What if your yearly checkup revealed that you had only 6 months to live?
How would this knowledge impact your life? Are there things you would do differently? There’s a good chance that you have a dream or goal that’s been neglected, and you’d spend the time you had left pursuing it. This begs an important question, however: If you can’t stand the thought of dying without having pursued this goal, then why aren’t you pursuing it now?
All too often I see people who talk themselves out of their passions due to fear, doubt, and an inability to believe in themselves. In many cases, social conditioning and the expectations of others contribute to this fear and self-doubt. Thankfully, both of these issues are preventable. If you’re one of these people, you don’t have to live this way anymore..
Pursuing your passion is a prerequisite to experiencing genuine happiness and fulfilment. This article will cover 7 toxic beliefs that keep you from pursuing your passion, fulfilling your dreams, and reaching your goals. If you don’t deal with these toxic beliefs, sooner or later when will come back to bite you.
My hope is that, by the end of this article, you’ll have replaced some of your old toxic beliefs by some new, empowering beliefs and take the first step towards your goals.
Toxic Belief # 1: Thinking you need to be an expert
“Everyone has something to offer.” –Cindy McDonald
Do you ever feel like you don’t know enough? Have you experienced the feeling of being fraud? If so, you probably feel that you don’t know enough to follow your dreams. This simply isn’t true. It’s important to realize that you don’t need to have extensive knowledge of everything to follow your passion.
Your expertise isn’t that big of a deal in the scheme of things. In reality, the most important question is whether you have something that other people could benefit from. If the answer is yes, then your expertise (or lack thereof) isn’t that important.
You might wonder if you have something that other people need, or feel as if you have little to offer. Yet being able to add value to someone else’s life isn’t as hard as it sounds.
Let’s say you chose a subject that you had no knowledge or interest in, bought 3 books from leading experts on the topic, and read them in a week or two. This alone would make you more knowledgeable on the topic than over 95% of the population.
So what’s stopping you from creating a niche blog about it, writing a book on the topic, and eventually positioning yourself as an expert on the subject? It’s entirely possible, even with something you have little to no interest in.
Imagine what you could do if it was something you were truly passionate about! How eager would you be to learn about the topic? How much more time and effort would you be willing to put into it? Think of how much you could teach other people after a few months or even a few weeks.
Once you reach the stage where you know a lot about your topic (which might not take very long), you’ll already have enough material to help others. At that point, your success will depend mainly on the two following things:
1) Marketing– You need to have a product or a service that people want. What people want can sometimes be simpler than what you were trying to create in the first place. In any case, people have to know about what you’re offering. After all, no one can purchase a product or service that they’re unaware of. This is why marketing plays such a huge role in how well you’ll do.
2) How much you believe in yourself and what you’re doing– Belief is crucial to success. When you hold an unshakeable belief that you have the ability to achieve your goal, you’ll be able to persist longer than the vast majority of people. Aside from giving you an edge, believing in yourself and your goal will eventually allow you to live your dreams and devote your life to what you truly love.
So, what is it that you’re passionate about? What can you do today that would start moving you closer to your dreams? It doesn’t have to be huge. In fact, it’s better if it isn’t! Just think of one simple step you can take and get started.
Check out my video “Why You Can Become An Expert Too”
Toxic Belief #2: Thinking you have to be phenomenally smart or talented to pursue your passion
“I’ve never really viewed myself as particularly talented, where I excel is ridiculous, sickening, work-ethic. You know while the other guys sleeping, I’m working, while the other guy’s eating, I’m working.”– Will Smith
You don’t need to be incredibly smart to live your dreams, or even to become a multimillionaire. Whether you realize it or not, you have the ability to learn any skills necessary to achieve your most exciting goals. Maybe you need become good at public speaking, marketing, persuasion, or leadership. Or perhaps you need to develop discipline, self-esteem, and perseverance. Alternatively, self-awareness and decisiveness might be among the skills you need to acquire. It really doesn’t matter what you need to learn or what skill you need to gain. Practice and hard work will allow you to master just about anything!
Life is Made of Patterns
So much can be achieved through repetition. The incredibly successful people that you see as amazingly talented usually aren’t as talented as you think. In reality, their success is typically linked to the fact that they have done the very thing you’re admiring millions of times. They’ve practiced every day for years or even decades.
