1. If I don’t have the innate talent to reach the top 10% in my field, then I shouldn’t bother pursuing it at all.
This is one of the most difficult self-limiting beliefs to overcome because it is generally true that people who are naturally good at things experience high levels of success more quickly than those who just force themselves to work hard without having any competence. While innate talent can definitely make things easier for you, you need to remember that you don’t have to be one of the most talented people in the world to pursue what you enjoy doing. The point is, if you’re interested enough to keep learning, growing, and improving, you can absolutely go ahead and do that as long as you have some level of natural ability, a strategy to make it relevant to a certain group of people, and a way of distinguishing yourself from others who do similar things.
2. If I give up on the things I should be doing, then I’m a failure and don’t deserve any success, even if I change my direction in life.
There will be times when you feel like you’re beating your head against the wall when you’re doing something you thought you wanted to do only because you’re enamored with what other people have gained from it and the idea of what you could gain as well. Giving up doesn’t mean that you’re destined to fail at everything no matter what you do – it just means you’re identifying what’s causing you live in a self-destructive manner, uprooting ideas of success that were never your own, and taking your power back from burdensome expectations that rendered you powerless for a long time.
3. I have to put up with what I hate because that’s the only way I can show how hard-working and disciplined I am.
Though you’ll inevitably have to accomplish something in a job or school subject you hate for certain amount of time, you’re turning it into a self-fulfilling prophecy if you believe that you’ll have to put up with it for an entire lifetime. Making the best of a difficult situation is right, but sentencing yourself to a dead end is not.
4. I haven’t been able to accomplish anything because people don’t want to give me a chance, I wasn’t born into the right circumstances, and I had no control over how my past turned out.
It’s one thing to acknowledge the difficulties of reality: inequality exists, some people have more advantages than others, and there will always be many people who are more qualified than you. However, it’s another thing to believe that you’re a victim who’s destined to remain one for the rest of your life. If you constantly blame others for your own shortcomings and lack of preparedness without ever doing anything to change yourself first, you need to realize that complaining about your life is only holding you back from new opportunities to change and help yourself become more in control of your own future, regardless of what’s happening around you or what setbacks you’ve had.
5. I don’t look like a model, I’m not a genius, and I’m not charismatic, gifted, or likable enough to deserve more than what I have.
Success isn’t something you deserve as a result of meeting unrealistic surface-level standards. You really don’t need to be society’s darling to create something beautiful, soulful, and profound in life. You just need to do what you’re naturally inclined to do and experience joy in simpler things that aren’t contingent upon some subjective opinion of what’s worthy of being glorified.
6. I can never go after anything I want because it’s always risky to leave what feels comfortable and safe.
If you are perpetually dissatisfied with being stagnant and never stepping out of your comfort zone, then you do yourself a disservice by allowing fear to control you for the rest of your life. Life never improves when you go through it half-heartedly and passively.
7. My happiness is based on how well I achieve my goals by a certain time and how many people approve of my life choices.
The more you put your hopes into future conditions, the more anxious and depressed you’ll be. If you’ve ever tried creating a revenge life after experiencing countless rejections and abysmal failure, you’ll know how it feels to be angry with yourself and to wear yourself out while still failing to please the people who never thought you could accomplish anything. Happiness isn’t something to be earned by reaching an end goal, it’s something you feel when you’re living life for yourself without any regards to the guilt-inducing events of the past or false hopes for the future.
Over the past few years, Brianna Wiest has gained renown for her deeply moving, philosophical writing. This new compilation of her published work features pieces on why you should pursue purpose over passion, embrace negative thinking, see the wisdom in daily routine, and become aware of the cognitive biases that are creating the way you see your life. Some of these pieces have never been seen; others have been read by millions of people around the world. Regardless, each will leave you thinking: this idea changed my life.