Don’t let these common obstacles hold you back from reaching your full potential.
It’s truly fascinating how successful people approach problems. Where others see impenetrable barriers, they see challenges to embrace and obstacles to overcome.
Their confidence in the face of hardship is driven by the ability to let go of the negativity that holds so many otherwise sensible people back.
Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania has studied this phenomenon more than anyone else has, and he’s found that success in life is driven by one critical distinction—whether you believe that your failures are produced by personal deficits beyond your control or that they are mistakes you can fix with effort.
Success isn’t the only thing determined by your mindset. Seligman has found much higher rates of depression in people who attribute their failures to personal deficits. Optimists fare better; they treat failure as learning experiences and believe they can do better in the future.
This success mindset requires emotional intelligence (EQ), and it’s no wonder that, among the million-plus people that TalentSmart has tested, 90% of top performers have high EQs.
Maintaining the success mindset isn’t easy. There are seven things, in particular, that tend to shatter it. These challenges drag people down because they appear to be barriers that cannot be overcome. Not so for successful people, as these challenges never hold them back.
Without fail, people feel compelled to tell you what you should and shouldn’t do because of your age. Don’t listen to them. Successful people certainly don’t. They follow their heart and allow their passion—not the body they’re living in—to be their guide.
Fear is nothing more than a lingering emotion that’s fueled by your imagination. Danger is real. It’s the uncomfortable rush of adrenaline you get when you almost step in front of a bus. Fear is a choice. Successful people know this better than anyone does, so they flip fear on its head. They are addicted to the euphoric feeling they get from conquering their fears.
Don’t ever hold back in life just because you feel scared. I often hear people say, “What’s the worst thing that can happen to you? Will it kill you?” Yet, death isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you… The worst thing that can happen to you is allowing yourself to die inside while you’re still alive.
The past or the future
Like fear, the past and the future are products of your mind. No amount of guilt can change the past, and no amount of anxiety can change the future. Successful people know this, and they focus on living in the present moment. It’s impossible to reach your full potential if you’re constantly somewhere else, unable to fully embrace the reality (good or bad) of this very moment.
“Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe.” —Mark Twain
To live in the moment, you must do two things:
1) Accept your past. If you don’t make peace with your past, it will never leave you and it will create your future. Successful people know the only good time to look at the past is to see how far you’ve come.
2) Accept the uncertainty of the future, and don’t place unnecessary expectations upon yourself. Worry has no place in the here and now. As Mark Twain once said, “Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe.”
The state of the world
Keep your eyes on the news for any length of time and you’ll see it’s just one endless cycle of war, violent attacks, fragile economies, failing companies, and environmental disasters. It’s easy to think the world is headed downhill fast.
And who knows? Maybe it is. But successful people don’t worry about that because they don’t get caught up in things they can’t control. Instead, they focus their energy on directing the two things that are completely within their power—their attention and their effort. They focus their attention on all the things they’re grateful for, and they look for the good that’s happening in the world.
They focus their effort on doing what they can every single day to improve their own lives and the world around them, because these small steps are all it takes to make the world a better place. They focus their effort on doing what they can every single day to improve their own lives and the world around them…
Bringing It All Together
Your success is driven by your mindset. With discipline and focus, you can ensure that these seven obstacles never hold you back from reaching your full potential.