Many people dream of being successful, yet they never achieve it. At times we have all failed. There are many reasons why you may feel like a failure or that you will never be a success. These are some of the reasons you might recognize from your own failures:
It’s normal to procrastinate a little, but often we put off doing difficult or unpleasant tasks that we have to do and end up sabotaging ourselves. Procrastination is the number one thing to fix if you want to be successful. Your mindset will suffer when you procrastinate because you’re not thinking about being productive or about moving towards your goals; in fact you’re doing the opposite by avoiding that.
Fear of failure and fear of success can both stop you from achieving high level success. Success means change, setting new goals, and a defined line between before and after. This fear is what prevents your mind from being in the right mindset for success. Sometimes we’re even guilty of sabotaging ourselves (through procrastination or other means) so that we “prove” our fears right by not being successful.
A fear mindset is one where everything is seen as too risky or too dangerous which means you’ll never move forwards. Conquering the fear mindset is the hardest thing for many people who are not naturally optimistic or courageous.
3. Being Unrealistic
Part of dreaming about being successful is that it hasn’t happened yet. When we imagine things it can be both good or bad. Those dreams can drive us to achieve further or they can always be just out of reach so we eventually give up because we never achieve them.
Setting the right goals and being able to motivate yourself is important in being successful because if you set unrealistic goals you’ll always feel like a failure. There’s a very good analogy about teaching fish to climb trees which illustrates this. If you think you’re always a failure then maybe it’s because you’re setting the wrong goals.
4. Being unsure of your path
Part of success is knowing where you’re going. You might have a vision of where you want to be but no real understanding of how to get there. Without having an idea of your route you may freeze up, instead choosing to stay in a “safe” and known place rather than risk the change that may come with success or the shame of taking yourself down a failed pathway.
If you’re not sure about the next step are you sure you’ve even taken one? Many people struggle to even start their journey or get bogged down without realizing how close to the finish they are. Imagine you were chipping away at a wall, you’ve been chipping forever and don’t feel like you will ever make it through so you quit. What you didn’t know is that with only 5 more chips you would have made it. How sad.
If you want to be successful then you need a success mindset and you have to tackle these behaviors and more if you want that to happen. Change can be difficult, it can be hard, but by changing these behaviors using these simple ways you can start cultivating the right mindset to be successful.
Be Willing to Change
There is nothing more threatening to a success mindset than not being able to change. If you cannot change you cannot be anything more than what you already are and therefore cannot be successful.
To be successful you have to be able to embrace change but you also have to be able to accept things as they come. On your journey there will be failures, there will be successes, there will be change and there will be surprises or things you didn’t plan for. To have a success mindset you need to cultivate your ability to adapt to change and to be more accepting which will help stop you being afraid of success.
Step 1: Embrace Opportunities
Imagine you’re home alone and your friends are busy. You have the opportunity to go out and see your favorite band, but you’ll be on your own. Do you take it?
Many of us have more opportunities than we realize but we don’t take them because of fear. We’re afraid of being ridiculed, of people assuming something in our actions, or we’re simply afraid that the opportunities we see aren’t real. Many times what we imagine in our on heads doesn’t live up to the reality and that can be a scary thing.
If you want to develop the right mindset for success you have to start confronting your fears and jumping at every opportunity, even if it might mean failure.
Step 2: Accept Everything, even Failure
We all fail. Failure sucks. We feel miserable, people laugh at us, and it’s something we want to avoid because we don’t like that feeling. The sooner you can accept that sometimes failure is inevitable and even necessary the easier it is to accept change and stop being afraid of success.
Acceptance is not resignation. Acceptance means that you know no matter what your actions and their outcomes are moving you
constantly forwards. Any action that does that is bringing you closer to success.
Imagine success as a road you’re walking down. The road has obstacles, tree branches or maybe worse. You may fall, you may be able to step over them, or you may have to walk around because the road is blocked and find another way. Every step you take, even if it’s to go around one of those obstacles still brings you one step closer to your destination.
The only time this stops being true is when you give up or turn back because you’re choosing to move away from success and choosing to fail. That doesn’t mean that sometimes the road doesn’t take you backwards. Sometimes you have to step backwards to get to a different route but it’s the keeping going which will make the difference between ultimately being successful or not.
