So let me clarify something right off the top….there are PLENTY of things you should say No to. I love the idea that your decision process to do something should be a “Hell Yes, or No, and nothing in between”. You can’t do everything, you can’t please everyone, etc., etc., so you have to pared down what you say yes to, especially when you legitimately have a lot of people asking for your time and attention. That’s not what this post is about…
What I am referring to is that little voice in your head (or maybe it’s a big voice by now) that tells you that you can’t do something, are not capable, it won’t work, that kind of stuff. If you hear that kind of thing on a regular basis, you need to address that. RIGHT NOW. This has likely held you back for a long time, and will continue to do so if you don’t take a serious look at changing that thought process. Here are some things to consider:
1. What is the origin of this mental habit? Does one or both of your parents exhibit this same behavior pattern? If you hear them talk over the dinner table or on Holidays when you’re together, listen for clues to this pattern. Maybe it is quite evident, and throughout your life you have seen this behavior and adopted it to be your own. While you are a direct product of your parent’s and their DNA, there is nothing that says you have to become a carbon copy of them throughout your life. This is written nowhere…
2. Yesterday doesn’t equal today. Even if the thought(s) in no. 1 above are true, this doesn’t mean that this is your default setting with no way around it. You can change any habit, any thought pattern, etc. by working on it. No one in my family played racquetball at a high level before I did, and no one did since either. How is this possible if I am “destined” by DNA and environment, like I have no choice but to follow in the family footsteps? Simple, NOTHING IS WRITTEN IN STONE. You have every chance to do your own thing, regardless of the you of yesterday. As is the underlying tenant in martial arts, you “job” is to be better than the version of yourself yesterday. Constant improvement is the goal, and so all you have to do is to adopt this process to your life. You CHOOSE to be fat, skinny, lazy, stuck in a job you hate, live in the same town your whole life, or approach everything from a fear-based mindset.
3. Where do you go for help? There are a couple of ways to help turn this habit into one that would offer more benefit to you. I am a big advocate of shortening the learning curve of anything by learning from others. Life is short, and I want to be efficient as possible in terms of maximizing my time here, so wandering around aimlessly for a bit until I make a profound discovery takes too long for my taste. There are plenty of people who can assist with change your mindset. Everyone from David Goggins to Ester Perel have much to offer about changing your thought processes. I loved Goggins book, as if I ever thought my life was difficult growing up, he makes it clear I didn’t know what tough or difficult was. Ester Perel is an expert in relationships and human behavior, and speaks on these topics based on her extensive clinical research and experiences.
Personally I can tell you my bathroom mirror is a big help. I don’t mean my devastatingly handsome reflection, I mean that I put reminders on the mirror so that I keep a new process or thought pattern reinforced and top of mind. Every time I walk into the bathroom I see that reminder, there is no getting around it. And I find that to be a big help. Use sticky notes or a DRY ERASE marker…made that error before… :-/
One of the things I am trying to help others with is to get you started down the path of improvement. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I have learned a lot over the course of my life so far and want to help accelerate your personal growth. I am not selling anything, (other than the obvious of being an Amazon affiliate and/or working as a paid speaker) I am not here to sell you a seminar or a book of mine that has “the answer”. I do not believe that there is one answer for all, that doesn’t make sense. But what I do think is that there are plenty of generalities that cross over to everyone that would be a great starting point. Of course each of us is very different, has come from different parents, environments, backgrounds, etc. and that is where the work comes in.
Once you figure out the starting point, and take a step or two down that path, now you need to really start paying attention. You have to now bend things to be specific to you and your life. And if you have a default setting of saying no, being afraid, etc., you need to get to work. For me, I had a several things I needed to address, and one of them was being afraid of, well, almost everything. I lived a sheltered life in a small town, and some of my family members heaped their fears upon me. I was a skinny kid that got picked on, I inherited a lot of fears through actions and lifestyles, etc. These patterns are invisible in the sense that you as a young person you have no reason to think that what you see and how you think and act is not the same as everyone else. It’s only when you start to really look into it that you start to see the detrimental side of this stuff.
Regardless of what you want to do in life, everything from be a better partner or spouse all the way to a top of the food chain pro athlete or business person, in all starts in your mind. You HAVE TO have a positive mindset to get things done. As crazy as it sounds, if you think you can’t do one more rep, you can’t. PERIOD. It’s not your muscles that fail in some cases, it is your mind. You have to think about this seriously:
“Whether you think you can or you can’t, you are right.”
I can’t pinpoint when my journey started, or how I discovered that this was something I needed to change. I know that some of it comes from playing sports and having learned from others who employed mindset as a weapon. I slowly learned, and still am of course, what my own patterns are, and how to evaluate their effectiveness. I know there are things I still need to break through and change, but I am also aware that I have changed a bunch of things drastically. I still consider myself somewhat of a fearful person, even of things that others do all the time. There is no way I’d skydive out of a perfectly good airplane, but if I would be the first one to raise my hand and attempt to land the plane to save myself and others. Crazy dichotomy, I get it, but that is me. I am a different kind of adrenaline junkie; I am not going to bungee jump, but not only do I have no hesitation to walk out on stage in front of thousands of people and speak, but I actually LOVE IT. Again, a weird scenario when you look at that previous sentence.
I am of the belief that each one of us has the duty in our lives to maximize our own potential. For the greater good of the planet in general, the more people that do this, the better off we all are. Far too many people get stuck thinking that their past is going to dictate your future. It will…if you let it. But you can’t allow this thought process to be the voice you hear in your head. You have to teach your brain to help you along the way, not act as a anchor that is dragging you down. It is doable; it can be done, little by little, step by step.
I wish you luck in your endeavors.