In recent years the topics of the power of our thoughts and human potential have been studied more and more, both in the lab and real world. These studies have shown undeniable proof of what thought leaders like Wayne Dyer and Louise Hay have always known – our thoughts are incredibly powerful and create the reality through which we experience our lives.
And while changing one’s thoughts to embrace more empowering thought patterns and beliefs can change one’s life in ways they never thought possible, we also know that entertaining the wrong thoughts can lead to self-sabotage, imposter syndrome and missed potential.
There are 3 common phrases that seem harmless on the surface, and yet their acceptance and belief only serve to keep people playing small.
1. It’s lonely at the top
It’s no secret that human beings are tribal creatures. We were made to live within communities and support each other. In the mind, a community or a tribe means safety. And ultimately survival.
When we buy into the notion that it’s lonely at the top, we activate one of our most primal fears to work against us. This fear of being alone, of having to possibly be rejected and having to reject or let go of those that we love, leads to a fear that we won’t survive on our own. This sets the fear center of the mind (the amygdala) into a proverbial lockdown, where we sabotage our success to maintain the relationships and connections we rely on and need.
Instead: recognize that success is defined on our own terms. And while the journey to success will push us to grow and improve many aspects of ourselves, we can also choose to maintain the relationships that are most important to us in life. Afterall, how we spend every moment is a choice – just as making money and growing a business requires effort, so do the relationships that we care the most about bringing with us on the journey.
“Every thought we think is creating our future.” – Louise Hay
2. Be realistic
Being realistic is the enemy to entrepreneurship and innovation. To be realistic means to put a limitation or ceiling on what you are capable of achieving. And what is realistic depends completely on one’s belief systems about themselves and the world around them.
Society has never in history been moved forward towards the innovation and technological advances that are a standard in our world today by people being realistic. It was once scientifically believed that humans could not run a 4-minute mile. Roger Bannister, however, refused to believe this notion and since he broke the 4-minute mile barrier in 1954, thousands of others around the world have done it since.
It was unrealistic to think that humans could fly across oceans in a metal tube, until the Wright brothers invented the airplanes. Early computer sales people were told that computers were a phase, today you can find one in most every home and business.
When entrepreneurs buy into the notion of being “realistic” they let their fears and limiting beliefs tell them what’s possible. Instead: believe in the extraordinary and your potential to create it!
3. If I am grateful for what I have, I’ll lose motivation to achieve more
Experiencing gratitude for what you have and what you have achieved will not leads to complacency or a lack of motivation to continue to grow. In fact, gratitude does quite the opposite!
Our unconscious minds, specifically the Reticular Activating System, is designed to seek more of what we focus on. When we focus on making money, we are continually searching for more ways to make money. When we focus on gratitude, we unconsciously search for more ways to be grateful or more things to be grateful for. Therefore, the more gratitude we experience, the more motivation we’ll have to continue to grow and achieve.
In fact, neuroscientist Andrew Huberman from Stanford University shares that by celebrating our wins and practicing gratitude leads to having more overall energy. When we are constantly in a hustle mode, always striving to achieve more and more, our bodies continue to produce cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline – a combination of hormones that is known to deplete our mental and physical energy in the body. If you’ve ever experienced a hit of adrenaline (whether jumping out of a plane or dealing with an emergency) you know this to be true – while you may experience an initial hit of clarity, focus, energy and strength, as soon as the adrenaline inducing event is over you find yourself exhausted.
Dopamine and serotonin on the other hand buffer the effects of these stress hormones so we can experience true limitlessness. Dopamine is released in the body when we celebrate our wins, both big and small. Serotonin is released when we experience and feel grateful for anything in life.
Moving forward, start celebrating your daily wins and find time to practice gratitude for what you already have so you can ride the wave of energy and motivation to your next win, and the one after that!