Phrases we often dismiss as harmless self-talk can silently plant seeds of self-doubt and limit our potential to achieve great things.
“I can’t,” “I’m not good enough,” and “I’ll never succeed” become self-fulfilling prophecies.
And it’s these invisible shackles that prevent us from fully realizing our capabilities.
To be really successful in life, we need to stop repeating them and dismantle our mental barriers.
The journey to success, after all, begins in the mind.
1) “I can’t do it“
We often minimize the power of our thoughts, but when it comes to the language we use to define ourselves, they can have a significant impact on our lives and our future.
We often repeat to ourselves, “I can’t do it” and “I’m not strong enough” whenever we start thinking about stepping out of the status quo and looking for new opportunities in life.
For a good part of my life, I was the same. It wasn’t until I finally decided enough is enough and swapped these words with ones that encouraged me.
- “I’m in control of my success,” or
- “I am resourceful and can find solutions to any challenge.”
2) “I’m just unlucky”
Many people like to blame luck for the success or failure in their lives.
Take responsibility for your actions and outcomes instead of attributing success or failure solely to luck.
Instead of waiting for luck to come to you, create your own opportunities. Take proactive steps, network, and explore different routes to open doors for yourself.
3) “I’m a failure”
Failure is a normal part of life, and to be successful, you need to start realizing it. See setbacks as chances for development and learning, and maintain a positive attitude.
Otherwise, the fear of failure will hinder your progress and hold you back from taking risks.
Grow a thick skin, and don’t define yourself by temporary setbacks or failures.
But you also need to stop comparing yourself to others.
4) “I’m not as good as others”
Comparing yourself to your peers or other successful people will do you more harm than good.
You must be aware that you’re only seeing one small piece of their lives. The one they embellish and present to the world. Underneath is an iceberg of self-doubt, insecurity, and anxiety.
That’s not the part they want you to see in most cases. Therefore, focus on self-improvement and progress rather than competing with others.
5) “I’m too old/young”
Age is just a number. I’m sure you’ve heard this saying before. It means you’re never too old or young to do things in life. Things that matter.
Many successful people have achieved greatness at various stages of life. We’ve all seen 70-year-old bodybuilders on social media and 6-year-old kids that speak 5 languages.
They may be talented in their field, but they also put in the hard work. Do you think you just one day wake up knowing different languages?
No. You sit down and learn them or go out and talk to the speakers of these languages. Embrace the advantages of your age and make them work for you.
I can already hear you saying this next thing…
6) “I don’t have time”
This one sentence has killed far too many success stories of people eager to accomplish great things.
Prioritizing and managing your time effectively by focusing on activities that align with your goals is one of the greatest skills you can have, period.
To become a better, more accomplished person, someone who people will look up to, you need to prioritize your goals and make time for what truly matters.
Stop scrolling social media or browsing the internet for hours at a time. (But only after you finish reading this article.)
7) “I don’t deserve success”
The sense of self-worth is another chokepoint in many people’s road to success. If you truly think you don’t deserve success for some reason, it could be a sign of imposter syndrome, which I already mentioned above.
Why wouldn’t you deserve success? What makes someone else a better person than you? Remember that you deserve success as much as anyone else.
Simply start focusing on your achievements, and celebrate your progress along the way.
8) “I’m not smart enough”
If you think that you aren’t smart enough to achieve great things, know that intelligence isn’t the sole determinant factor of success.
There are many reasons for that. I can think of quite a few off the top of my head.
Boredom, overthinking, procrastination, and lack of other skills (marketing, business, money) are just some of them.
Remember that hard work beats talent anytime and that natural talent isn’t the only path to success.
9) “I’ll start tomorrow”
I just mentioned procrastination. I struggle with it almost on a weekly basis with some things like working out, cleaning the house, etc.
On the other side, I almost never struggle with delaying things that consider my work or my family.
If you have trouble getting started, outline smaller steps and deal with them one by one. For instance, when I can’t get my ass off the couch to start working out, I trick my mind by committing to 10 push-ups and 10 dips. That’s it.
Once I do that, my heart is already pumping and ready to continue working out.
11) “I can’t change”
If you’re repeating this to yourself, you have to think about why you do that. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is this belief really true?
- What evidence supports or disputes this belief?
- What is the impact of this view on my life?
- How would my life be different if I didn’t hold this sentiment?
Now start countering any self-limiting beliefs with a positive, empowering alternative. For example, instead of “I can’t do it,” start saying, “I can figure this out.”
12) “I’m not a leader”
Some people are born as natural leaders. The vast majority aren’t. But here’s the thing, you don’t have to be the next Gandhi to deserve success or even lead large swaths of people.
Leadership is a skill that you can learn and develop. For that reason, you shouldn’t shy away from any opportunities where you could lead others.
Instead, embrace them whenever you can.
13) “I don’t have the right connections”
While it’s true that some companies, fields, and industries rely heavily on connections, and you can’t get much ahead without them, that doesn’t mean you can’t attend events, join online communities, and reach out to people in your industry.
Networking, just like leadership, is a skill that can be learned and evolved. It’s never too late to start building your network, meet other people, and make the right connections.
14) “I don’t have any good ideas”
If you’re not lucky enough to have an apple fall on your head and have a brilliant idea just like that, you’re in good company.
Most inventors had bucketloads of downright bad ideas that I’m sure they are very much ashamed of now.
But everyone has the capacity for creativity and innovation. And I mean everyone. You just need to encourage yourself to brainstorm and be open to new ideas – you might surprise yourself.
A famous example of a person that only had a good idea later in life is the inventor of the Morse code – Samuel Morse.
In his early 50s, Morse co-invented the Morse code and helped develop the commercial telegraph, which was a significant leap forward in communication technology in the 19th century.
15) “It’s all or nothing”
If you’re a perfectionist, this saying can significantly stifle your success. The truth is, real progress and success are usually the result of a series of small steps and improvements.
Building a skyscraper doesn’t happen all at once, but rather one layer at a time, slowly and steadily.
Books are also finished by writing one word, sentence, and paragraph at a time, not in a single inspired flurry of activity.
I hope this article helped you realize what might be suppressing your success in life.
Although, you have to be aware that success is a subjective term, and what might be a success for some might be a downright failure for others.
Just keep growing, week by week, and start by reading what qualities successful leaders have and how to develop them.
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