Of all the factors that place limitations on my path to success, self-sabotage has proven to be my greatest constraint.
The ways in which we sabotage our progress can be so intricately hidden that we rarely notice its effects until it has compounded into a lifestyle choice.
Good news — we have a great asset on our side, the MIND.
Bad news — while mastering our minds is probably the sole phenomenon we do have control over, the level of difficulty in doing so is profound.
What makes this endeavor truly challenging is the fact that most of us have conflicting variables in our personality.
An immense amount of ambition would cause you to envision large goals and hold the expectation that you execute accordingly. You may also have multiple passions and interests because you get easily excited and amped up over new projects.
You enjoy the novelty of it all.
You might find yourself getting overwhelmed and notice a pattern of unfinished projects or projects that have only received a fraction of the necessary effort.
You realize you haven’t made any real progress in any one direction because your attention and efforts were scattered over too many interests.
Oftentimes, they would remain as just that — interests.
You may feel misaligned and wonder why despite being ambitious, you aren’t any closer to achieving your goals and creating the life you had envisioned.
Does this sound familiar?
This degree of mental discord is quite unpleasant and extremely limiting.
Personalities are multifaceted and complex, yes — but in pursuit of fulfillment, we must discover our individual formula for balance and alignment between our thoughts and emotions.
This is the first level of self-sabotage most people experience but it’s difficult to identify.
After all, most of us don’t really take the time to dissect our personalities. We just assume we are the way we are because life, or the universe deemed us as such.
If it’s one thing we can confidently declare control over, it’s our MINDS.
We hold the power to analyze our thoughts and emotions, to see how they influence our behavior and determine how they serve our vision.
While our minds are multi-layered and have considerable depth, we still have the power to shift the pieces as we feel necessary.
If we fail to take responsibility for our minds, someone else or something else will.
You want to be the one running the show.
Once you’ve done the internal work of not only choosing a path but also choosing to optimize who you think you are, you’re ready to pinpoint the rest of your self-limiting behaviors.
All or nothing mentality
You can’t fulfill every position at all times.
It’s hard to be the creative and the manager at the same time. If you’re just starting out with writing for example, it doesn’t make sense to quickly start a blog, develop a logo and begin running marketing ads.
More than likely, you’ll start obsessing over the numbers, constantly checking how much traffic is being driven to your site or how many comments/shares your posts received.
This can place a damper on creativity and productivity. Your efforts could be more concentrated on building the habit of writing and perfecting your craft.
Here lies the real results.
Build your skillset and develop your portfolio of work.
There’s no way you can practice something every day, relentlessly and receive nothing in return. It goes against the natural order of things.
Planning instead of taking action
Planning can be addicting.
We feel a sense of control and influence when we plan. We feel deeply connected to our vision and our goals. While planning is definitely useful, it is also comfortable because no real action is taking place.
Many of us use planning as a method to avoid action. Planning long-term usually does more harm than good because it’s unlikely you know exactly where you’ll be years from now. The sheer distance between where you are now and where you’d like to be can be intimidating.
Overemphasis on the end goal causes feelings of overwhelm, anxiety and doubt — instead, what can be done today?
It’s best to just start now, begin putting in the work now, one foot after the next.
That’s not something you have to plan for, it’s something you just do.
The plan will unfold itself along the way. You have to go out and experience the process, roll with the punches and see what works for you.
After practicing your craft tirelessly and building a portfolio, compiling and analyzing data from your experiences and finding your footing, the path will reveal itself to you.
It will become clear as day.
You begin to attract all the necessary tools you need to blaze your trail. But you must first become what you want to attract.
You can’t do that by solely planning. You have to take action.
Looking for shortcuts
If you’re constantly looking for shortcuts, success will continue to elude you.
It’s just another maneuver we develop to avoid actually doing the work.
There is no escaping the hard work if you’re aiming for success. And so, for each shortcut you indulge in, you’re only prolonging your true gratification.
Try to do things the right way for the sake of better results and a greater sense of personal fulfillment.
You can spend months trying to discover a shortcut that may or may not work OR spend the months actually investing the necessary effort which almost always guarantees results.
Initially, the shortcut has a great deal of appeal but long term, there is considerable risk.
Short cuts are just that, they’re short. There isn’t a functional system to them that can be consistently replicated for long-term success.
You don’t want to become dependent on shortcuts because they’re simply not reliable.
They’ll keep you inhibited because you’ll never fully experience standing on your own two feet and paving your own path.
Intersection of the elements
The common theme in each of these deterrents is the relinquishing of power on our behalf to bypass the sacrifice of hard work.
The road to success is not easy and there’s a reason we must contend with these deterrents along the way.
Without them, how would we learn more about ourselves?
It is through times of uncertainty and hardship that we are forced to question ourselves. Through these questions, we derive meaning and acquire knowledge.
Before you can lead a life of success, you must be able to lead your mind, your emotions and your body.
These efforts begin with understanding who you are at your core.
We also contend with these deterrents so that once we do hit our mark, we will feel satisfied because we know we are deserving of it.
We won’t reach the peak of our success and wonder why we are still unhappy.
In committing to the long haul and doing things the right way, we’ve already found happiness within ourselves.