Fall Down Five Times Get Up Six
Overanalyzing every decision you make is a terrible habit to fall into. We’re all guilty of it. Our feelings of uncertainty drive us to overthink and doubt ourselves. Collecting more information and noodling about every potential outcome might make you think you are advancing toward a goal when you’re really just spinning your wheels.
We especially fall into this overanalyzing trap when we make a mistake or experience a setback. When this happens, not only do we experience the mistake in the present, but our minds’ inner critic reminds us of all our failures from the past. Pretty soon, we’re cemented in negative thoughts, feeling bad about ourselves, and spinning our wheels repeating these things over and over.
And even though this feels crappy, for many of us it is familiar because it is a life pattern. “After all,” your inner critic thinks, “it just confirms what I already know to be true; because I lack confidence, I must not good enough for x, y, or z.”
Can you relate?
Now the “old” you may have stopped there, but not the confident, successful person you are becoming! Life is too short for that type of thinking.
How you deal with failure and setbacks is contingent on one thing and one thing only—your mindset. And mindsets can be changed, cultivated, and created any way you choose. Successful people know this and have worked hard to make sure setbacks don’t become their Achilles heel. You can too.
Start by recognizing that when you have a setback, all of your past difficult life experiences, pains, and stressful circumstances want their voices to be heard. They want to remind you you’re not good enough. They want you not to get your hopes up because you’ll only get knocked down again. Interestingly enough, successful people have that voice too. It’s normal. But the difference is successful people know how to turn that voice off early and often.
In order to do that, you need to change the relationship you have to those voices. Instead of letting them steer your ship, you need to see them as one buoy in an ocean of buoys. So let’s say your big project proposal just got rejected from your boss. A total confidence setback. Here are the steps to follow next.
1. It’s important to acknowledge your feelings when they come up or they will get louder and continue trying to get your attention. For example, when you start thinking, “I’m such a loser—my project got rejected. I never do anything right,” you acknowledge it by labeling your feeling in the simplest, most objective way. Think to yourself, “I’m feeling disappointed” or “I’m feeling dejected.”
2. Then you take a few deep belly breaths. This will help you reconnect with your prefrontal cortex and disconnect from your reflexive “fight or flight” tendency.
3. Next, you identify three constructive pieces of learning you can take from this situation.
4. Finally, remind yourself to put this behind you and keep going forward.
You may think that mindsets are determined at birth or that changing one’s mindset requires years of intensive therapy. Neither are true. Thanks to research by Dr. Carol Dweck from Stanford, we know that mindsets are changeable simply by deciding to change them, and then repeatedly reinforcing the growth you want to incorporate.
Today’s action assignment is to commit to continue working on your confidence despite inevitable setbacks.
Tomorrow, you’ll be stretched to do seemingly magical things.
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