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How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness
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It’s normal to feel insecure and doubtful from time to time, but we all have greatness inside us, even when circumstances try to tell us differently. If you've ever found yourself questioning your abilities and wondering if you're truly cut out for "greatness", it's time to start believing in yourself. For this newsletter, I’d like to discuss my notes on ideas and concepts I found interesting from the #1 New York Times bestseller book, You Are A Badass, an analysis of exactly what's holding you back, and powerful strategies geared toward breaking bad habits so that you can truly live out your dreams.
How to stop doubting your greatness breaks down into seven parts:
Negative self-thoughts are holding you back from being the badass you really are;
By loving yourself and not buying into what others think of you, you'll have a better life;
There is a limitless source of power all around us, and we can tap into it;
Embrace being a novice, cultivate gratitude, and learn how to forgive for a happier, richer life;
Your thoughts are powerful, so make them work for you;
Tackle procrastination, excuses, and hesitation and nothing will stop you from taking action;
From friends to habits to money, focus all aspects of your life toward your goal.
Let’s dive in!
1.) Negative self-thoughts are holding you back from being the badass you really are
If you feel that you're an undiscovered genius lost in the daily grind of a dead-end job, you need to ask yourself, "What's holding me back?".
Most likely it's you. Or, more specifically, your negative beliefs about yourself.
Here's the truth: what we believe about ourselves is largely based on the messages we've been bombarded with since we were very young. These messages are lodged in our subconscious mind.
Our parents, for instance, might have told us that nobody in the family has ever been good at bringing in money. The more we hear this message, the more likely it becomes that our subconscious will conclude that we can't make money. And the result is that we shy away from pursuits that could lead to financial success, whether it be learning about investment strategies or pursuing an MBA, even though we may want to do these things.
That's the power of our subconscious mind.
Here’s another example: say we're longing to find and marry our soul mate. However, because we grew up with two parents who were always fighting and hurting each other emotionally, our subconscious mind equates intimacy with pain and suffering.
Consequently, we remain unhappily single.
The negative things that we subconsciously believe about ourselves and the world keep us trapped in a kind of sleep, which we’ll call “The Big Snooze”. This is like an overprotective mother who never wants you to leave the house.
She wants you to stay with her, safe from the dangers lurking out there in the real world. There's nothing wrong with her intentions, but they're entirely based on fear.
Fortunately we're more than capable of freeing ourselves from the crippling power of The Big Snooze. How? It starts with giving ourselves a big, loving pat on the back.
2.) By loving yourself and not buying into what others think of you, you'll have a better life
When we're young we have an intuitive understanding of who we are and how to do things — we play and love without holding back or thinking about what others might think of us.
As we grow older we stop listening to this inner knowledge and start doing what others tell us to do. Because of this we often end up in less-than-ideal situations, such as working jobs and remaining in relationships that make us feel lousy.
The first step to getting out of this rut is to start loving ourselves.
Every day we should shower ourselves with love and affirmations. We should create our own mantras like,
"I am a clever badass".
"There's nothing I can't do".
"The universe is awesome, and I am too".
Whenever we have a spare moment we should recite these mantras in our head. Even better, put them on Post-It notes around your house so you’ll constantly be reminded of how great you are.
Here’s another demand of mine: stop comparing yourself to others this instant. Just think if, in an imaginary world, Marilyn Monroe had compared herself to Kate Moss and concluded she should go on a diet and lose her beautiful figure, or if the members of Led Zeppelin had compared themselves to Mozart and decided that they should replace their drummer with a harpsichordist.
It would have been disastrous. Never compare yourself to anyone. Period.
Once we develop a more loving relationship with ourselves we become less afraid of the things we really want to do. We'll also be on the way to overcoming another common enemy of happiness: what other people think of us.
Consider how often we let what others think of us dictate our actions.
Maybe you dream of becoming an author. To do this, you'll have to write a lot. This, in turn, requires you to carve out time while you hold down a job that helps you pay the rent or mortgage.
