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How to Overcome the Fear, Doubt, and Anxiety That Inhibit Growth

Perhaps you want to be a better coder, a better writer, or a better musician. Perhaps you want to start a new business or begin an exercise program. You are full of good intentions, but your efforts seem to sputter out. You’re not alone.

When you work towards a meaningful goal, expect to face “a repelling force.” Steven Pressfield calls it “Resistance.” In his journey of becoming a best-selling author, Pressfield came to know well the many faces of Resistance.

In his book The War of Art, he explains the aim of Resistance “is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.” Pressfield warns, Resistance arises whenever we attempt “any act that derives from our higher nature instead of our lower.”

Pressfield shares this insight:

Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.

Pressfield spells out the mindset of a professional and that of an amateur. The amateur gives in to Resistance, placing blame for unmet goals on life circumstances—their upbringing, their partner or lack of one, their busy schedule, and on and on.

Using external circumstances to rationalize our lack of progress is self-defeating. Pressfield instructs,

Resistance arises from within. It is self-generated and self-perpetuated… Rationalization is Resistance’s spin doctor.

Did you procrastinate today? Again, you’re not alone. Pressfield writes,

Procrastination is the most common manifestation of Resistance because it’s the easiest to rationalize. We don’t tell ourselves, “I’m never going to write my symphony.” Instead, we say, “I am going to write my symphony; I’m just going to start tomorrow.”

Resistance, Pressfield warns, “will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work. It will perjure, fabricate, falsify; seduce, bully, cajole.” Living with our self-deception, “we feel like hell,” there is constant low-grade unhappiness and misery.

Succumbing to Resistance, most of us have experienced the feelings Pressfield describes:

We’re bored, we’re restless. We can’t get no satisfaction. There’s guilt but we can’t put our finger on the source.

If you think your stars have to align to beat Resistance, you’re wrong. What happens after you get a new desk and new computer? What happens after you find a quiet apartment or house, live with a supportive partner, and find a great job with a supportive boss? Resistance won’t retreat merely because you have changed your circumstances. When you’re still not ready to do your work, notice how your excuses morph.

There is nothing wrong with you. Everyone faces Resistance. Fear, self-doubt, and anxiety never fully go away. Resistance is always there in full force when we entertain its bad advice. Professionals realize these thoughts will fade away if they turn toward their work.

Amateurs resist Resistance, which only tightens its grip. Pressfield writes,

Resistance has no strength of its own. Every ounce of juice it possesses comes from us. We feed it with power by our fear of it.

“The professional knows,” Pressfield counsels, “that Resistance is like a telemarketer; if you so much as say hello, you’re finished.” Heed his advice. Pressfield wrote The War of Art before smartphones were drawing our attention from our work. If you are constantly checking your phone while you are doing your work, Resistance will beat you. (Watch for my follow-up essay, “How to Break Your Digital Addiction”)

It took me years to learn a simple truth: To beat Resistance, show up and keep a regular schedule, whether or not you feel like it. The amateur thinks their feelings are providing important information; the professional knows they need to think about doing their work, not themselves. Pressfield shares this anecdote:

Someone once asked Somerset Maugham if he wrote on a schedule or only when struck by inspiration. “I write only when inspiration strikes,” he replied. “Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.”

According to Pressfield here are three clear signs of an amateur:

One, he doesn’t show up every day. Two, he doesn’t show up no matter what. Three, he doesn’t stay on the job all day. He is not committed over the long haul; the stakes for him are illusory and fake.

Amateurs cast themselves as victims. Pressfield pointedly observes those playing the victim role seek

to achieve gratification not by honest work or a contribution made out of one’s experience or insight or love, but by the manipulation of others through silent (and not-so-silent) threat.

Pressfield adds,

Resistance knows that the more psychic energy we expend dredging and re-dredging the tired, boring injustices of our personal lives, the less juice we have to do our work.

Have you had a bad break? Get back to work. Pressfield explains,

The professional conducts his business in the real world. Adversity, injustice, bad hops and rotten calls, even good breaks and lucky bounces all comprise the ground over which the campaign must be waged. The field is level, the professional understands, only in heaven.

Doing your work comes with no guarantees of success. Are you having “grandiose fantasies” of how the world will receive your work? That’s the sign of an amateur mindset. Pressfield observes,

Resistance knows that the amateur composer will never write his symphony because he is overly invested in its success and overterrified of its failure. The amateur takes it so seriously it paralyzes him.

