By Ricky Kuntemeyer
For a deeper conversation on this topic, listen to the episode of The Fitness Compass Podcast below:
Have these words ever prevented you from pursuing your dream job? Stopped you from booking that perfect vacation? Held you back from trying a new program or commitment? Or even kept you from making time to spend with a loved one? If you are human, which, if you have the ability to be reading this piece I will assume you are, at some point in your life you sold yourself short simply because you believed you were either incapable, unworthy, or unqualified to accomplish a particular task. A recent study has indicated that 75 percent of our self-talk and internal dialogue that we use to describe ourselves or process our actions are negative. We are subconsciously putting ourselves in a box, preventing us to grow and dream.
So how do break our minds out of this box?
Step 1: Understand What Limited Thinking Is
Limited thinking can come in multiple forms and target all aspects of our life. The easiest way to spot a limited though is when preventative words such as “can’t,” “not,” and “shouldn’t” are involved. So telling yourself, “I can’t stop myself from eating ice cream,” or “I am not good enough,” or “I shouldn’t make such foolish dreams,” are all examples of limited thoughts.
Step 2: Become Aware of the Limited Thought
The next step is to do some self-reflection indicate what aspects of your life are you experiencing these limiting thoughts. Are they occurring in light of your health? Your career? Your relationships? Narrow your focus to one particular category of your life at a time to effectively seek the root of the problem.
Step 3: Acknowledge Why the Limited Thought Exists
These thoughts did not start happening out of thin air, it was planted there. Did you or someone close to you attempt to try something similar but failed? Has someone in your past told you were not good enough? Was there an event in your childhood that you still have not processed?
Step 4: Acknowledge the Root of Limited Thoughts
Once the specific cause of the limited thought is brought to light, the next step is to understand the cause behind each limited thought: fear. Fear that the negative words people have instilled into your mind are true, fear that you will be hurt once again, or fear this is all life has to offer and you are trapped where you are.
Step 5: “Do Something Every Day That Scares You” – Eleanor Roosevelt
“WHAT?!” you screaming at your screen, “But Ricky, I want to stay away from what is scary! Facing my fears is difficult, it is imposing, and I much rather stay where it is comfortable.”
Well, dear reader, hear me out.
Use a method called Micro Bravery, a concept used by one of San Francisco’s first female firefighter, Caroline Paul. This tactic encourages you to do small acts of bravery to build your courage daily as if you were a muscle, training it in preparation for the moment which will require a large load of courage.
Imagine you were a track athlete and will be competing in the 100m sprint in 3 months. You won’t wait until the day of your race to run and expect to win, but you would train on developing your muscles’ power output, biomechanic form, and all conditions that go into optimizing those 100 meters of rubber. Just with your greatest fears, you must set the circumstances in your life to optimize the moment in which you must face those fears head on.
Step 6: Embrace the Fear
I need to tell you something that is vitally important to this process: fear is not bad. I repeat, fear is NOT bad. Fear is what pushes us to survive, it is what drives us to put in an extra hour at work to make ends meet, to feed you and your family, and so forth. Fear does not indicate “bad,” but rather signals a challenge, and each challenge is an opportunity to grow.
Step 7: Embrace Failure
Thomas Edison once famously said, “I did not fail to make the light bulb 10,000 times, but found 10,000 ways how not make one.” Edison needed to fail in order to succeed. Success does not occur overnight but is nurtured cruelly by trial and error. Want to know how many great innovators, revolutionists and masters of their craft created change or reached their peak on their first try?
At the end of the day, there is no such thing as “good enough,” because there is no ceiling to how great you can truly be nor to what you can accomplish in your life. You are the only person who is stopping you; do not let your fear of failure prevent you from reaching your dreams.
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I have been trusted to take the game-winning shot, and missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” –Michael Jordan
Go out and fail, my friend.
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Don’t forget to smile today.
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