1. We subconsciously hold back because we’re afraid of the disappointment and embarrassment of failing, even though we gave our all.
We may not notice that we’re doing this, but chances are we do it more than we think. It’s understandable, really. Nothing feels worse than trying our hardest and still seeing that it’s not enough. Rejection hurts, and just like any cold shoulder or eye roll at a club, this can get us down. So instead of risking the pain, we decide we’d better hold back because then at least we’ll avoid rejection. But this defense mechanism will ultimately do nothing more than hold us back from our greatest potential.
2. We spend too much time thinking about Plan B and Plan C, instead of focusing all of our energy on Plan A.
Nothing is wrong with having a backup plan. The problems only arise when said backup plan is more thorough than our original plan. The energy we use to protect ourselves in this way can oftentimes prevent us from success that could have been ours. We need to give our ideas and creations all the love and attention that they need, and focus on an escape route if and when we need one.
3. We think we’ve failed if we didn’t meet the exact goal that we set out to accomplish — essentially, we overuse the word failure.
“I didn’t get the job, so I failed.” Sure, not meeting our original goals can feel a lot like failure, but to accept this discredits all of the work and growth we experienced in the process. While we didn’t get the job, maybe we learned what some of our weaknesses are, and what our strengths in the application process were. Now we can use these to our advantage for the next opportunity — the one that’s really meant for us. In general, we need to stop crippling ourselves with the word failure and actively look for the silver lining (actively being the key word).
4. We see the glamour of success in all fields, but forget about the hard work.
Everyone dreams about working at the top of their respective field, whether that be Vogue for fashionistas, the NFL for footballers, or Thought Catalog for writers (*wink wink*), and so on and so forth. What our dreams always leave out, unfortunately, is the hard work. Despite the fact that we live in a hyper-connected world where editors, recruiters and scouts are just a tweet away, the reality of reaching our dreams is farther away than ever before. Our dreams can feel so close and tangible, but allowing ourselves to get lost in the magic of passion will ultimately get us nowhere.
5. We strive to be like other people, instead of being the best version of ourselves.
At the end of the day, we should never try to be someone else. Maybe we see a particular personality type doing well in the world — rude and first-world-complain-y people on social media, for example. But trying to succeed by mimicking them will never lead us to happiness. We’ll only reach emotional, mental, and professional satisfaction by defining, building, and sharing ourselves. Let’s remember it this way (regardless of how simple or dumb it may sound): Pepsi will never be the best Coke, and Coke will never be the best Pepsi — so all they can do is develop and change to be the best Coke and Pepsi that they can be.
6. We don’t take care of ourselves enough.
In this modern, angsty day, all-nighters have become all too common (and cool, in a way). There’s no clear explanation for this change, nor any solid evidence that this is any different from previous generations. What is clear, however, are the blatant effects of poor self-care. We don’t need to eat veggies with every meal, or cut out our favorite snacks. It doesn’t take an expert to know what to do — eat three whole meals a day, and get more than four hours of sleep. Minimal exercise doesn’t hurt either. These all do a world of wonder for productivity and brain power.