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5 Toxic Beliefs That Can Hinder Your Success

Feb 24, 2015

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at

It's hard to think differently and be able to dream new dreams. We'd all like to be visionary thinkers like Bezos, Buffett, and Branson (the Three B's of Bold Thinking) and achieve great things.

But most of us aren't bold visionaries. (I'm definitely not.)

And that's OK, because while you and I might never come up with the next big thing, we can decide to think differently from other people--and in the process, achieve differently from other people.

Here are five things people think that ruin their chances for success... and more importantly how you can think differently:

1. "I never get the right opportunities."

Hey, join the (very large) club. No matter how it looks from the outside, no one is given opportunities they don't deserve. Opportunities are earned. (And even if someone else did get an opportunity you feel you deserved, you can't change that fact, so why dwell on it?)

Maybe, years ago, you did have to wait: To be accepted, to be promoted, to be selected... to somehow be "discovered."

Even if that was once, true it's not true anymore. Access to opportunity is nearly unlimited. You can connect with nearly anyone through social media. You can create and sell your own products, develop and distribute your own applications, find your own funding....

You don't need to wait for someone else to give you the opportunity. You can give yourself the opportunity--which, by the way, is what successful people have done for centuries.

The only thing holding you back from seizing an opportunity is you--and your willingness to try.

Don't think about opportunities you need to be given; think about opportunities you need to take.

2. "Someone is always holding me back."

Maybe someone else has ruined opportunities or blocked ideas or taken what was rightfully yours. Maybe suppliers didn't come through. Maybe your partner wasn't committed. Maybe potential customers weren't smart enough to recognize the value you provide.

Doesn't matter. You can't control other people. You can only control yourself.

When you fail, always decide it was your fault. Not only is that a smart way to think, but it's also almost always true as well. While occasionally something completely outside your control will cause you to fail, most of the time it really is you.

And that's OK. Every successful person has failed numerous times. Most have failed a lot more often than you have; that's one reason why they're so successful today.

Embrace every failure. Own it, learn from it, and take full responsibility for making sure that next time you'll do what it takes to make sure things turn out differently.

Never think it's another person's fault; when you do, you're guaranteeing it always will be.

3. "I just don't have enough time."

Sure you do. You have the same amount of time as everyone else. The key is to decide how you will fill your time.

For example, anyone can create a schedule. But most people don't ensure that every task takes only as long as it needs to take. Most people fill a block of time, either given or self-determined, simply because that is the time allotted.

Don't adjust your effort so it fills a time frame. Instead, do everything as quickly and effectively as you can. Then use your "free" time to get other things done...just as quickly and effectively.

Never think about how time controls you--instead, think of how you can best control your time.

When you do, you'll quickly realize you have a lot more time than you think.

4. "Sure, I would do that... if I knew it would be worth it."

Ever heard someone say, "If I knew I would get a raise, then I would be willing to work a lot harder"? Or, "If I knew my start-up would succeed, then I would definitely be willing to put in more hours"? Or, "If I knew there would be a bigger payoff, then I would be willing to sacrifice more"?

Successful employees earn promotions and higher pay by first working harder; in other words, they earn their success. Successful businesses earn higher revenue by delivering greater value first; they earn their success.

Successful people, in all areas of life, earn bigger "payoffs" by working incredibly hard well before any potential return is in sight; they earn their success through effort and sacrifice.

Most people expect to get more before they will ever consider doing more.

To succeed, think of compensation not as the driver or requirement for exceptional effort, but as the deserved reward.

5. "But there's just nothing special about me."

It's easy, and tempting, to assume successful people have some intangible entrepreneurial something--ideas, talent, drive, skills, creativity, etc.--that you simply don't have.

That's rarely true. Talents typically reveal themselves only in hindsight. Success is never assured; it only looks that way after it is achieved.

Sure, other people may have skills you don't have (at least not yet), but you have skills other people don't have. You don't need a gift. You just need yourself--and a willingness to put in a tremendous amount of hard work, effort, and perseverance--because that is where talent comes from.

Never think about what you don't have. Focus on what you do have--and more importantly, what you are willing to do that others are not.

That is your true gift--and it's a gift we've all been given.

You just have to use it.

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