Think about the cumulative effect of all the negative things you’ve told yourself about yourself. Even for relatively happy, normal, well-adjusted people, it’s almost impossible to turn off that voice that tells you you’re not good enough.
The irony of it? We think about ourselves, constantly, all the time, but when it comes to using that self-obsession to make our lives better, the effectiveness of our minds suddenly drops.
We all want to be successful. Sure, that definition changes depending on who you ask. Yes, most of us have had successes in our lives and live pretty good lives, too. But few of us feel like we’ve maxed out our potential and really gave it our all at something we cared about.
Deep down, many of us feel unworthy of our dreams.
Do you feel this way? I know parts of me did when I was trying to accomplish my goal of writing to share my thoughts and convictions.
You think to yourself, “Who the hell are you to have these dreams? Basically no one pulls off a dream like this off. Do you really think you’re different? Really? Think of all your mistakes. You have no evidence that shows you’ll ever change. Why try?”
We all have some iteration of this conversation with ourselves. We’re hurtful to ourselves. Truly mean and cruel in a way we’d never be to other human beings.
Where does this come from? Why do we do this to ourselves? How can we fix it? How can you succeed?
You’re Fighting an Uphill Battle From Birth
It doesn’t help that you learn to view your own behavior through the lens of right and wrong, mostly wrong, from a very young age. You spend your whole life being told what not to do.
When you’re little it’s “don’t touch that.” When you get older, almost everything you learn is predicated on avoiding failure instead of achieving success. It’s not so much that you wanted to get good grades. You didn’t want to get bad grades and feel shame. Not so much that you wanted to get the degree, but that you didn’t want to be a disappointment or you didn’t want to be a part of the “out crowd” who doesn’t have that piece of paper.
You’re always playing defense. Always trying to avoid making mistakes. Looking bad has always been weighted more heavily than feeling good.
Our entire society is a comparison trap. Grades could easily be pass or fail — the arbitrary nature of the grades has nothing to do with whether you really know the information or not.
You take “standardized tests” as if human beings are standard issue and achieve success using the exact same rubric. Everything is standardized — standard home, car, degree, job, neighborhood. And our goals are set by society — don’t fall below these standards.
Create a Mental Flywheel For Success
The good news? Competence does create confidence. Once you create enough evidence for your own success you’ll no longer have to rely on tricking yourself and faking it.
It’ll work the same for you with your dream. 80 percent of your effort goes towards hitting critical mass, the tipping point, breaking that wall, and then achieving your dream is just a matter of time — the other 20 percent. The beginning phase of building any dream is so fraught with doubt and difficulty that it basically destroys most people dead in their tracks almost right away.
But if you understand that it’s the hardest part and that you won’t always feel that heavily full of doubt, you can take your bumps and bruises upfront until you reach the other side. And the crazy thing about it? Your mind is mostly in the way. The actual steps aren’t that bad.
You will have to face rejection. But do you know what rejection and embarrassment really are? They’re just physiological responses — you get that heart in your stomach feeling for a few seconds and then it goes away. Feeling bad or discouraged about anything is just your interpretation of what happened. You know this, but over time, you’ll know this.
You will start to feel worthy as time moves forward. The first time you pull off something you thought was outside your capabilities, you’ll fully understand how limiting your beliefs are. I still have limiting beliefs about some of the big hairy audacious goals I still have. But now I know that my current normal life would seem absurd to my past self, so I let go of the need to have one hundred percent belief in myself and I just keep doing the work.
Remember Who You Really Are
When was the last time someone told you that you’re good enough? How often do you tell yourself that? Unfortunately, we lack positive reinforcement in our society and even in our own upbringing sometimes. But you can always be your own support system.
Start thinking of yourself as a friend and start taking care of yourself. Make a conscious effort to do that. I’m weird. I literally talk to myself. Sometimes looking in the mirror. I try to remind myself of who to trust — not my irrational monkey mind liar, but me.
That negative-self talk voice isn’t you. You know that, right?
“This is just the way I am.” Not true. It’s the way you’re choosing to be. It’s the way you default to being because you listen to that negative voice instead of listening to yourself.
I can’t even imagine what’s going on in your mind on a day to day basis because I personally have a hell of a nasty self-talk voice.
At the end of the day, you have to seriously take care of yourself and take your relationship with yourself seriously. You won’t always have good days. But, what choice do you have? Either you try your best to make it work or you give up and let your lizard brain run your life for you.
Keep having those conversations with yourself.
You owe it to yourself to live a better life.
You deserve to live a better life and you know it.
Here’s what will happen if you do decide to listen to yourself. One day you’ll look back on everything you’ve ever done and you’ll thank yourself that you were there for yourself.
You’ll have a level of confidence no one can take away from you ever. Success doesn’t solve all your problems, but it does give you the peace in knowing you cared about yourself enough to follow through with something you cared about.
There’s no feeling quite like it.