Step 3: Conquer Fear
By no longer being afraid you will not see change as something to be scared of or avoided. When you procrastinate because you’re
not sure you want the change success brings you can’t ever succeed so you simply have to choose to conquer your fear.
Start by understanding what it is that is making you afraid. Are you afraid of the change? Are you afraid of failure? By understanding what the obstacle is you’ll be better prepared to work around it because it has a name.
Practice getting around that. You can imagine the situation in your head and role play with yourself through it. You can even role-play how you would handle failure to reassure yourself. The worst thing you can do is let the fear win by doing nothing.
The first way to change if you’re going to be successful is to actually be willing to change and embrace that change when it happens. You can do it!
See Failure As Success
The great Chinese General Sun Tsu wrote a book on war tactics. While you may not be waging a battle, much of his advice can be applied to life situations. One of his most powerful pieces was to see failures as a form of success.
Step 1: Learn From Your Mistakes
When it comes to your mindset for success, you are on a journey. You may never achieve it but you’re moving ever forwards on that journey by trying, and who knows, maybe success is just around the corner. But what happens then? If you succeed you’ll have to pick a new journey or you’ll be stagnating which means failure. It’s possible for success to actually be failure!
If you’re not seeing success as something fluid rather than a defined end point then you will always be a failure. Each “success” is really just a goal or stepping stone on the way to the next one. Success is a journey or a path. Each time you go along that path you may fail. If failure on that path is the worst thing that happens then it’s not so bad.
If you fail you have succeeded in finding the wrong path. You now know not to try that again because you will fail. Think of a pathway with three possible directions. If you have chosen one and found it to be a failure that only leaves 2 more. You now have a 50:50 chance of being successful if you pick the right one. By failure you have become more educated on your journey and more likely to succeed.
Step 2: Keep Going
Success is the journey. This is one of the most common mistakes people make, they think that by succeeding they will have finished when instead they should be continuing onward to their next one. This is part of the reason we are afraid of success itself and not the smaller goals along the way, we know they’re not going to create a big change so we aren’t so afraid of achieving them. By seeing each success not as a big achievement but as a stepping stone on a never ending path we are more likely to achieve goals and be less scared of them.
Part of the success mindset is to always keep going, even when you think you’ve finished. This doesn’t mean continuing to scrape an empty plate or walk into a wall because there’s nowhere else to go. It means that if your idea of success is to make $5000 a week then when you achieve that you should aim for $10000 after. Keep going.
Set Better Goals
Success is something you want. Why?
Why do you want to be successful? Many times our reason why, the thing that drives us, can make all the difference between actually achieving success or simply struggling towards it.
Procrastination is a sign that you’ve forgotten the “why” behind whatever you’re trying to achieve. Here’s a good analogy: You want to have clean clothes but you hate doing laundry. You can choose to have someone else do it, or simply wear the dirty clothes, however you have to pay the other person.
If success is clean clothes that don’t cost you money you may put it off because you hate doing laundry but eventually a decision will have to be made, by which time you now have to do three times the amount of laundry making the task even more unpleasant. You have a job interview tomorrow and must have a clean shirt. By procrastinating about your hatred for laundry you’ve made the problem worse and you’re no closer to success.
You didn’t want the clean clothes enough but now because of that interview you have no choice. Your drive to have clean clothes has become important because you really want that job. Your reason for doing laundry has become something more important, so you do it.
Harnessing that “why”, that drive to do things because you need to has a lot to do with the mindset of success. If you see your goals and successes as necessary, even ones you don’t really want to do then you won’t have much drive to do them. Tackle each situation by reminding yourself why you’re doing it.
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Lots of people need motivation. Use posters, notes, give yourself rewards but make your reason why drive you to keep going on that path to success. Boost your motivation by having friends and family hold you accountable and check in on how you’re doing. Ask them to push you and make sure you’re staying on track.
There are many different acronyms of SMART. What it boils down to is being able to make goals that help you become successful rather than those which promote failure.
S – Specific, Successful,
M – Measurable, Mindful, Masterable,
A – Achievable, Acceptable, Approachable, Authentic
R – Realistic, Right,
T – Timed, Truthful
Specific goals are ones that are defined. A specific goal is to make $5000 a week by the time you’re 30. Goals that are specific have a defined line between achievement/success and failure. By making a goal specific it’s easier to determine a path. “Success” is not a goal because it is not definable.
