In my profession as a consultant, I am lucky to have the opportunity to meet and talk to many people from various backgrounds. What I have found is that when it comes to success, the things that are preventing you from becoming successful aren’t always the things in front of you but things inside of you; particularly the things inside of your head. Your thoughts have such a profound effect on your actions, that you might be suspired to discover that the reason why you’re still a failure is that while you were so busy trying to conquer the world you forgot to conquer your own mind.
Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude. - Thomas Jefferson
I feel that these are the 5 most common mental roadblocks people face on their road to success. While many more do exist, I believe that by understanding at least these 5 you will give yourself a much better chance to live to your potential and become successful.
You Don’t Know What You Really Want
One of the main reasons why you aren’t “successful” is that you lack true purpose. Success is the accomplishment of goals and if you don’t know what you truly want; how you can you ever accomplish it?
For example, George sets a goal to become a multi-millionaires and work his entire life trying to become rich. He struggles and works a 70-hour workweek but still never achieves success in his mind. He does end up making quite a bit of money but in his head, he feels unsatisfied? The reason for this is that all along he never “really” wanted just the money. He never made it a goal to fill a room with 2.6 in x 6.1 in pieces of paper. But he wanted the freedom that money could give him. This freedom was the real goal he wanted all along and while he did struggle to be free he ended up digging an even deeper hole for himself. So, in the end, he ended up failing because success is the achievement of a goal and if money wasn’t the actual goal; having a 6-figure bank balance did him no good.
So what is the take home for you? Make your goals very thorough. Don’t be vague about what you want, but hit your target in the eye. Don’t make it a goal to just become rich but understand “why” you want to become rich and make that your goal. Understand what you categorically want and then chase after it like you won’t live tomorrow.
You’re Lying To Yourself
Everybody wants to be successful. There is not a single person living on earth who doesn’t want success. It’s just that you make excuses and lie to yourself to make yourself feel better about your failures. Like you make a goal to workout but then don’t go and justify it by saying “I would have gone to workout, but I think having a layer of body fat on me keeps me warm in the winter, so I’ll start in the summer”. Just Terrible.
It doesn't matter if you come from the inner city. People who fail in life are people who find lots of excuses. It's never too late for a person to recognize that they have potential in themselves. - Benjamin Carson
For example a few months ago I met this university graduate who told me he didn’t care whether he was successful or not. We were having a conversation about how the economy was doing poorly and how he was having a tough time finding a job when his comment really caught me by surprise. I initially gave it no thought but as we spoke more and more it became quite apparent that his comment was just a defensive statement to justify his unemployment. While deep down inside he really wanted to be successful at finding a job; he justified his joblessness by telling himself it didn’t matter. I didn’t get the opportunity to tell him then but I hope he reads this and understands that by making excuses you only dig a deeper hole for yourself. When initially you had just failed in the world, by making excuses you failed in your mind. The take home is that be honest with yourself about what you want. Don’t make excuses and never lie to yourself. You’re going to face adversity on your path to success and you should be ready for it. Just keep grinding.
You Don’t Have The Drive
Everybody wants things. If you walk through a shopping mall, I bet you’ll end up pointing at hundreds of items that you “want”. But there are only a rare 5-6 items that you really want and only 1 or 2 items that you actually end up buying. Agree so far? Well, this logic applies to everything in your life. We are given an infinite amount of opportunities on a daily basis and while many of us want to take them, most of us just don’t care enough. And just like how you walk through a shopping mall and choose certain things and leave others. We decide on a daily basis whether we care enough about success to sacrifice certain things.
I mean you can’t have the best of both worlds. You can’t want 6-pack abs but also want to eat fried chicken for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You have to give one thing up for the other and you have to have that “grit” to keep going. So what is the take home for you? If you want to be successful you must have the drive to make the sacrifices that are required and keep going. You’re going to be given hundreds of opportunities to give up and stop but you have to be resilient. You must lock in, be focused and don’t let anything come in your way.
You’re Working The Wrong Way
You can’t be running south when it’s your goal to run north and give yourself a pat on the back for “just running.” You don’t get brownie points in the real world for working without aim. You could do an entire marathon worth of running all across the city but unless you do it in the boundaries and direction of the actual marathon you will get no recognition. This same logic applies to becoming successful at anything.
For example, David is a university student studying for his upcoming final exams. David is a very hardworking student and puts in approximately 2 hours of study time for every 1 hour of class work and goes above and beyond the amount of recommended minimum time, a student should study. But to reasons unknown to David even though he studies so much his marks continue to hover around %70. David is very frustrated and gets even more irritated when he finds out his classmates are getting 80% + when they don’t even put in half of the time studying that David does. Discouraged David goes to a school counselor who finally helps David figures out the problem.
While David is “studying” for 30+ hours a week, he’s studying wrong. David wastes hours and hours doing things, which aren’t helping him become successful. David highlights entire textbooks, spends hours learning about related topics that aren’t on the tests and even memorizes citations. So while he is in his head “studying” a lot, he’s not really helping himself. So what you can learn form this, is that you need to optimize how you use your time. Don’t lie to yourself by doing things that aren’t moving you forward. If it seems even slightly redundant stop doing it and focus on what works. Squeeze all of the juice out of every single second you have and you will see results.
You’re Stuck In The Dreaded Comfort Zone
Com·fort zone (noun) \ˈkəm(p)-fərt ˈzōn \
1. A place, situation, or level where someone feels confident and comfortable. 2. The home of millions of unsuccessful people worldwide. 3. The place where all hopes, dreams or all thoughts of ambition get stuck in and decay. 4. The best place to stay in if you never want to be successful and never want to live to your potential.
I think this definition is pretty self-explanatory and I have covered this before so I’m going to keep it short. Get out of your comfort zone as fast as you can and never ever look back. If you’re feeling comfortable it means you’re not improving and if you’re not improving you're not successful.