Over the years I have found, in life and sport, we are often our own worst enemies with regards to success and achievement. Regardless of intention, and regardless of our aims and wishes, negative thinking and mental blocks are the biggest obstacle to overcome on the path to success.
Overcoming these obstacles is easier said than done, of course. Quite often we don’t realise we’re putting these limitations on ourselves and some of these mental blocks will have developed so long ago that they’ve become ‘normal’.
That’s why it’s important to identify some of these common blocks and behaviours… As Sun Tzu said, “Know your enemy”.
While overestimating your abilities may seem like arrogance, studies have shown that people who believe they are more capable of performing than they are in practice are more likely to eventually reach those performance levels. They believe in their abilities and eventually prove themselves right – they set a target.
Conversely, being over-cautious or pessimistic may feel like you’re just being ‘realistic’ in assessing your capabilities at the start of a new task but, ultimately, you’re just defining your limits.
In believing you’re better, you become better. If you expect to fall short of excellence, then the odds are you’ll make that the reality, whether you consciously choose to or not.
You refuse to get help from others
Nobody is an island, and nobody can claim to have all the answers. Don’t try to conquer the world alone! While you are responsible for your performance and success, you can find others who have already been successful in the way you aspire to me. Find the experts, find the winners and find the help you need to improve.
You think the competition is better than you
While ‘never underestimate the competition’ is always sage advice, it’s important to maintain a positive perspective. We have a tendency to underestimate ourselves and overestimate others, so the key is to use this as motivation.
Perspective is the difference between “the competition can beat me” to “the competition is strong, so I need to be stronger.”
You don’t have the time or money
These are convenient excuses that are sure signs of a lack of commitment. You don’t need money to succeed. You are capable of finding time if you really want to achieve.
Is a healthy mental state really tied to your bank balance? And if you’re not willing to free up even a few minutes a day for yourself, how can you hope to move forward? Everybody starts their journey from somewhere, and everyone has the potential to exceed expectations.
You think your goals aren’t reachable.
Scaling your goals is important in maintaining positive mental performance. While the dream might be to aim for the stars, ensuring you have manageable goals will ensure you stay motivated and keep achieving. If you’re certain you’ll fail, you’ll never get started, so be objective and recognise the difference between something being too challenging or you simply not having enough self-belief.
After all, to reach the top of the ladder, you need to climb one rung at a time.
Helping people overcome their mental blocks and limitations is what makes my job so rewarding: I get to watch people unlock potential that was inside them from the word ‘go’. In identifying the most common success hurdles a person sets out for themselves, we are capable of clearing the track and allowing ourselves to really push on.
If you need help identifying your own mental blocks, why not take a look at our Mental Coaching resources, or book a consultation with me so we can work together to boost your performance.
By Andrew Cohen-Wray
All of us are capable of improving our performance, both in life and on the track. Often, we are guilty of underestimating and undermining ourselves. Here are 5 ways we get in the way of reaching our potential.
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