Sometimes we wonder why we aren’t making as much progress as we ought to and often times we blame it on other people, events, and circumstances. But do we ever take time to consider how we might be contributing to our own poor performance and lack of progress? Before we start pointing at external factors it’s important that we identify and fix any internal factors that may be undermining our progress.
Below are seven possible ways we might be undermining our own progress.
- You’ve become comfortable with the little you’ve achieved:
You need to remember that what you have achieved so far is insignificant compared to what is possible for you. You have barely scratched the surface of what life holds for you, and there’s a lot more about you that you haven’t explored yet, so don’t get complacent. Complacency is satisfaction with where you are; it puts you in a comfort zone and doesn’t allow you to step beyond your limits. But to make massive progress you have to constantly put yourself in a state of discomfort. Step out of your comfort zone and do something that scares you.
- You dream and plan too much but do very little:
No one ever succeeded by dreaming and planning alone, they did by taking action. Of what good is a plan if it isn’t followed up with action? High achievers are action-oriented people; people who act on their dreams. One of the fastest ways I know to making massive progress is to take action. Actions trigger reactions. Never get to a point in your life where you let circumstances stop you from acting on what you believe. If you can’t fly… run, if you can’t run… walk, and if you can’t walk… crawl. In any case, do something to keep pushing yourself forward. Actions have consequences; when you take action reactions are inevitable.
- You’re afraid of making mistakes:
The fear of making mistakes has immobilized many of us and kept us from going after the things we love. But mistakes aren’t bad, we should embrace them. Ironically the more mistakes you make the wiser you become. A mistake is an indication that you made an attempt to achieve something but missed it. Even worse, your mistakes may attract criticism, but Ricky Gervais said: “it’s better to create something that others criticize than to create nothing and criticize others.” Moreover, you could turn your mistake into a powerful message that others can learn and draw inspiration from.
- You aren’t willing to risk what you have for what you desire:
Many people want more out of life but aren’t willing to sow what they have for the harvest they desire. To make any meaningful achievement you have to be willing to make a sacrifice. But for many people, the temporary pain of losing money or comfort by far exceeds the desire to get more. They would rather hold onto what they have. Robert Kiyosaki once said, “In all my life I have never met a rich person who has never lost money, but I have met a lot of poor people who have never lost a dime…investing.”
- You underestimate what you already have:
We have a tendency to admire and overestimate other people’s talents, expertise, creativity, jobs, etc over ours. But the reason you admire what other people have is that those people started with what they had, and worked hard to grow it to the level they are now. If you start now and develop what you have, someone else would see what you’re doing and admire it too. You have to believe in your gift, calling, expertise, abilities, etc. Success is not about how much you have, but about what you do with what you have. We often wish we had what other people have, but if we learn to focus on what we have, you would realize that it is enough for us to make a difference.
- You surround yourself with people that aren’t on the same mission as you:
It matters the kind of people you surround yourself with because energy is contagious. Surround yourself with people that reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel. Epictetus once said, “the key to success is keeping company with people who uplift you; whose presence calls forth your best.” It is not the size of your circle, but the people you have in it.
- You don’t often pen down your goals:
Many people believe in goal setting, and they actually do set goals, only that they don’t write them down. It’s not enough to just set goals in your head, it’s in human nature to be forgetful. Research shows that those who write down their goals accomplish much more than those who don’t. Writing down your goals on paper gives you clarity. It gives them form and makes them come alive. It’s one thing to have an idea in your head, it’s another thing to be able to clearly express it on paper. Besides, how do you measure your progress if you don’t have clearly written goals that constantly remind you of what you need to accomplish?