“What is defeat? Nothing but education, nothing but the first step to something better.” –Wendell Phillips

Have you ever justified your lack of success towards a goal with the excuse that you lacked the experience? Or that you lacked the resources: money and time? Did you give up before you even tried?

Have you ever looked at a competition in your field and justified their success to something trivial like:

  • She’s successful, because she’s got better computer skills.
  • He’s successful because he knows the right people.
  • They are successful because they’ve been doing this for many years.
  • John did it, because he’s loaded, he has more money than I’ll ever see.
  • Maggie has always been luckier than me.

We’ve missed the real work behind the scene. We’ve robbed them of the real reason why they are successful. Plus, we have spent extra energy justifying our lack of success and missed real opportunities to learn from their excellence.

You are not alone.

There are many of us along with you, struggling with similar experiences based on the same self-inflicted self-limiting thinking. This might sound harsh, but it is reality and in order to shine light on the matter, we must look at it with a critical eye and be honest with . ourselves.

I genuinely believe that we often compromise our goals through a limiting, self-imposed, mindset and a fear of failure. Mindset is everything. We may not be able to control the thoughts our mind throws at us, but we can choose to remain conscious and observe these thoughts rather than instantly reacting to them.

It is so easy to get caught up in the artifacts of our own mind. Our mind’s job is to keep us the same, and thus to instill fear in us to pursue goals outside our comfort zone. This is natural and instinctual. We all experience it. But for anyone who’s achieved what they really wanted, they’ve learned to move beyond it. To act in spite of the fear.

In this post and the next post are are 6 steps to overcome this voice in us that has the potential to stop us from pursuing and reaching our dreams:

Step 1: Hearing & Recognizing the Voice

Become aware of what excuses your mind is saying to delay or deceit action. Here are common ones I’ve picked up on:

  • I don’t have educational background, maybe I’ll do it after I’ve gained X degrees.
  • I don’t have enough money to pursue this. I can’t afford it.
  • I just don’t have any time.
  • I don’t have the right connections in this market.
  • What the heck do I know about X Nothing. It’s never gonna work.
  • I have not learned enough about this. I need to know everything first.

Watch your language when speaking to another person. Watch the phrases you use, are you making excuses? Are you justifying a situation with thoughts of lack and limitation?

Step 2: Beware of `Analysis Paralysis’

I’ve fallen into this trap many times before. Analysis Paralysis is the perception that you need to understand every single element of how to do something before actually taking any action towards a project (You may have a better definition, but you get my gist.).

Here’s a scenario from my life to demonstrate this. Before pursuing a project, I would spend days and weeks on researching and analyzing the market. During this time, I’ve gathered enough reason why I will fail, thus after all this time invested, I would end up taking no action.

If I had spent this time doing minimal research and then dived straight into action, I would have gained valuable experiences than had I just sat there looking for reasons to failure. I may have even succeeded during that time.

Yes, it is important to do your research and understand a market. The problem arises when we are not conscious of our goals and purpose for researching. It is very easy to fall into analysis paralysis, which serves as another form of excuse to delay action (if any).

Step 3: Catch Yourself from the Chasm of Self-Defeating Thoughts

Our thoughts can easily become a downward spiral. While dwelling on a self-defeating thought pattern, if we do not interrupt it and consciously bring ourselves out, we can become paralyzed by fear and lack.

You can shift your emotions and interrupt your self-defeating thoughts by:

  • Changing your language. – Instead of saying I can’t do this because I don’t have enough experience. Try changing your language to I don’t yet have much experience with this, but I’m confident I could master it. Let me start today.
  • Changing your physiology. – Get up and move around. Do something different that dramatically changes your current physical state. Do 20 jumping-jacks while singing happy birthday. This is a powerful tool to interrupt any thought patterns.
  • Changing your focus. – What are you focused on? Explicitly find something else to focus on for awhile.