I write almost every day. If I don’t show up, seeking to improve my technique, Resistance will kick my butt. Resistance will kick yours too, if you don’t practice. Be a professional; do your work.

Pressfield makes it clear, if you are seeking inspiration, begin by “mastering technique.” Toil “beside the front door of technique, [leave] room for genius to enter by the back.”

“Everything in life worth achieving requires practice,” writes Thomas Sterner in his book The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life. Sterner provides an excellent definition of practice:

When we practice something, we are involved in the deliberate repetition of a process with the intention of reaching a specific goal.

Sterner makes clear,

Good practice mechanics require deliberately and intentionally staying in the process of doing something and being aware of whether or not we are actually accomplishing that.

Here is the rub: The only way we can effectively practice is to suspend our attention to our goals. Sterner explains,

When you focus your mind on where you want to end up, you are never where you are, and you exhaust your energy with unrelated thoughts instead of putting it into what you are doing.

We torture ourselves by remembering past failures or dreams of future success. Our mind isn’t present, and our efforts are diluted. Sterner discerns, frustration results:

[W]hen your mind is only on the finished product, not only do you feel frustrated in every second that you have not met that goal, but you experience anxiety in every “mistake” you make while practicing. You view each mistake as a barrier, something delaying you from realizing your goal and experiencing the joy that reaching that goal is going to give you.

To a professional, the process they follow to reach their goal is not a nuisance. Process is a necessity that amateurs overlook. Amateurs are fixated on the goal, professionals

continue to use the final goal as a rudder to steer [their] practice session, but not as an indicator of how [they] are doing.

Sterner advises us to avoid comparisons. Using the metaphor of a flower’s development, Sterner asks, “At what point in a flower’s life, from seed to full bloom, does it reach perfection?” We can’t proceed to “full bloom” and skip the process. Comparing our lives to “ideal images” will create unhappiness:

Do you think that a flower seed sits in the ground and says, “This is going to take forever. I have to push all this dirt out of my way just to get to the surface and see the sun. Every time it rains or somebody waters me, I’m soaking wet and surrounded by mud. When do I get to bloom? That’s when I’ll be happy; that’s when everybody will be impressed with me. I hope I’m an orchid and not some wildflower nobody notices. Orchids have it all . . . no, wait; I want to be an oak tree. They are bigger than anybody else in the forest and live longer, too.”

Seeking perfection is an amateur’s false goal, steering us away from our process. Sterner writes, “Our impatience to reach some false goal that will not make us any happier than we are right now.” Absorbed in what we are doing, impatience “fades away.”

Go pro, face Resistance; watch your commitment to a process pay compound interest.

You know when you are not in process mode. Your mind is flitting all over the place. Should haves, could haves, would haves come and go. Resisting the process, you are sure—like everyone else in the grip of an amateur mindset—the world is to blame for your lack of focus and progress.

You won’t find more than fleeting happiness by reaching a goal. Instead, go pro, face Resistance; watch your commitment to a process pay compound interest. You’re may be in the valley today but progress up the side of the mountain occurs one step at a time.

 

Source: How to Overcome the Fear, Doubt, and Anxiety That Inhibit Growth

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This video will show you how to deal with anxiety at work by addressing the #1 cause of all your anxiety at work. Get relief. — Want help? I do 1-on-1 Counseling on Skype: http://www.liveinthemoment.org/session/ — Get my FREE 40 page e-book: http://www.liveinthemoment.org/free-e… — Check out my #1 Amazon Bestseller: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00A… — Use my FREE web app “The 5 Steps”: http://www.liveinthemoment.org/the-5-… Noah Elkrief This video is about how to deal with anxiety at work, and how to handle anxiety at work. If you have been dealing with anxiety at work, it most likely seems as though the anxiety is created by your job, your co-workers, or your boss. But, in any moment that you don’t think about any of these, you will experience no anxiety at work. If your anxiety at work was caused by the facts of your situation, then you would feel anxiety in every moment at work. If you want to know how to deal with anxiety at work, or get anxiety relief, you first have to recognize that your anxiety is created by your thoughts and not by the facts. The next step for how to deal with anxiety at work is to recognize that your actions at work are not who you are.

 

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Mentally Strong People: The 13 Things They Avoid

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Editors’ Note: Following the huge popularity of this post, article source Amy Morin has authored a guest post on exercises to increase mental strength here and Cheryl Conner has interviewed Amy in a Forbes video chat about this article here.