Measurable goals are ones that not only have an end goal but ones that you can set milestones to reach. For example, if your goal is to own a house then one of the goals along the way may be to pay down credit card debt to afford the down payment and another may be to stick to a grocery budget to save money for the same.
Those in between goals are just as important as the final goal because it shows us that we are able to succeed at each step. This teaches us not to be afraid of success and that what comes after success, even when it is small, isn’t so scary.
Achievable goals sounds simple but the fact is many of us set goals we won’t ever achieve. The reason for this is either that we set unreasonable targets which will inevitably end in failure, something that then “proves” our doubts and fears correct. Achievable goals are those which fit all other SMART targets and may only be stepping stones towards bigger goals.
A goal should also be authentic, meaning that it comes from your actual desire to succeed and helps you on that path rather than one that is frivolous or distracting from your end goal.
Realistic goals are those which you are likely to achieve. This is different from achievable because sometimes it is possible to achieve the impossible. A realistic goal would be to lose 100lb in a year, an unrealistic goal would be to lose it in a month.
While both goals are achievable the amount of time given for that achievement is what separates them between realistic and unrealistic. In other words, don’t be too hard on yourself with your deadlines but make them realistic enough that you’re pushed to achieve them.
Timed goals set a timeline for the goal to be achieved. A goal that does not have a timeline is likely to lead to procrastination because there’s no urgency. Too strict of a deadline can create stress and will likely lead to an unachievable or unrealistic goal. A truthful goal is another way of saying “authentic” meaning it keeps you on the right path.
You may have heard the power of positivity before. When we hear good things it makes us smile and it’s part of our evolution that we are programmed to repeat good things and keep doing them. If you burn your hand on the stove because it’s hot you learn that touching a hot stove hurts and so you don’t do it again. When you speak to or about yourself in a negative manner you should feel the same way yet most of us are guilty of talking to ourselves in a way we should be ashamed of.
Positive self talk is a powerful tool in having a successful mindset. When you use positive reinforcement your brain helps to give you a “can do” attitude.
When you are negative you’re actively reinforcing negative ideas and thoughts. In a way, being negative actually helps convince your brain you’re going to fail by giving it the “proof” it needs through self sabotage. Optimism has been shown in research studies to actually help you live longer.
If you’re optimistic it’s likely you’re happy. Happy people tend to be clearer about their goals and look for the good in every situation, even when things go wrong.
How To Make Your Mind Positive
Being positive is actually something you can fake. The more you choose to be positive, even if it feels fake, the more often your mind will start to naturally choose positivity. By resolving to be a happier and more positive person who looks for the good you will always be able to see a different side. This can really help your journey to success when it comes to those obstacles.
The difficulty happens when you reach one of them. If you’re struggling to see a positive side try motivating yourself with some inspirational quotes or take a break and come back to it later. Sometimes when you’ve focused on a problem for too long it makes it more difficult to see anything.
By reducing the amount of negativity you’re likely to see a lot of personal growth and many positive changes in your life. You may find you’re meeting new people and making friends, or that new opportunities come around more often because people are more inclined towards you. No one likes a negative person so when given the choice of who they want to work with your positivity will give you an edge.
There are many ways to practice being positive. Spending time with positive people has been shown to influence your own thinking positively while practicing relaxation techniques like yoga also helps ease your mindset and make room for positive thinking. Some people can practice by solving problems for other people. By helping others it often puts our own problems into perspective and you may realize how lucky you are.
Backed by Science
Positive thinking has been extensively researched, to the point that it has become widely accepted in the scientific community. This proves that many things are just mind over matter. Negative thinkers often have more health problems and depression. The first study into positive thinking used students with depression and had them try and use positive thinking instead.
Researchers found that negative thoughts made the depression worse but that positive thoughts helped to distract the mind and help students control their feelings better. In the 1950s women with depression were given “smile” masks with the intent that if they could see themselves smiling they would be more likely to want to smile themselves. While it may have looked ridiculous and was misguided this was part of what started science looking into positivity.
Another study worked on how negative thoughts change the brain. Yes, negative thoughts can actually change how your brain works. In 2006 a study found that people who were told to “worry” about the task at hand performed poorer than those who were told to “relax”. Negative thoughts actually harmed their ability to do simple tasks. This is especially important if you want to have a success mindset because you need to be able to use those brain cells!
