You can’t outrun your negative self-perception
In this article you’ll learn:
Success is all a mind game, and you can’t beat a negative self-perception, it’ll eventually catch up with you
Your beliefs are either making your life, or completely sabotaging it
Fulfilling your dreams is a balance between concerted mental effort and relinquishing control
Leveling up in your life is all a mental game.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right” — Henry Ford
You might think success boils down to who has the shiniest things, the most money or the cushiest life. But it’s actually everything that happens before the external victories that determines your real success.
For the longest time I was focused on the external things that would signify that I had done it, that I had succeeded.
All the while, I was ignoring the beliefs that I wasn’t good enough to be successful, or smart enough to teach people, or resourceful enough to manage a 6-figure income.
And you know what was happening in my reality? I was stuck, chasing dreams, frustrated and drinking too much vodka every night.
For the last two years I’ve turned my hustle-n-grind inward, working through and on all those mental hangups and beliefs. And because of that work, I’m finally making headway in my life.
I’m finally allowing myself to be successful, something I didn’t think I had to do, but turns out is a very real thing.
So if you’re ready to finally upgrade, its time to examine your mental game to see what’s holding you back, and here’s 7 quotes to lead the way.
1. “Beneath the surface, if you believe that struggling is more noble than succeeding because that’s what your parents taught you, and that everyone who loves you as you used to be will judge and abandon you when you’re rich, your subconscious self might attempt to “protect” you by suddenly getting the flu, by picking fights with people who can help you, by inspiring you to procrastinate, make terrible investments, drink your face off the before (or morning of) an important meeting, etc” — Jen Sincero, You Are a Badass at Making Money
Moral of the quote: This one time I quit my mind-numbing career in an attempt to follow my dreams and start a business (the first time, there’s been many. Welcome to entrepreneurship). I was going to work as a manager at a restaurant on the side while I continued to build a cocktail catering business.
I was excited about the part time gig, and felt like I was movin’ on up in the world and in my dreams.
Then, the day before my first shift, I got obscenely drunk, had a brain-splitting hangover, and had to call in for my shift.
Your mind is a powerful tool. It is always aiming for the things you believe most deeply. So if you have some deeply rooted issues around money, success, your ability to do great things, you might unknowingly be self-sabotaging all your attempts at doing better.
The good news? Your identity isn’t fixed, and you can change those beliefs. But you need to recognize those self-sabotaging beliefs before you can work on them.
I recognize that move to get wasted the day before my big life change as my subconscious keeping me stuck in what it knew and believed: that I am irresponsible, and incapable of figuring my life out.
I still watch myself slip into self-sabotaging behavior, but now I know what I’m looking for.
Once you see these things playing out in your life, you can recognize them for what they are: just fear and ego getting freaked out by your attempt at changing your life.
Fear and ego want you to stay the same, stay stuck, and keep playing small because its what you know. Anything outside of what you know is a threat, and worthy of sabotaging with drunken behavior, or whatever your self-defeating move is.
2. “Certainty is the enemy of growth” — Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
Moral of the quote: When things got hard for me, when I kept failing at business ventures, or wanting something more out of life, but having no clue what that was, and hopelessness was the ghoul of the night, I started to get certain about things.
Things just keep not working out for me, I keep failing at the blogs and the businesses I start, the new careers I want to move into. I must not be one of those people cut out for being an entrepreneur.
I can’t quit my eating disorder after a decade of trying, I must be damaged goods.
I binge eat, I binge drink, clearly I’m just weak-willed, and people like that aren’t successful.
Yes, failure after failure after failure is the stuff of nightmares. It can change everything you think you are. I’ve been there, believing I was a ‘bulimic headcase,’ incapable of change.
But this moment, when every failure seems to prove that you are not capable of becoming more, this is when you must hold it in your heart that those things do not define you. The worst thing you can do is live in certainty, in black and white.
Being human is not certain, it is not absolute. You will fail, you are not a failure. You will slip into old habits, you are not the person you used to be.
Whenever you start to define yourself as “this” or “that” kind of person, stop.
Because that is the surest way to staying stuck like that forever.
3. “If you’re too good, no life can happen. It’s not your goodness that will liberate you. . .it’s the joyfulness of your own nature” — Sadhguru, from White Hot Truth by Danielle LaPorte
Moral of the quote: I struggle with detoxes and diets and cleanses because I am very easily triggered by food, thanks to a decade long stint with bulimia. So when I try to clean my eating up, I inevitably stray and eat something I shouldn’t, like too many chips, or whatever.
And when I do stray, my mind is easily triggered into believing that I am weak, destined to be overweight, a glutton, etc.
The personal growth and self-help world is incredibly helpful for people, but it can also be damaging. In the same way seeing the highlight reel of peoples lives on social media can make your life feel like a colossal failure, so too can the never-ending flow of articles saying “you will only be successful/happy/rich/joyful/whateva if you do this 100% of the time,” will make you feel like you’re not cut out for success (because no one can be that good 100% of the time).
As a writer in this field, and as a recovering perfectionist/bulimic/ball of shame, I feel it’s my duty to let you know that even the authors behind these article STILL struggle. They still fail. They still accidently eat too many cookies, or snooze through their alarms, or fuck up their morning routines, or whatever, including me.