For instance, I’ve always been amazed by chess players and their extraordinary memory. A quick glance is all it takes for them to remember the location of all the pieces on the board. Or is it? Studies have shown that if you place the pieces on the board randomly, a chess player’s memory is no significantly better than that of an average person who doesn’t play chess. This is because chess players are used to certain patterns that they’ve had repeated exposure to. When the pieces on the chessboard don’t match anything they’re familiar with, chess players lose their seemingly superhuman memory.
This brings me to my main point, which is that mastering a skill or becoming really good at something is rooted in noticing patterns. Life contains a vast array of patterns. It’s no surprise, then, that the more you practice something, the better you become at recognizing its patterns and ultimately mastering it. This applies to all areas of your life.
Even human interactions, which are rooted in psychology, contain a vast number of patterns. That’s why someone who has coached thousands of people will be far better at it than someone who has only coached a few people. The person with more experience will have had the time to identify specific patterns and, based on these patterns, provide better results to their clients. The same goes for sales. Customers may come up with all kind of objections, but a seasoned salesman will be able to overcome most of them because he has been in the same situations countless times in the past. He recognizes the patterns.
Success as a whole can be seen as a process that consists of certain patterns. For more on that check out my article “The Recipe for Success” for more on that subject. This is why you don’t need to worry too much about your ability to learn something new. It might seem daunting at first, and even scary. With enough practice, however, you’ll find yourself doing things that you once deemed impossible.
To sum things up, you don’t need to be the smartest person in the world to achieve your goals. Life is largely made of patterns and, through repetition, you can learn these patterns in any area of your life.
Toxic Belief #3: Thinking you need to be good at everything
“One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.”– Tony Robbins
Are you trying to be good at everything? I hope not because excelling at a few things and sucking at the rest is perfectly okay. In fact, it’s typically more effective to focus on a few things you are good at in order to master them than to spend time working on something that isn’t your strong suit.
There might be just one or two things that you’re great or good at AND enjoy doing, but that can still make a huge difference in your life if you put in the time and effort needed to master them. Most successful people are only exceptional at one or two things. It could be marketing, public speaking, finance, or basketball. It could also be writing or cooking, among a whole host of other skills. Either way, they are rarely amazing at more than one or two things.
It might sound counterintuitive, but becoming great at something you enjoy doing is also a powerful way to boost your self-esteem. You’ll gain more confidence by excelling at one thing than you will by being average at a bunch of things. Your ability to muster the self-discipline needed to practice something until you master it gives you the kind of confidence that will allow you to master anything you choose to focus on in life.
So yes, you can be terrible at 99% of the things you do but still be very successful and exude confidence. You certainly don’t need to be perfect, but you do need to figure out what you’re good at. The following tips will help you find out:
1) Look for things in your life that seem so easy and effortless to you that you can’t understand how anyone could find them the least bit difficult.
2) Think about the things people routinely praise you for, even if you don’t think they’re a big deal.
With that in mind, what do you do well at? What is the one thing that, if you became exceptionally good at it, would allow you to create powerful results in your life?
Toxic Belief #4: Thinking that marketing is evil and beneath you
“All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”– Tom Peters
Do you hate promoting yourself? If so, I’ve got a simple piece of advice for you: Get over it! Think about it. What’s the point of working hard on your passions and dreams if no one has ever heard of you and your products or services? Why would you spend countless hours creating things that could make a difference in other people’s lives if you’re not going to do anything to get them to those who need it the most?
If you believe that what you’re doing is so fantastic that you don’t have to promote yourself and people will find about it on their own, you’re deluding yourself. In today’s world, where we’re constantly bombarded with books, movies, products, and services, you can’t expect people to find you through word-of-mouth alone. You have to take the time to learn to market and SERIOUSLY put yourself out there. If not, you’ll die poor and wondering why nobody ever acknowledged your incredible talent.
If that doesn’t move you, here’s another way to look at this toxic belief: Refusing to market and do what it takes to put your product in the hands of people who could benefit from it is selfish. So swallow your pride and put yourself out there. And if you really don’t want to do it, step outside of yourself for a minute and think of all the people who could benefit from what you have to give.
