The Wright brothers are credited with the first controlled, manned, powered flight on December 17th, 1903. Although they failed hundreds of times before they succeeded, they never gave up on their dream. Had they done so, invention of the modern aircraft would have been attributed to someone else.
This example illustrates the power that exists in the human mind. In the Wright brothers day, no one had ever seen an airplane fly. It would have been easy for them to conclude that their goal was unachievable. Today, we know it wasn’t. For the Wright brothers, believing was the first step.
Our minds have the ability to convince us that something is impossible long before we give it our best effort. If we’re not careful, we can formulate a mental surrender that says, “I can’t do this. I’ll never make it. It’s not possible.” Those who let themselves think this way are sure to fail because they stop trying to succeed. How can you make sure that your own mind doesn’t get in the way of your dreams?
Know Your Limits
There is a difference between obstacles and limits. Obstacles can be overcome, whereas limits cannot. For example, a blind person cannot drive a car. Real limits are few – obstacles are many. Knowing your limits will keep you from striving for the unachievable and ending up disappointed. Once you understand your limits, everything outside of them becomes a possibility.
Have a Plan
A good plan is the secret weapon for combating mental obstacles. When you have a plan and are determined to stick to it, it doesn’t matter what you are feeling at a given time because you can simply ‘proceed as planned’. Conversely, if you are plagued with negative thoughts and a lack direction, it’s easy to become complacent.
Visualize Your Goals
Once you’ve spent so much time thinking about a goal that you can see it, touch it, taste it, and smell it with your mind’s eye, you won’t easily give up on it. The desire to achieve it will give you the fortitude to overcome even the most daunting of obstacles. Before you ever become successful, you should already be successful in your mind. Doing this will convince you to push through any temporary pain you might experience on your way to achieving your dream.
Ignore the Doubts of Others
At 21, while interviewing for an $8.00 per hour position, I told the interviewer I expected to be earning six figures within fie years and be semi-retired by 35. “That’s a little farfetched,” he said with a chuckle. It may have seemed farfetched to him, but where he saw obstacles, I saw opportunity. I knew the obstacles were there. I simply chose to ignore them.
Stay away from people, places, and things that bring you down. Immerse yourself in as many upbuilding activities as possible. Choose positive reading material and positive friends. Listen to the prodding of fellow optimists and ignore the criticism of pessimists.
Fear creates imaginary obstacles. Fear can prevent us from introducing ourselves to people (fear of rejection), starting profitable business ventures (fear of failure), and experiencing wonderful things (fear of the unknown). The key to overcoming such fears is to:
- Recognize them in yourself.
- Identify their root.
- Make a plan to deal with them.
The next time you have an idea you are hesitant to pursue, ask yourself if fear might be the only thing holding you back.
Success and failure exist in the power of the mind. Take control of your thoughts and you will take control of your success.