For all the time executives spend concerned about physical strength and health, when it comes down to it, mental strength can mean even more. Particularly for entrepreneurs, numerous articles talk about critical characteristics of mental strength—tenacity, “grit,” optimism, and an unfailing ability as Forbes contributor David Williams says, to “fail up.”

However, we can also define mental strength by identifying the things mentally strong individuals don’t do. Over the weekend, I was impressed by this list compiled by Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker,  that she shared in LifeHack. It impressed me enough I’d also like to share her list here along with my thoughts on how each of these items is particularly applicable to entrepreneurs.

1.    Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves. You don’t see mentally strong people feeling sorry for their circumstances or dwelling on the way they’ve been mistreated. They have learned to take responsibility for their actions and outcomes, and they have an inherent understanding of the fact that frequently life is not fair. They are able to emerge from trying circumstances with self-awareness and gratitude for the lessons learned. When a situation turns out badly, they respond with phrases such as “Oh, well.” Or perhaps simply, “Next!”

2. Give Away Their Power. Mentally strong people avoid giving others the power to make them feel inferior or bad. They understand they are in control of their actions and emotions. They know their strength is in their ability to manage the way they respond.

3.    Shy Away from Change. Mentally strong people embrace change and they welcome challenge. Their biggest “fear,” if they have one, is not of the unknown, but of becoming complacent and stagnant. An environment of change and even uncertainty can energize a mentally strong person and bring out their best.

4. Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control. Mentally strong people don’t complain (much) about bad traffic, lost luggage, or especially about other people, as they recognize that all of these factors are generally beyond their control. In a bad situation, they recognize that the one thing they can always control is their own response and attitude, and they use these attributes well.

5. Worry About Pleasing Others. Know any people pleasers? Or, conversely, people who go out of their way to dis-please others as a way of reinforcing an image of strength? Neither position is a good one. A mentally strong person strives to be kind and fair and to please others where appropriate, but is unafraid to speak up. They are able to withstand the possibility that someone will get upset and will navigate the situation, wherever possible, with grace.

6. Fear Taking Calculated Risks. A mentally strong person is willing to take calculated risks. This is a different thing entirely than jumping headlong into foolish risks. But with mental strength, an individual can weigh the risks and benefits thoroughly, and will fully assess the potential downsides and even the worst-case scenarios before they take action.

7. Dwell on the Past. There is strength in acknowledging the past and especially in acknowledging the things learned from past experiences—but a mentally strong person is able to avoid miring their mental energy in past disappointments or in fantasies of the “glory days” gone by. They invest the majority of their energy in creating an optimal present and future.

8. Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over. We all know the definition of insanity, right? It’s when we take the same actions again and again while hoping for a different and better outcome than we’ve gotten before. A mentally strong person accepts full responsibility for past behavior and is willing to learn from mistakes. Research shows that the ability to be self-reflective in an accurate and productive way is one of the greatest strengths of spectacularly successful executives and entrepreneurs.

9. Resent Other People’s Success. It takes strength of character to feel genuine joy and excitement for other people’s success. Mentally strong people have this ability. They don’t become jealous or resentful when others succeed (although they may take close notes on what the individual did well). They are willing to work hard for their own chances at success, without relying on shortcuts.

10. Give Up After Failure. Every failure is a chance to improve. Even the greatest entrepreneurs are willing to admit that their early efforts invariably brought many failures. Mentally strong people are willing to fail again and again, if necessary, as long as the learning experience from every “failure” can bring them closer to their ultimate goals.

11. Fear Alone Time. Mentally strong people enjoy and even treasure the time they spend alone. They use their downtime to reflect, to plan, and to be productive. Most importantly, they don’t depend on others to shore up their happiness and moods. They can be happy with others, and they can also be happy alone.

12. Feel the World Owes Them Anything. Particularly in the current economy, executives and employees at every level are gaining the realization that the world does not owe them a salary, a benefits package and a comfortable life, regardless of their preparation and schooling. Mentally strong people enter the world prepared to work and succeed on their merits, at every stage of the game.

13. Expect Immediate Results. Whether it’s a workout plan, a nutritional regimen, or starting a business, mentally strong people are “in it for the long haul”. They know better than to expect immediate results. They apply their energy and time in measured doses and they celebrate each milestone and increment of success on the way. They have “staying power.” And they understand that genuine changes take time. Do you have mental strength? Are there elements on this list you need more of? With thanks to Amy Morin, I would like to reinforce my own abilities further in each of these areas today. How about you?

