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by David N Johnson

May 12, 2022

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Portland Head Light – Photo Credit: My Wife Emma

We all do it. We’re all culpable when it comes to disparaging self talk. Each one of us puts limits on what we can achieve because we start to belive that inner voice that says, “they’re right. You can’t.”

Well, they’re wrong. You can!

It’s easier to believe somebody saying that you can’t or that you shouldn’t because you’ve been telling yourself the same things.

It’s too hard.

I’m not good enough.

I shouldn’t do this.

This is all rooted in our biology as our brains are wired for self preservation, it wants to keep the status quo. Good or bad, it’s better to be where you are because it is what’s known.

The unknown scares us so we put up barriers to our success and limit ourselves as to what we’re capable of. As you can imagine, this is an absolute tragedy.

So, how can you spot your self-erected barriers and better yet, how do you go dismantle them?

First, you must take a look at the mindsets that are holding you back. I’ll cover a few common ones here. I warn you though, you’ve heard them before. I’d wager that you’ve even told yourself to stop doing them, yet…

1. Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

One of the worst mindsets that you can engage in is to compare yourself to other people. There are a many reasons why you shouldn’t but the biggest is that it leads to negative self talk by giving you reasons why you can’t do something.

  • Shes smarter than me
  • He’s more creative
  • She comes from a better family
  • People want to follow him, he’s a natural leader

This is creating a barrier to your future self by causing you to put limits on what you can achieve.

Another reason why you want to stop with the comparison is because you’re more than likely comparing yourself to somebody further along in their journey than you are. Sure, you see their success and how effortless it looks but I assure you, it didn’t always look that way. Just ask them.

Comparing yourself to others like this causes negativity, not motivation. It convinces you not to take the risks that are required to make your dreams a reality.

Start keeping a tally each time you compare yourself to others. The more you become aware of it the better equipped you are of squashing this painful barrier.

2. Stop Being Scared of Breaking The Rules

This is a big one. Life is full of rules. Some are important such as stopping when a street light turns red but others put limits on your thinking.

As a rule some people say that they don’t speak out, that they shouldn’t go against the grain. They keep their ideas to themselves because it would go against some unspoken rule that says things have to be a certain way.

Don’t be so scared to stand tall that you stand small. It’s okay to break from the crowd if you feel that the moment warrants it.

I’m not saying that you should engage in something illegal but ask yourself what rules you can break today and then do it.

3. Stop Over Preparing

We sometimes spend so long getting ready that we forget to get started. We want to be prepared, sure, but not at the cost of action.

Nobody is perfect. We all know that. Then why do we always wait until things are? Just launch already!

Don’t wait until the stars are aligned and everything is exactly how it should be. Don’t be scared to do something less than perfect.

Get out there in the world. Three quarters of something is better than zero of nothing.

“Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.”

Dr. Brené Brown

4. Stop Trying to Please Everybody

If you try to please everybody, you please nobody. Being a people pleaser will cost you your identity. It makes you forget who you are and who you can become because you fear what others will think about you.

This mindset will severely limit what you can accomplish in life. Instead of doing what you can to please everybody around you, you have to learn to be okay with disappointing other people.

No, I’m not telling you to go around hurting others. I’m telling you to focus on your needs and wants and stop focusing ONLY on what you can give others.

Do something for you today. Extra points if it goes against what other people think you should be doing.

5. Stop Being Resistant To Change

Things change. Get over it. If you want to adopt a growth mindset then you have to understand that some of your current mindsets will have to go.

Being scared of change will severely impact your growth and what you can accomplish. The best way to get over this mindset is to make a change. Today.

Change your daily routine. Go to work a different direction. Change your environment, how you eat, the way you dress. It doesn’t have to be a big change. Just make them as often as you can to get over your fear of them. You’ll learn that it’s not all that bad and who knows maybe you’ll learn that you enjoy them.

What other mindsets come to mind? What’s holding you back? What self imposed limits are keeping you from achieving whatever it is that you want to achieve?

You are enough. If nobody has ever told you that, I’m sorry. You are. Now tell yourself that you are. Believe it. Get rid of the mindsets that are hindering your growth.

You have a massive amount of potential hidden inside you, it’s just buried underneath negative self talk, perfectionism, your desire to please others, and other negative mindsets that you’ve self imposed over the years as a way to reconcile the difference between who you are and who you really want to be.

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David N Johnson

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David N Johnson

  • Michele Coleman says:

    David, this is well written and well timed. I’m about to make a major change in my life and this article speaks to me. I appreciate how you not only describe the certain negative mindsets that hold us back from growth, but you explain what to do to change them. I needed this today!

    • David N Johnson says:

      I am honored that you found it helpful, Michele. Major changes are scary enough without our brains adding fuel to the fire. Good luck with the changes!

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