Have you ever been in a situation where you’re halfway through your project and suddenly something makes you feel like you can’t complete it the way you want? Out of nowhere, your mind reminds you of the past mistakes, the bad reviews, and the people who are ready to celebrate your failure. Then you sit back and ponder about giving up, ultimately delaying the work, and sometimes, never completing it.
Well, you’re not alone!
We all doubt our abilities at some point as the voices from inside remind us of all the negative things that keep us from moving forward. But in no way do I mean these voices reflect who you actually are. However, if you can’t deal with them properly, you’ll waste a significant amount of time just figuring out what you’re actually capable of. It may eventually hurt your productivity.
These voices are the actual criticisms delivered by real people, and they would’ve never become such a big deal had your mind not nurtured them and made them millions of times more effective than they actually were. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore them altogether.
If you’ve been following your passion for a while and not producing the results you want, you may want to follow me on this journey.
You’re undoubtedly the best at what you love, but there are a few important things you need to know and a few important rules you need to follow. Be it the negative voices in your head or yourself as the biggest obstacles between you and your goals, you should learn to identify and deal with them.
Let’s dive in
Chapter 1: The early stage. Are you in the right direction?
Being able to pursue your dreams is a fantastic feeling. If followed correctly, you may have all the freedom you want—financial or personal. However, you can’t just jump blindly without asking yourself some of these serious questions: what if you fail? What if you invest your entire wealth and life in something that was never meant to come true?
It’s crucial to know that the dream you’re following is achievable, or at least you’re capable of achieving it. Most people dive in without planning properly, without understanding the goal from different dimensions, and without knowing the core elements required to make something happen. That’s why most startups fail miserably.
It’s better to be safe than sorry. So, if you are on a mission, make sure you have all the components that help you achieve it. In order to do that, you should prepare yourself for it. It may include changing your habits, learning required skills, and transforming how you think and look at the world around you.
Understand yourself on a deeper level
You may think no one knows you better than yourself. Well, you might be right, but at the same time, you might be wrong. How well you understand yourself depends on how you view your actions—whether you have a single perspective or you see yourself from different perspectives. It’s absolutely crucial to judge yourself from different perspectives.
If you think you’re flawless and your point of view is the ultimate truth, you’re not even close to knowing yourself.
Our mind is really biased when it comes to judging ourselves. It may approve of all your greatness, but it may never teach you to acknowledge your weaknesses. It’s called self-serving bias. Most of us ignore our weaknesses and the fact that we could go wrong. Accepting flaws could be very tough for some people as they, by default, do not want to accept suggestions from people who they find inferior. Getting rid of self-serving bias can transform the way we think, and ultimately, perform.
If you can’t acknowledge your weaknesses clearly, then who possibly could? Maybe people around you. People around you who deal with you every day may know you better, at least in terms of how you fare with the world around you. They could be your spouse, your best friend, or your colleagues at work.
Asking people around you about what they think are the areas you may need to improve to become a better person could be a great way to understand yourself in a better way. Furthermore, knowing what you’re not capable of is more important than knowing what you can do because it will allow you to learn things or skills that you don’t have. It will also help you think critically, listen to others, and validate external ideas. At the end of the day, you’ll never make it if everyone around you hates you.
The Dunning-Kruger effect is the real deal
Recently, I’ve been finding it interesting to examine how people judge themselves. The best way to kick it off is by examining your own story—by analyzing how your judgment towards yourself has changed over the years. If it hasn’t, you’re yet to encounter many interesting things in life.
People with little knowledge are often deceived into thinking that they are experts. It may not be the worst thing because I’ve seen (so-called) successful people with this very mindset, but it may be a roadblock to your growth. Once you think you have nothing else to learn, you stop growing, and that’s when you fall behind in so many fields. As time passes, you will start hating people who have different views than yours. Worse, you keep engaging in topics you have no idea about. Though you may look fine from the outside, you’ll never be happy about anything.
There’s a simple way to fix it: Learn as much as you can.
We often see people performing poorly and yet following their passion. These people falsely think they are the best at what they do. Sadly, what we suggest to them is often wrong. We tell them to quit their passion because they aren’t good at it. What we should tell them is that they have a great love for the job, but they need to upgrade their skills to get to where they want to be. No one was born a master. You need consistent dedication and knowledge along the way to become good at something.
If you’re in the early stage of your career, always remember—there’s a lot to learn. Therefore, always focus on improving yourself rather than trying to prove that you’re good at what you do. If you put your continuous effort into something, you’ll ultimately become good at it, regardless of your background. But you need a significant amount of patience for that, along with constant dedication.
Chapter 2: The reward
If you’re more into listening than talking in the early stage of your career, then you’re in the right direction. More importantly, learning is a never-ending process. Though you have spent a considerable time learning about skills, manners, and people around you, you still have a lot to learn.
The problem is that once you know you have a lot to learn, you’ll begin doubting your abilities. It’s where you should trick your mind again to have the confidence you had during the early stages of your career.
Our mind constantly provides us with choices
About three years ago, a friend of mine recommended to me a folk-punk band named Andrew Jackson Jihad. It’s a musical group that explores the darkest depths of humanity through its lyrics. And unsurprisingly, one of their albums (people who can eat people are the luckiest people in the world) frequently shouts at us for being shitty.
The reason I love Andrew Jackson Jihad is that it reminds me of our darkest side that we otherwise don’t care about.
Our mind constantly encourages us to do so many things – good and horrible – and we make choices, sidelining the options we don’t prefer to go with. But under favorable conditions, we may choose the most inhumane act, exposing what we really are from the inside.
However, it’s not the point I want to make here. I want to discuss how our mind discourages the very choice it gives once we decide to go for it. We should learn to deal with our minds because they can become our greatest critics at certain points.
There was a time when I was about to give up my passion — that took years to build — because of overwhelming rejections. My mind had been constantly suggesting to quit. So I thought about starting something new. However, I then realized the same will repeat in the future if I wasn’t unable to deal with my thoughts. So, instead of quitting, I opted to improve and focus on the bright side—the reward.
Focusing on the bright side can be a game-changer
Facing your problems is the best way to deal with them. To do that, you need to make a move. However, negative thoughts may shed a light on all the horrible things that could happen along the way and delay your journey. That’s why you need to combat your negative thoughts, and the best way to do it is by focusing on the positive side.
Tricking your mind to focus on the rewards will automatically help you avoid negative thoughts and find solutions to possible problems. You could end up embarrassing yourself, or people could make fun of your work. But whatever happens, you’ll complete your task. If it comes out well, awesome. If it doesn’t, you’ll learn so many important lessons.
If you ever have doubts about yourself, always remember that the biggest obstacle between you and your goals is yourself. Your mind always wants you to keep yourself within your comfort zone. But you’ll never find real success if you don’t break free from that comfort zone and start facing the difficulties. All problems come with solutions. Once you begin solving them, you won’t realize how quickly your goals have been achieved.