Cheryl Snapp Conner is a frequent speaker and author on reputation and thought leadership. You can subscribe to her team’s bi-weekly newsletter, The Snappington Post, here.

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I am an entrepreneur and communications expert from Salt Lake City and founder of SnappConner PR. I am the author of Beyond PR

 

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2013/11/18/mentally-strong-people-the-13-things-they-avoid/#2bd3b0056d75

Color of Clouds – Penny Wilson #writephoto — Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo

People think that your eyes are blue I know better the real you the one you show only to me I know your eyes are the color of clouds against a blue, blue sky Continue reading at Penny Wilson Writes

via Color of Clouds ~ Penny Wilson #writephoto — Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo

Lessons Learned — Ricardo

As the sky smiles, the street tears the chunks Fear units more than courage, a rock has sunk Wants the knowledge, he is back to that youth The barefoot cries, are unknown to love & truth He’ll never forget, lessons learned through hurt A tasted victory, a forced witness, a false rebirth A wish for […]

via Lessons Learned — Ricardo

Life Lessons: Durable, 3 — Ricardo

• WHERE IS THE GOOD • Turn (right), you (left) bigots! Here: Beethoven was deaf! Stevie Wonder is blind, he charms audiences like a theft Crazy Einstein? the planet’s brightest physicist? – I dare! and Hawking Steve is the mathematician stuck to a chair Where is the good? …in me being on my back paralysed […]

via Durable, 3 — Ricardo

SHARING THE LAST AND FIRST OF THE YEAR – Marilyn Armstrong — Serendipity – Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Share Your World 12-31-18 Writing this on the last day of the year to be published on the first of the new one, so it is the last and the first. May everyone’s New Year be full of joy, laughter, health, and hope! For the parents in the crowd: What would be the absolute worst name […]

via SHARING THE LAST AND FIRST OF THE YEAR – Marilyn Armstrong — Serendipity – Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

The Scientific Argument For Waking Up Early – Leon Biss

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If you want to become elite at what you do, you need to consistently get better. High performance is all about putting in more and “reps.” Doing the same workout every day won’t make you stronger or faster. Just showing up to work every day and doing your job won’t make you better at your job. It’s been shown that most doctors become worse at their job over their career. They are at their height when they come out of medical school and slowly get worse over time…….

Read more: https://medium.com/thrive-global/the-scientific-argument-for-waking-up-early-b3d93c4d74cd

 

 

 

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How to Stop Wasting Your Life Watching TV & Do Something Worthwhile With Your Downtime – Elizabeth Grace Saunders

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You get home from work, eat dinner, clean up, flop on the couch, and doze off watching TV or mess with your phone. Then you repeat the same routine Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Before you know it, you’ve hit the weekend, and it felt like all you did all week was work. In reality, you had an hour or two to do whatever you wanted each night. But because you didn’t consciously invest that time in meaningful or satisfying activities, every day felt like a grind……

Read more: https://www.fastcompany.com/90244574/how-to-stop-wasting-your-life-watching-tv-do-something-worthwhile-with-your-downtime

 

 

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TED – Why The Secret To Success Is Setting The Right Goals by John Doerr

Our Managers and institutions are failing us, but it’s not always because they’re bad or unethical, says venture capitalist John Doerr — often, it’s simply because they’re leading us toward the wrong objectives. In this practical talk, Doerr shows us how we can get back on track with “Objectives and Key Results,” or OKRs — a goal-setting system that’s been employed by the likes of Google, Intel and Bono to set and execute on audacious goals.

Learn more about how setting the right goals can mean the difference between success and failure — and how we can use OKRs to hold our leaders and ourselves accountable. Check out more TED Talks: http://www.ted.com The TED Talks channel features the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and more.

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How To Accept Process & Learn From Failure – Chris Myers

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Take a close enough look at any life of note, and you’ll quickly discover a legacy of failure. However, it’s important to distinguish between failed experiments and failure in the Platonic ideal sense of the word. Experimental failure happens when you try something, and it doesn’t work the way you intended. We’ve all experienced this brand of failure before. Perhaps you once worked up the courage to ask someone out, and you were turned down. Or, maybe you launched a new product on the market only to be met with utter silence. Regardless of the form it takes, this kind of experimental failure hurts, but it still has a silver lining. These experiences enable us to learn from our mistakes, find new solutions, and grow as individuals……

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/chrismyers/2018/09/18/how-to-accept-process-and-learn-from-failure/#39c393479ff6

 

 

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