We all have dreams of success, whether it’s a high-flying career, a loving family, or just a life filled with purpose.
But sometimes, the roadmap we’ve followed turns out to be a maze of dead ends.
If you feel like you’re spinning your wheels and getting nowhere, it might be time to unlearn some of the ‘truths’ you’ve held onto.
In this article, I’ll share 8 things you need to forget if you want to find your unique path to success. Trust me, letting go can be liberating.
1) Fear of failure
Failure might seem like the opposite of success, but in reality, they go hand in hand. It’s impossible to reach true success without having gone through failure — and usually a lot of it.
In fact, one highly successful high diver said “I’m where I am now because I’ve failed more times than others have tried.”
When we think of successful people, we can easily assume that they’ve always been successful, or that success came easily to them.
But dive deep into their story, and you’ll find out that their failures are often even more numerous than their successes.
For example, J.K. Rowling was rejected by 12 publishers before someone agreed to publish Harry Potter.
Michael Jordan has also said, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.”
What sets these people apart is not that they have never failed – it’s that they keep going anyways.
2) The need for instant gratification
We live in a world of now — instant messages, fast food, one-day deliveries. Our brains are hardwired to seek immediate rewards. And don’t get me wrong, it’s not always bad; it’s thrilling to feel the rush of a quick win.
But let’s face it, folks. The real gems in life rarely come easy or fast.
Think about planting a tree. You put a seed in the ground and water it, but it doesn’t sprout overnight.
It takes weeks, even months, of nurturing before you start to see any green poking out of the soil. And even then, it takes years for it to grow tall and sturdy, providing shade and fruit.
Success is often just like that tree. It’s a long-term investment, not a scratch-off lottery ticket.
For instance, let’s look at Warren Buffett, one of the most successful investors of all time. He didn’t become a billionaire overnight. His strategy is all about long-term investment. Buffet even says, “The stock market is designed to transfer money from the impatient to the patient.”
When you learn to delay gratification, you’re not just building self-control; you’re building a future you’ll be proud of.
Perfectionism is the need to get everything just right. It sounds like a quality to aspire to, doesn’t it? But hold on a minute. Striving for perfection can actually trip you up more than it lifts you.
Imagine you’re painting a room. You’re so obsessed with getting the edges absolutely perfect that you never actually finish painting.
Meanwhile, someone else who’s not stuck on perfection completes their room and moves on to the next project. And, they’ll have learned from each one and continue improving their skills.
Take a lesson from Thomas Edison. He had over a thousand unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. If he’d aimed for perfection, he would’ve quit long before his moment of triumph.
So, ditch the idea that everything has to be flawless. It’s okay to aim high, but remember that progress beats perfection every time.
Make mistakes, learn from them, and keep moving. You’ll be amazed at how far you can go.
4) Seeking external validation
We all love a pat on the back, don’t we? Hearing praise from friends, family, or even strangers can give us a real boost.
But here’s the trap: when we start relying on external validation, we’re handing over the reins of our happiness to someone else.
It’s like baking a cake and needing everyone to say it’s delicious before believing it yourself. What happens when someone doesn’t like it? Does that make your efforts worthless?
Famed painter Vincent van Gogh was virtually unknown during his lifetime. Yet, he kept painting because it brought him joy, not because others clapped for him.
So the next time you find yourself fishing for compliments or seeking approval, stop and reflect.
Your worth isn’t determined by others’ opinions. March to the beat of your own drum, and the right people will join your parade.
5) Comparison to others
Ever catch yourself scrolling through social media, envying people’s picture-perfect lives? Or maybe you’ve looked at a colleague and thought, “Why can’t I be that successful?”
It’s natural to compare, but it’s also like quicksand for your self-esteem.
Consider the story of the tortoise and the hare. The hare was fast and flashy, but it was the tortoise’s steady pace that won the race.
They were different, but both had their own unique strengths.
Just like that tortoise, you have your own pace and path. Keep your eyes on your own journey, not someone else’s highlight reel.
Remember, everyone has their struggles and setbacks, even if they don’t show it. Success isn’t a one-size-fits-all shirt; it’s tailored to fit each of us differently.
So don’t measure your worth by someone else’s ruler. Your journey is yours alone, and that’s what makes it special.
6) Fixed mindset
Ever heard the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”? Well, that’s a classic example of a fixed mindset — the belief that our abilities are set in stone.
However, as Dr. Carol Dweck explains in her book Mindset, that’s totally not true.
Think about kids learning to walk. They stumble and fall, again and again. If they had a fixed mindset, they’d never get past the crawling stage.
But they don’t; they keep trying until they’re running around like tiny Olympians.
It’s never too late to learn or change. Albert Einstein didn’t speak fluently until he was nine, but he didn’t let that hold him back from becoming one of the greatest physicists ever.
So if you find yourself saying, “I can’t do this,” change it to, “I can’t do this yet.” That little word ‘yet’ opens the door to growth and future success.
7) Ignoring your intuition
Sometimes we’re so bogged down with data, advice, and the noise of the world that we forget to listen to our gut.
You know, that inner voice nudging you when something doesn’t feel right or urging you to take a chance on something that does?
Ignoring that intuition is like tossing a treasure map because you’re not sure it will lead to gold.
But that ‘map,’ your intuition, is often the result of your subconscious mind piecing together clues that your conscious mind hasn’t caught up to yet.
Think of Oprah Winfrey, who turned down numerous “good” offers before choosing the path that felt right to her. She went with her gut and built an empire.
Trust yourself more. Your intuition is your internal compass, guiding you through the maze of life.
Listening to it might just be the shortcut you need to reach your true potential.
8) Being too serious
Life has its ups and downs, but who says you can’t have a little fun along the way? When we’re too serious, we create unnecessary stress and forget to enjoy the journey.
It’s like going on a road trip and only staring at the asphalt instead of taking in the scenery.
Did you know that Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, is known for his playful attitude? His willingness to enjoy the process has not only made him successful but also someone people genuinely enjoy being around.
So, loosen up a bit. Crack a joke, laugh at yourself, or simply take a break to do something you love. Remember, success is not just about the destination; it’s about enjoying the ride, too.
Unchain your potential: let go to grow
There you have it, my friends — eight chains that could be holding you back from reaching your full potential.
We often think that to move ahead, we have to keep adding — more knowledge, more skills.
But sometimes, the real growth comes from letting go.
You see, life isn’t static; it’s an ever-changing, ever-evolving journey. Clinging to outdated beliefs or unproductive habits is like trying to sail a boat with its anchor down.
And the more you pile on without shedding what’s unneeded, the harder it is to move forward.
The real key to progress isn’t just about learning; it’s also about unlearning. It’s about recognizing these anchors in your life, these chains that hold you back, and being willing to cut them loose.
Once you do, you’ll find that your ship can finally set sail, towards your dreams and your own idea of success.