There are all sorts of reasons why the thought of success is frightening. We may be afraid of being taken beyond our comfort zones or of getting out of our depth. We may expect the reward for our hard work in doing a difficult job will be even harder work at an even more difficult job. We may believe that to be successful will mean our friends and family will be jealous and won’t like us any more. And so on.
Of course some of these reasons are perfectly valid. If we are willing to face up to them and acknowledge them, then we are able to act appropriately.
The problem comes when we don’t face up to these reasons and fail to acknowledge them. Then they continue to affect us subconsciously and we wonder why we never seem to be able to live up to what we believe should be our real potential.
What often happens is that we are forging forward with the brakes still firmly on!
The more I explore the subjects of time management and personal organisation the more convinced I become that most of our problems in these fields are simply ways we have devised of braking our performance, of limiting ourselves.
Imagine that you are your Unconscious Mind and your mission is to invent ways of keeping your performance within safe limits. What sort of things would you come up with? Here are just a few suggestions:
- Take on too many responsibilities
- Avoid setting up efficient systems
- Never discuss your workload with your boss
- Make sure your attention is continually distracted throughout the day
- Don’t delegate
- Don’t follow up
- Reduce your mental efficiency by not taking breaks
- Reduce your mental efficiency by not taking exercise
- Never do anything immediately.
- Spend lots of time daydreaming but don’t take any action to turn your daydreams into reality.
- Spend lots of time worrying but don’t take any action to address what you are worrying about
- And, at all costs, avoid purposeful focused thinking like the plague.
Spend a bit of time having a look at the brakes you have constructed on your own success. There are probably quite a few of them. They may be in the list above or they may be completely different. Our unconscious minds are extremely inventive!
The good news is that once you have acknowledged that you are deliberately (though unconsciously) putting the brakes on, you can deliberately (and consciously) choose to take the brakes off. This is best done one brake at at time. Ask yourself “What is the biggest brake I am putting on my performance at the moment?” and go all out to take it off.