I am a painful, beautiful, ridiculous, brilliant example of humanity. I am still learning, too. And I will be forever.
So don’t hold yourself by such a rigid rule book that when you fail, it’s so colossal you believe yourself a failure (echoing back to quote #2), and certainly don’t let these rules keep you from enjoying your life.
Balance is the essential to life, but as I’ve learned, it’s not easy.
(And please screenshot this and send it to me every so often, I need the reminder too sometimes).
4. “They cannot think in terms of riches, because their though habits have been steeped in poverty, want, misery, failure and defeat” — Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich
Moral of the quote: In 2016 I failed at starting a mobile cocktail catering business. I failed long before I even started booking events.
The perceived disappointment of my family, who invested in me, and my husband, who supported and believed in me, followed me around for months, and I am still peeling off pieces of that shame.
Every time I tried to start something new, I remembered that failure, and told myself I wasn’t capable or worthy of trying again because I had screwed up so badly the first time. As you can imagine, this stunted my growth for a long time.
What you focus on, or pay attention to, becomes your reality. If all you’ve ever seen is how little money you have, your lack, your failures, all the things you want, but don’t have, you will continue getting the same.
This kind of thinking has been deeply ingrained inside of me, and I am still wringing that rag out. Recognizing all the beliefs about your own failings, bad luck, defeats, unworthiness, or lack is the first step.
The second is replacing that tired record-o-shame with a highlight reel of all the times you’ve done good. And understanding that just because you did fail, doesn’t mean you are a failure.
Start with the success you have, no matter how small and focus on that until it grows into a whole field of success.
5. “Every thought therefore is a cause and every condition an effect; for this reason it is absolutely essential that you control your thoughts so as to bring forth only desirable conditions” — Charles F. Hannel, The Master Key System
Moral of the quote: You know those days where one bad thing happens, and it seems to trigger a shit-storm of more bad things? Well, this quote is your answer to that.
Yes, bad things happen out of nowhere, for no reason. But your thoughts have a big role in many of the positive or negative things that happen in our lives.
Back when I was single, I was obsessed with finding someone to be with. I got denied by a couple guys I really liked, and then suddenly I was gnawing on all the things that were certainly wrong with me.
Then I finally started dating my now-husband, I felt good about myself, and was in that buzzy, heady mind space of falling in love, and nothing else mattered. I was happy and it reverberated off me.
So of course it would make sense those guys that denied me before came around to their senses, and started hitting me up to hangout.
This scenario is this quote in action.
When you focus on the bad, and believe you will only get the bad, and that YOU are bad, your life and circumstances will generally reflect that.
When you focus on the good, and believe you will only get the good, and that YOU are good, your life and circumstances will generally reflect that.
Even if you don’t believe me, life is WAY better when you focus on the good, rather than awfulize over the bad.
But, there’s also balance to this, which brings me to #6:
6. “CARPE DIEM makes me worry that if I’m not in a constant state of profound gratitude and ecstasy, I’m doing something wrong” — Glennon Doyle, Carry on, Warrior
Moral of the quote: How do cry in the jungle? In a two-story open air yoga deck, nestled in the jungle canopy overlooking the ocean, with the monkeys and macaws and the fresh fruit? How can you possibly be upset in such a beautiful place?
Well, sometimes you break. As I did on my yoga mat in said jungle. The details don’t matter, but the point is that your life can literally look like a spread in Beaches, and you’re still allowed to cry about it.
You are a human with a broad and varying array of emotions, and they are not all sugar-plum pink and marshmallow fluff white.
You will have bad days, and you will be pissed, and you will, on occasion, feel like nothing good can ever come to your life (even if your life is steeped in goodness).
You don’t have to be all butterflies and cupcakes 100% of the time.
You can be hellfire, ugly-crying, door-slamming and bird-flipping sometimes too.
The point is to not live in that mental state, but to visit it on occasion when things get overwhelming and your humanity gets the best of all your personal growth.
It’s ok, you’re allowed to break.
7. “You are never pre-qualified to live your dreams. You qualify yourself by doing the work. By committing — even overcommitting — to what you believe you should do” — Benjamin Hardy
Moral of the quote: When I was sixteen, I made up my mind to move to Alaska, live in an RV, work at a diner by day, and write stories by night. I was going tap away at a keyboard in bear country and have life experiences.
It never happened.
Instead I went to college and convinced myself I was no Stephen King, so there was no point in trying.
Flashforward to 2015, I desperately wanted to write, to tell stories, to be an observer of life and slow time down in a way that only writers, photographers, and artists can: by capturing a single moment with words or pictures.
But I believed I must have permission to do so. I was searching for a magazine job, for writing gigs, for a paid position and a title that reads “writer.” I just wanted some authority figure to tell me what I already knew deep down: that I am a writer.
Unfortunately, no one is going to hand you your dream job, and it is a waste of life to try and pre-qualify yourself for your dreams.
Yes, you might need technical experience, but you get that in the doing.
Eventually, in 2017, I quit my job and shipped myself off to Costa Rica for 3 months to become what I knew I was at sixteen. I just traded bear country for the beach.
And guess what? I had no more experience as a writer in 2017 than I did two years prior.
All that is to say: just fucking do it, and keep going once you start.
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Article originally published on Medium