I have a lot of problems.
(Correction: I used to have a lot of problems.)
Problems that seem insurmountable.
Problems that keep me from pursuing my goals and dreams.
Problems that make me feel like things are just really hopeless.
Problems that make me give up whenever the going gets tough.
Problems like these:
“This is taking too long.”
“It’s too hard.”
“There’s too much to learn.”
There are too many steps involved.
I don’t have time to do it all.
I have too many limitations.
There’s too much that I don’t know.
I don’t think I’m ready to talk to that person.
I don’t know how to prioritize; how to set goals; how to manage my time; how to think long term.
I don’t have anything to offer.
I can only give this an hour or two a day.
I’ll never be good enough.
I don’t think anyone will take me seriously.
I don’t have the right training, the right mindset, the right habits, or the right lifestyle to commit to doing this.
I don’t even know where to start.
I don’t know what I want, so how can I ever choose what to do?
There are too many choices to make.
Netflix just added a new season of my favorite show.
I don’t know if I’m doing this right.
What if it’s just too hard for me to change, to learn new skills and develop new habits?
What if it just doesn’t work for me?
What if I’m not cut out for this?
(And all that is just scratching the surface…)
To some extent, these are all valid concerns. And, at different points in my journey, I’ve come face to face with each one of them.
All too often, I have allowed myself to believe that, “because I’m having these thoughts, that must mean that they’re true.”
And all too often, the weight of believing these things has prevented me from moving forward.
Now, in my defense…
A year ago, these were more or less the only thoughts I believed. The only thoughts I allowed. The only thoughts I willingly made space for in my personal belief system.
I believed that, not only are these thoughts “true,” but because they’re true, they’re obviously evidence that “I don’t have it.” That I can’t change. That I can’t learn. That I can’t succeed.
Today – a year later – I know I’m not the only person alive who’s ever felt that way.
It’s far too common in our culture, and far too easy, to live with self limiting thoughts for so long that those thoughts become your reality.
That “it’s too hard” (or any other limiting belief) just naturally and immediately translates into “so why bother?”
And that “why bother” then becomes the end point of all your thoughts, all your dreams, all your aspirations, all your desires.
And it becomes, basically, all that you know.
And when that takes root, and becomes your only way of being… it’s HARD to break out of.
One of the things I love about the way I view life today is that, while I know all of these beliefs do hold weight, and do influence the choices I make…
NONE of them are, today, my guiding thoughts, or my central beliefs.
It’s taken me a year (almost to the day), but I’m learning to question these beliefs, to challenge these thoughts, to rephrase my concerns into helpful, and constructive, and healthy thoughts and attitudes.
Instead of saying, “this is taking too long,” and using that as an excuse to just give up, or move onto something ‘less challenging,’ I say, “this is taking longer than expected, but that’s okay because I’m making good progress and I’m learning A LOT!”
And so on with the other thoughts:
“This is too hard” becomes “this is a challenge, but I’m sure I can handle it if I just take it one step at a time.”
“There’s too much to learn” becomes “I know more today than I did yesterday, and with just a little effort, I can know more tomorrow than I do today.”
And on and on with each thought, each worry, each obstacle, each potential “reason I should just give up.”
It takes a LOT of practice, and consistent effort, to rephrase limiting, negative thoughts, into positive, inspiring ideas.
The challenges are still there. The struggle is still real. You’ll never just wave your magic fairy godmother wand and make all those thoughts disappear…
But with the right mindset… they stop presenting as “problems you will never solve”… and instead become challenges that you can do something about.
Challenges that, with time and effort, can be overcome.
Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow…
But the more I learn to view my problems as challenges…
The more empowered I feel to actually do something about them.
Or with them. Or in spite of them. Or what not.
What about you?
Do you see obstacles as insurmountable problems?
As justification for not achieving your goals?
Or as challenges, that you can (and will) learn to overcome?