Benefits of Positive Thinking
>Improve heart health
>Prevents High Blood Pressure
>Improves Pain Tolerance
>Enjoy Life More
>Deal Better with Problems
>Form Better Relationships
A surprising trait of successful people is that they don’t tend to look back. They rarely hold regrets over things that have not worked out in the past and are thankful for their present situation. Gratitude is something many of us forget to practice without realizing just how much we have. Part of being grateful is that it motivates you for the future, and motivation is definitely a trait we can recognize in successful people.
Value or worth is something many of us are guilty of defining by money. But, a lot of money does not mean something has value. Many new cars today cost a fortune but within a year that price has dropped significantly even if the car hasn’t gone anywhere. On the other hand, an old or vintage car that may be decades older in the same condition may cost more. Both are cars and both have the same monetary value. However, to the person whose father has recently died and who spent hours restoring the vintage car that one has much greater value because of the memories associated with it.
When we value experience and learning higher than money we are more likely to be happy and successful. The reason for this is that the drive for money can be lonely and shallow, meaning that it’s much harder to stay on that path. By valuing the human elements whenever we’re working on a task we’re much more likely to feel satisfied and complete when it’s finished, even if the outcome isn’t what we planned.
The next time you are dealing with a person who is struggling try and see things as a whole rather than a deadline. If that person is struggling ask if there’s a reason and whether you can help. Helping others has it’s own set of feelings too. The task will more likely be completed on time, that person will be better able to move on, and you will have what you need – a finished task and less stress connected to that.
Part of being successful means being a leader. When you are a leader you are a person people look up to and follow. A leader shows by example what should be done but also inspires others and motivates them to do the same. Motivation, much like gratitude, is infectious.
Getting inspiration can happen from anywhere. The most common roadblock to inspiration is clutter – both mental and physical. Start by doing a little cleaning. Clutter is distracting and often having a clean out will leave you mentally refreshed and energized, both of which are important if you want to keep growing emotionally.
You can also get motivated. By working on your own motivation you’ll become an inspiration for others and help give yourself the tools to become successful. A motivational mindset is one where you drive yourself and create your own motivation. A great way of doing this is to make a board with your goals.
Create a diagram that shows your goal and start putting in what you need to do to get there and what obstacles you may face, then list how you’ll get around those to reach your goals. Doing this means you’re already moving forwards on the journey to success and it’s also a great motivational tool because the journey stops being so scary. By having your journey planned out you can look at the diagram any time your motivation starts to flag or you reach an obstacle that saps your motivation.
Any time you find you’re struggling, successful mindset people keep going. This can’t be said enough but resilience in the face of problems is important to success. Often failure causes us to look backwards and to get stuck wallowing in the past. We stop being grateful for how far we’ve come and we stop working towards the future.
If you’ve reached a stage that you feel like you’re not progressing towards being successful then make a list of things you are grateful for and that have helped you so far. You’ll feel much more accomplished and more likely to keep going.
Being grateful will make you more successfully minded because it also makes you more humble. Success stops being the “only” acceptable outcome because you begin to value the journey and the experience more than the success itself when you practice gratitude.
A good way of getting into the habit of it is to use a gratitude journal. Each day write down at least one thing that you’re grateful for. It doesn’t have to be anything big, it can even be something like your favorite song on the radio with the sun shining. The important thing is that you were alive and able to experience it.
If you dream of being successful then you need the right mindset.
The 5 ways you can cultivate this are:
1. Be Willing to Change or always be a failure
2. See Failure as Opportunity but never an end
3. Set Better Goals to motivate yourself
4. Embrace Positivism to help push yourself forwards
5. Be Grateful for how far you’ve come so you can keep going
Success is not just a straight pathway, there may be obstacles, failures and more along the path. The key to a success mindset however, is to see these as opportunities and to keep going. You are only a failure if you don’t which means you have to continue somewhere even if it’s not the path you planned on.
A mindset of failure is often the thing that stops you being successful which is why positivity is so important. Only by being optimistic and stay true to your purpose can help you achieve the mindset that will bring you infinite success in life.
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To your success,
David C Figueroa- Success Coach
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