7 Self-Defeating Psychological Habits That Stymie Success Until you persuade yourself that you have what it takes, nobody else is going to believe you do.

By Sherrie Campbell

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


The last thing any of us want to do is get in our own way of succeeding. Yet, despite this great intention much of the way our psyches operate is from the unconscious. Whatever is unconscious can wreak havoc on our path to success. To really get to where you desire to go, you must take inventory of your negative habits so you can become conscious of them enough to change them. To follow are seven habits which stand in your way of growing and succeeding.

1. Complaining.

Complaining is not just a bad habit, it has actually proven to have permanent effects on your brain. When you start any day off with negative assumptions or conclusions it makes it easier for you to have more negative thoughts in your future. Each time you complain and focus your attention on how things aren't working for you, you strengthen the negative thought muscles in your brain, making is easier and easier for you to focus on the down side of life. Further, complaining is contagious, as you complain you get others around focused on the negative as well.

To be successful you must become more aware of how you talk about a hard day and not only focus on the bad. Allow yourself to vent for a few minutes, but then force yourself at the end of your venting session to point out the positives in your day. In this way you give yourself a reality check that the world isn't ending and it opens your perspective to find opportunities to make improvements to the situation you are complaining about.

2. Limiting beliefs.

Limiting beliefs place direct limits on your movement forward in life. They serve as mental blocks. They are the negative thoughts and beliefs you rehearse over and over unconsciously like a broken record, and these eventually become the monsters in your heard which handicap you psychologically. Limiting beliefs have a horrible and negative effect on you by limiting your ability to consider the possibilities of ever achieving your goals and your ultimate success.

Believing that you cannot achieve success sets up a chain reaction of events which steer you away from your core desires, propel you to not take effective actions and prevent you from seeing favorable results and outcomes. These limiting beliefs lead to laziness and procrastination, a loss of focus on your goals and aspirations, and the natural deviation from your intended path and goals.

To be successful you must first become mindful of these monsters and to understand that each time you think them you are growing an even bigger monster. You must put the effort and discipline in necessary to train your mind to think in terms of your personal competence and great potential for success. Your mindset is your choice.

Related: 11 Mindsets Learned in Prison Made Me Mentally Unstoppable

3. Blaming others.

When things don't go smoothly those who blame, get angry. Blamers are selfish and emotionally immature. They find every reason that they should be excused from the natural consequences resulting from their actions. They are never wrong and engage in the consistent judgment of others. The main goal of blaming others is to protect not only their own emotions and ego, but also their whole life philosophy, which is why this anti-success tactic becomes both self-reinforcing and self-perpetuating.

We all make selfish, self-serving and lazy decisions now and again. This is what it means to be human. However, blamers have a consistent pattern of making reactive short-term decisions, consistently scapegoating others. To rid yourself of this habit you must begin a study of emotional intelligence and work to grow a more mature threshold of being able to listen, be wrong, and grow. If you cannot be wrong you completely impede your personal growth and directly limit your levels of success.

4. Negative self-talk.

When your self-talk is negative you make mountains out of a molehills. You perceive things to be more stressful than they are and you get busy talking yourself into it. If you tell yourself you cannot handle something, then you are more likely not to be able to handle it because your subconscious mind tends to believe the thoughts it hears. When you tell yourself you can't handle something, you naturally stop looking for solutions.

Stopping negative thoughts and creating a habitually positive internal dialogue can reduce stress and empower you. Change your inner dialogue by talking to yourself as if you are talking to someone you deeply believe in and want to inspire.

Related: Why Mindset Trumps Strategy Every Time

5. Dwelling on the past.

The past is the past. You all have painful pasts, you have all failed and you have made mistakes, but if you stay in the past you choose to live life from your weaknesses not your strengths. You live from fear, anger, resentment or other negatively charged emotions. There is no path to success if you can't stay present and future focused. You can only stay fixed where you place your thoughts and attention.

Learn from your past, and be grateful for it, but then let go and focus on what's next. Let history be your greatest teacher. If you want to succeed look at what you learned, let go of resentments and allow success to be your best revenge for whatever it is you are leaving behind. If you're alive, there is a new day in front of you, so you may as well take advantage of that as a human being with more wisdom as developed from your suffering.

Related: 3 Truths You Must Embrace to Lead Your Team to the Summit

6. Resistance to change.

Life and business are unpredictable. If you cannot flow with change, then you greatly inhibit your path to happiness and success. When you resist change you become controlling which serves to lower your overall morale and attitude towards work and life when things don't go your way. A lack of control will lead of you to feel fear or anger, or both. These emotions decrease your efficiency by decreasing your focus to perform your regular daily tasks. Reduced efficiency decreases your productivity, only making you feel more resentful and angry. Further, a rigid and angry attitude can become disruptive to your work environment where you negatively impact others; thereby, bringing the whole environment down.

Learn to flow. Adapt by airing out your grievances regarding the changes, and ask for help or assistance in areas you may feel you cannot succeed in. The more adaptable you can be, the less you resist life the smoother your path will be towards success. Make the conscious choice to view all change as good and for your benefit.

7. Approval seeking.

Approval seeking makes you appear needy, unintelligent, not capable and desperate. The more you please, the less you will succeed. You will be seen as a pushover and people will unconsciously start taking advantage of you. To be successful in any capacity you have to be confident in who you are and in your own opinions and beliefs. Get to the point where you believe you are entitled to have your own opinions and can still be respected when others don't view things the same way you do. It doesn't mean they are right and you are wrong. It is through embracing differences that success becomes exciting and dynamic.

It is through the rubbing against your differences with others that real growth happens. Great ideas come from great debate. The world is not black and white so remember the next time you want to shrink that the need for approval is a success killer. Know your worth, and stop auditioning for the approval of others. Do you work and let your success do the talking.

Sherrie Campbell

Psychologist, Author, Speaker

Sherrie Campbell is a psychologist in Yorba Linda, Calif., with two decades of clinical training and experience in providing counseling and psychotherapy services. She is the author of Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person. Her new book, Success Equations: A Path to an Emotionally Wealthy Life, is available for pre-order.

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