We all live in our own worlds. And what we tell ourselves about the world around us becomes our experience.
Sometimes, then, the biggest thing holding you back from success is your own inner monologue.
Your mindset shapes your reality. So if you really want to be successful, stop telling yourself these 9 things:
1) “I can’t”
This is the first thing to stop telling yourself if you want incredible success.
Henry Ford, one of the most successful businessmen of all time, used to say, “whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.”
In other words, your own beliefs about what is and isn’t possible determine what you will achieve.
On the other hand, I’m not going to tell you that thing that people sometimes say when they are trying to encourage others, that you can be anything you set your mind to.
That’s clearly not true. You’re never going to be the president of the United States if you weren’t born in the country, for example.
But the goals that are truly out of your reach are relatively rare. Almost everything else is achievable, but first you have to believe it is to put in the effort it will take to get there.
Stop focusing on what you can’t do. Instead, approach life with the mindset that anything is achievable, and you’ll find yourself amazed by where you can get.
2) “It’s too hard”
If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it.
And nothing truly worth doing is ever easy.
Look at the lives of people you admire. Whether it’s athletes, entrepreneurs, or artists, not one of them got to where they were without significant struggle and moments of crushing self-doubt.
Whatever your dreams are, it’s probably going to be a hard road to get there.
You know what’s even harder? Living a life that doesn’t suit you because you were too afraid to go after what you wanted.
As Nelson Mandela once said, “it always seems impossible until it’s done.”
If he could go from being a prisoner under the brutal apartheid system to becoming the president of South Africa, you can achieve your goals, no matter how hard they are.
3) “If only…”
This is one of the most dangerous things you can tell yourself if you want to be successful.
Here’s the thing: there will always be something wrong. There will always be something you believe you need to achieve your dreams that you don’t have.
It might be money. It might be time. It might be abilities, connections, or a stable home life.
But if you wait for everything to be right, you’ll never even start.
The only time to do anything is now. And focusing on what you don’t have and what isn’t right about your situation will only convince you not to try.
Leadership coach Beverly Jones points out that the phrase ‘if only’ is a way of letting yourself off the hook. Blaming the past for the problems of today is counterproductive, and can only keep you from achieving the things you want.
4) “I’m not good enough”
Even the most successful and accomplished people question themselves from time to time. The difference is, they don’t stay in that place of self-doubt.
Consultant and writer Tchiki Davis writes that self-doubt can lead to imposter syndrome, which causes us to question the achievements we have made and makes us feel as if we don’t deserve what we have.
And that’s not a mindset that will help you succeed in life.
To overcome self-doubt, she recommends:
- Unconditional love for yourself
- Refusing to base your self-worth on external factors like how much money you make or what people think of you
- Developing a growth mindset
- Using positive self-talk to keep yourself encouraged.
5) “I don’t have enough money”
I’m not trying to minimize the struggles people go through. I’ve been poor myself, and it makes it almost impossible to focus on anything but day-to-day survival, meaning personal growth and development go straight out the window.
Remember, the whole purpose of money is to make you feel like you never have enough of it.
And yes, if you’re trying to start an investment bank with the money in your pocket, you probably don’t have enough.
So you need to find a way to make some more.
Don’t let a lack of money hold you back. There’s always some way you can be working toward your dreams, no matter what’s in your bank account.
6) “I don’t have the time”
Like money, time is a scarce resource. In fact, in some ways, time is far more precious than money, because there is no way to make more of it and no way to know how much you have left.
When you have a busy life (and who doesn’t?) It’s difficult to carve out time to pursue your dreams.
But difficult is not the same as impossible.
I had a full-time job at the same time as I was starting a new business in a new city and publishing a novel. It meant that for well over a year, I basically abandoned any attempt to enjoy myself.
I worked all day, then came home at night and worked on the computer, either developing my new business or working on my book.
Was it hard? Absolutely. Was it worth it? Definitely.
If you really want to succeed, you’ll find the time to make it happen.
If you don’t, maybe it’s because you didn’t want it that badly.
7) “What will people think?”
There are few worse things to worry about than what others think.
Your definition of success is probably different from mine, and it may be different from anybody else’s. But it’s your vision that you have to pursue.
After all, this is your life.
I can guarantee you that some other people won’t understand. Some may even be critical of your choices and tell you that you are doing the wrong thing.
Marketing professor Raj Raghunathan points out that constantly worrying about what other people think can lead to anxiety, which in turn leads to poorer performance.
But focusing on others instead of yourself by being kind and considerate can break you out of this cycle and help you focus on people other than yourself.
8) “If it’s meant to be, it will happen”
So far, I’ve mostly focused on some of the more negative things you can tell yourself. But this platitude, while well-meaning, can also be self-defeating.
Telling yourself that if you are on the right path, the universe will align to give you what you want encourages you to be passive and not work toward your goals.
As if that’s not enough, it can give you an excuse to quit on your dreams by telling yourself it wasn’t in the cards from the start.
Here’s the thing: nothing is meant to be until it is. The universe is indifferent to your success.
And that’s good news. It means if something is going to be, only you can make it happen.
9) “What if I fail?”
Finally, this is one of the biggest things people tell themselves to avoid success.
Let me tell you this: you almost certainly will fail.
And the bigger the dream you’re chasing, the more likely you are to fail, possibly even in spectacular ways.
As Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Failure is what success is built out of, the same way castles are built from rocks.
Get comfortable with failure, and you’ll find yourself on the path to success.
Stop talking yourself out of success
Success requires hard work, self belief, confidence, and willingness to fail.
No wonder it’s not easy.
But you’ll only make it harder to achieve your goals if you tell yourself these nine things.
Instead, banish these terms from your vocabulary and watch your life improve.