By Lolly Daskal
Your thoughts are powerful. It may sound far-fetched to say that what you believe will come true and what you think about will come to you.
But it's not really such a stretch. Your thoughts are directly connected to your actions and therefore to your outcomes. That means they play a significant role in your success or failure.
Good thoughts give you confidence and empower you to act; negative thoughts can keep you quiet and hold you back.
Even successful people find the wrong thoughts can lead to derailed plans and stalled momentum, and they learn to steer clear of toxic zones. As you direct your own path away from unsupportive, harmful thinking toward positivity, here are six areas you definitely want to avoid:
1. The necessity of perfection. Anyone who thinks they must be perfect is setting themselves up for failure. When perfection is your goal, you will always be left with the feeling that you're not measuring up, and in time you'll come to see yourself as a failure. Everything you do creates your future, and it doesn't have to be perfect to lead you toward success.
2. Not being good enough. Everyone at one time or another has moments of self-doubt. But if it becomes a constant state of mind or something that weaves through a lot of your thoughts--if you're spending a lot of time thinking you're not good enough, smart enough, talented enough, or skilled enough--you're not taking responsibility for working on yourself to improve the value of what you have to offer. Successful people identify their strongest skills and talents and use them to reach their highest potential.
3. Comparing yourself with others. It's a constant temptation, seeing how we measure up to others. But the reality is that everyone is different. No one else has your particular gifts and outlook, your particular background and challenges and interests, and you can't learn anything about yourself by looking at others. Successful people know there's no sense in comparing yourself to anyone else; instead, spend your time and energy creating the best possible version of yourself.
4. Needing to always be right. It feels good to be right. But the truth is we're all sometimes wrong, and that's OK. There are times we need to learn from our mistakes and maybe experience a little humility. Left unchecked, the need to be right can do a lot of damage: it can affect your relationships, your business and your leadership. Sometimes you're right and sometimes you're wrong. Remembering that and taking it all in stride helps us succeed--and it makes us better people.
5. Worrying about what other people think. People will always have opinions about you. Either they'll believe in you or they won't, but truly successful people understand that regardless of what other people think of them, they can do what it takes to succeed. They can take the bold steps and risky actions required for success. Don't take other people's opinions to heart, because who you are and what you can accomplish come from within.
6. Allowing the past to determine the future. If you think that who you were and what you did in the past will determine your future, think again. People grow and change direction. Who you were yesterday isn't who you have to be tomorrow or even today. Even if you've failed in the past you can succeed in the future. Have the confidence to keep trying. Successful people don't allow anything in their past to erode their ability to create a successful future, because they know life is full of second chances.
7. Believing your destiny is out of your hands. So many people feel that their fate is predestined. The truth is your destiny is something you can mold--the power lies within you, and allowing yourself to believe otherwise is just a way of not taking responsibility. Sometimes things will be difficult, sometimes things will be challenging, but at all times, you have the power to create your own success or failure. Your destiny is in your hands, heart and mind.
Instead of allowing your thoughts to sabotage you, treat them as you'd treat any powerful force: Use them responsibly for good, keep them out of harmful situations, and let them help serve you so you in turn can serve.