Colleagues may snicker about your "hobby".
Friends may drift away as you spend less time with them and more time penning your masterpiece.
These changes can be bitter, but you have to push through them if you want to get published. If we start appreciating that we're doing our own thing, we'll find the strength to ignore the disapproval of others.
3.) There is a limitless source of power all around us, and we can tap into it
Do you believe there’s a God? Most people, even if they’re not religious, still believe in some kind of higher power or energy.
It doesn’t really matter what you call it — God, a spirit, the Force, gut instincts, intuition, “the zone”. What’s important is that you recognize the existence of a limitless force or energy that is beyond you and that connects all of us.
For now let’s call it “Source Energy”. This energy is everywhere around us, permeating the whole universe and everything in it. However, it doesn’t vibrate with the same frequency everywhere. We’re vibrating at a certain frequency, and all the things we want in life are also vibrating at a certain frequency. Those things that vibrate at the same frequency attract one another, which is known as the ‘law of attraction’.
When we’re feeling jealous, worried, or pessimistic, we vibrate with a low frequency, thereby attracting more of this negative energy.
Here’s the good news, though: by learning how to raise the frequency with which we vibrate, we can attract the things we want in life. This is why learning to tap into the boundless Source Energy is so important.
Without it we simply won’t be able to raise our energy enough to attract the things we want. From now on, make tapping into it your top priority.
If all of this sounds complicated, there’s a simple and effective way to fill your life with Source Energy: meditation. As anyone who has tried it knows, sitting still and letting go of thought is both straightforward and surprisingly hard.
Besides calming the body and relieving stress, meditation makes us realize just how cluttered with unimportant thoughts our brains actually are. Sit down to meditate for only a few minutes and you’ll notice that most of those thoughts are about as focused and constructive as two toddlers struggling over a toy.
By developing a meditation practice, though, you’ll gradually learn to declutter your brain and allow the Source Energy to flow through you.
4.) Embrace being a novice, cultivate gratitude, and learn how to forgive for a happier, richer life
Our time on this earth is limited, so we should make the most of it. Every day offers a chance to enjoy and celebrate life’s journey.
It’s all too easy to forget this in the hustle and bustle of the modern world, so there are three things we can do to value each day a little more.
Change our attitude toward challenging tasks. Rather than approaching problems like an expert, come at them like a complete beginner with a willingness to learn. People with a passion for learning don’t feel pressure to prove their abilities, which means they don’t grapple with the fear of failure, either. Mistakes are no longer frightening, but a welcome part of the educational journey.
Make an effort to express and experience gratitude daily. Gratitude isn’t about giving shallow thanks for the sake of being polite — it’s a positive state of being. By being grateful, we keep all the good things in life in the foreground of our thoughts, and by practicing and sharing gratitude we can help others stay positive too.
We can improve each day by learning to forgive both others and ourselves. If someone hurts us or betrays us, the incident will continue troubling us until we forgive them. Forgiveness allows us to move forward in life. The same goes for something we might have done in the past that we now regret.
So, if you’ve done your best to make amends, it’s time to forgive yourself. By accepting yourself and your mistakes you’ll be better equipped to free yourself from negative thoughts and sleepless nights.
5.) Your thoughts are powerful, so make them work for you
In our modern world we’re hyper-focused on action. Thinking things over and taking time to examine our thoughts, on the other hand, is something we don’t often practice.
We should, though. Thoughts are powerful, as they create our realities and lead us to where we want to go in life.
To start, we should figure out what we want and simply remain open to how we might get there. Perhaps you want to become a writer, but the road to becoming a published author is unclear. To uncover the ‘how’ of this process you might look to published role models and examine how they achieved their dreams in order to find inspiration for your own path. As you feel your way and begin to make progress, you’ll start to feel more comfortable calling yourself a writer.
This leads us to the next way that you can make your thoughts work for you: simply think of yourself as the person you want to be.
