to time. As Liz Gilbert eloquently puts it, "everything you want in life comes with a shit sandwich". And guess what, the shit sandwich is never as bad as we built it up to be in our minds! Often taking the safe option and avoiding that shit sandwich in the present holds us back from success in the future. Doesn't that mean the safe option is actually the risky option? I think so....
4. You're afraid to ask
We're too afraid (or too proud) to ask for help or advice. If you know someone who is successful doing something you want to be doing, ask them for advice. It's free and most people are happy to help out someone who is in the same position they once were. Sometimes the best connections come from putting yourself out there and admitting you don't know it all.
5. You always have a reason for not taking action
It will be much easier tomorrow. I'm too young. I just have to learn some more stuff. Do you recite similar lines to yourself? A favorite of mine used to be the "perfectionist" reason (cough, excuse) which, when I was being honest with myself, was really just the fear of failure wrapped in a self-appreciating compliment. A perfect outcome is so elusive that it can become a convenient excuse for anyone looking to get out of doing something. We need to learn to recognize when we're hiding behind excuses and break down the narratives that we have so convincingly assured ourselves of.