I have to admit that, personally, it’s one of the toxic beliefs I’m struggling the most with.
Toxic Belief #5: Thinking you need luck to achieve your goals
“I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”– Thomas Jefferson
While luck can certainly help as you’re working towards your goals, I wouldn’t count on it. nor would I include it in my plans. One of the major problems with relying on luck is that it involves giving all your power away to circumstances rather than harnessing it to achieve your goals. Pursuing your dreams isn’t an easy task. You can’t do it without taking full responsibility for every aspect of your life. If you rely on luck, you’re already operating with the wrong mindset.
Even when you don’t see how you could be responsible for something, it’s still good to ask yourself if there’s a way that you might have attracted the situation into your life, and to ponder what you could have done differently. The more you ask yourself these questions, the more you’ll realize that you usually have more to do with your situation than you think. I’m not denying that circumstances beyond our control can make things difficult. At the same time, however, some problems may be due in part to lack of preparation, subpar planning, insufficient strategizing, or bad decisions based upon underdeveloped skills or a skewed mindset.
Massive Action Creates Luck
The more action you take, the “luckier” you will become. If you know exactly what you want in life and spend years taking massive action each day, you’ll probably encounter favorable situations that other people will call “luck”. If you contact 10 times more people, give 10 times more speeches, write 10 times more articles, or shoot 10 times more free throws than the average person, your chances of success will be significantly higher than those of most people. Those are statistical facts, not luck! By practicing your craft and putting yourself out there every chance you get, you’ll significantly increase your chances of achieving your goal.
Toxic Belief #6: Thinking there’s too much competition
Are you afraid of competition? Unfortunately, selling a product or a service almost always means facing some degree of it.
Competition is Good
The first thing to understand is that competition is good; it means that there is a market for what you’re doing and that people are actually interested in what you have to offer. It’s far easier to try selling something that there’s a market for (even if it’s a crowded one) than it is to try selling something that has no market at all. Once you know there’s a market for what you’re doing, you can start studying the market and find ways to improve upon what’s already out there or do things in a slightly different way.
The Beauty of Specializing
When you’re dealing with a certain market, there’s always a possibility of finding a niche within it and specializing. Doing so can attract customers who are looking exactly for what you have to offer. You may be afraid that specializing too much will cost you customers, but that’s rarely the case. In fact, one of the most common mistakes people make is targeting too broad of an audience. They try to appeal to everybody and wind up appealing to no one. Let’s take nutritionists for example. There are plenty of nutritionists out there, so it’s better to be a nutrition coach that serves female marathon runners, teen athletes, people over 65, or another specific group. The more specific your specialty is, the better. Remember, you can always broaden your horizons once you’ve found a certain level of success in your niche.
Toxic Belief #7: Thinking you’ll do it when you’re “ready”
“Behind every fear is a person you want to be.”– Greg Plitt
Unfortunately, there will never be a point and time where you’ll feel 100% ready to pursue your dreams. It’s just not going to happen. I could give you the best advice in the world, but if you don’t take that first step, that little leap of faith, none of it matters. If you’re unwilling to make a move, I’m wasting my time writing this article and you’re wasting your time reading it.
How many times have you thought “I don’t have time”, “I’m not smart enough”, “There’s too much competition”, “I don’t know how to do it”, or “I don’t know the right people”? Will you keep using these excuses? Or will you start embracing your discomfort and fear so that you can become the person you know you can be; the person who is living their passion?
No one ever said it was going to be easy, but it will certainly be worth it. Remember this: You’re just a few fears away from the person you want to be. You have always been.
We all have different toxic beliefs that prevent us from living life on our own terms. What about you? What are your toxic beliefs? Share them with me in the comment section below.
If you want to set exciting goals, you can click here to learn more about how my goal setting books have helped many people like you.
If you enjoy this article on toxic beliefs you might also like the articles below:
- 7 Reasons Why You Aren’t Getting The Results You Want in Life
- How To Identify Your Limiting Beliefs and Overcome Them
- 6 Excuses You Must Drop Now To Discover Your True Greatness
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