By acting as if the thing we want is already a reality, negative thoughts won’t be able to hold us back. If we dream of becoming a great speaker but are afraid of addressing a crowd, we shouldn't focus on our trembling hands or timid voice.
Instead, we should visualize ourselves delivering entertaining, eloquent speeches, and we’ll soon be presenting more confidently. The more speeches we give, the more our confidence will grow and the more our public speaking will improve. This is called a “virtuous circle”.
To further boost our thinking power, we should spend time imagining our goals with as much detail as we can. Let’s return to our writer example.
There are many kinds of great writers, from novelists to true-crime writers. By pinpointing which kind of writer you’d like to be, the path toward your goal will become clearer.
6.) Tackle procrastination, excuses, and hesitation and nothing will stop you from taking action
Thought is a powerful tool when it comes to achieving our goals, but it must be combined with real action. In order to act positively we need to first overcome the drag of procrastination and hesitation.
When we procrastinate, we let the fear of failure stop us from following through on decisions. If you think that you’re not qualified to perform a certain task, you’ll look for any reason not to try it with thoughts like, “My writing isn’t good enough”, or, “It’ll never pay the way”.
These thoughts will only hold you back.
To overcome these excuses, we need to convince ourselves of our purpose. If our resolve is weak, this may be a sign that we need to redefine our goals.
Taking action also requires us to overcome hesitation. Sure, this isn’t easy. Often we hesitate when we’re afraid of becoming someone we might not like.
Let’s say that you dream of becoming a stage actor, someone who holds the attention of admiring audiences and commands a powerful presence, but you hesitate when you seriously consider this goal. You’ve never liked extroverts, and it seems to you that most stage actors are subjected to negative judgments. Will becoming an actor turn you into the type of person you dislike most?
The short answer is no. You simply need to learn to overcome your hesitation. How do we do this? By not judging others. Then, spend time asking yourself tough questions like, “Do I really want to become an actor?”, or, “Will it make me happy?”.
If you answer ‘yes’ to these questions, then it’s time to recognize your hesitation and procrastination for what they really are. No more excuses.
7.) From friends to habits to money, focus all aspects of your life toward your goal
So you’ve decided to change your life path to work toward your dream goal, but how far will you go? All too often, talented people don’t live their dreams because they give up too soon.
Remember that failure is a fact of life, and that we all experience rejection.
Basketball legend Michael Jordan didn’t make the cut for his high school basketball team.
Renowned movie director Steven Spielberg was rejected from film school three times.
While rejection is a part of everyone’s journey, quitting is something we should never do when pursuing our dreams. Instead, we should learn from our mistakes and keep pushing until we create the life we’ve always wanted.
To overcome the temptation to give up we need to remain responsible in all aspects of our life. If our habits, surroundings, or circle of friends make it harder for us to achieve our goals, it’s time to make some thoughtful changes.
In fact, creating a new environment and lifestyle centered around our life purpose is one of the best ways to stay on track. If you’re an aspiring athlete, surround yourself with people who have similar passions. Start and end your day in ways that will help you reconnect with your goals. Explore new groups, places, and communities that can provide you with more support as you push forward.
It’s also worth reflecting on how you think about money. While it’s good to be diligent about saving and spending, choosing to spend big from time to time is justified if doing so will improve your life. Use your money to live in accordance with your goals.
Ultimately your new life will emerge through clear intentions, powerful desires, and real-life action. Cast aside what others think of you and give yourself permission to live your dreams.
There you have it — how to stop doubting your greatness. I hope the examples and definitions in this guide help you unlock the boundless potential that resides within you, forging a path towards a future defined by confidence, purpose, and unparalleled achievement.
I’d love to hear from you:
Reflecting on your own journey, what specific instances or patterns of self-doubt have held you back?
How do you plan to apply the insights from this newsletter to overcome those instances or patterns?
Have a wonderful week, all.
Much love to you and yours, Scott (@motivatedscott). ❤️
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