How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself?-Epictetus
I’ve had a project idea for a couple of years now. It has loads of potential but I just haven’t been able to muster up the motivation to execute. I wondered why for a long time and realized that much of what’s holding me back is fear of failure, lack of confidence, and impostor syndrome. All of these are closely related.
I suppose many humans struggle with similar issues. We let our fears keep us away from our dreams. As a result, we deprive ourselves of maximum happiness and a chance to live the best possible life. Not good.
Consider that the most successful people in the world have taken risks that many of us would consider unacceptable. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and Michael Dell all dropped out of college. I’ll bet that their parents were not happy.
Sometimes, you have to jump. You may not be sure where you’re going to land. It’s uncomfortable and doesn’t align with what we’ve been taught. But outside of your comfort zone is where the greatest rewards lie.
I’ve been working on myself and thought I’d share some resources in case you’re struggling in the same way.
“I was there to win”
Tim Ferriss interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger. This one made me realize that my state of mind is not in the right place. I love what Arnold has to say about winning his first bodybuilding competitions:
My confidence came from my vision. If you have a very clear vision of where you want to go, the rest is much easier …I wasn’t there to compete. I was there to win.
“Every Authentic Voice is unique and complex, which is inherently interesting”
Wait But Why, Taming the Mammoth. This is the most important thing I’ve read for my own development. For much of my life, I acted in a way I thought I needed to act to get other humans to like me. This practice usually backfires as others see that you’re a fake and then like you even less.
This post is about why you should find and embrace your authentic voice. Lots of great wisdom:
…you’ve got to figure out what actually matters to you and start being proud of whoever your Authentic Voice is.
Is there a Puppet Master in your life? If so, who, and why?
If you find yourself making decisions partially based on not being talked badly about by a judgy person, think hard about what’s actually going on and stop.
“The more I felt like I belonged in that world, the more confidence I had…”
Mad FIentist: I was a little surprised that a friend I know to be a confident human has struggled with the same self-doubt and apprehension. The Mad FIentist has some great tips for how he got his dream project out the door in his latest podcast.
Here are three more good ones:
Mr. Money Mustache’s post on confidence: Just being confident in who you are and what you’re doing will take you a long way. Be sure to check out the Recipe For Badass Confidence towards the end of the post.
Stoicism: This brief post on stoicism reinforced something I had known for a long time; ego is incredibly toxic. I now know that almost all of my unhappiness comes from my ego. One example is that when I act shitty, it’s because of my own issues:
Most rudeness, meanness, and cruelty are a mask for deep-seated weakness. Kindness in these situations is only possible for people of great strength.-Ryan Holiday
The Little Book of Stoicism is really great:
When we’re not enslaved to our emotions, we can express the highest version of ourselves in every moment. When we do that there’s simply no room for regret, fear, or insecurity.
How long will you wait to start demanding the best for yourself? Your time is finite. Don’t wait too long.
Final thing related to my project: I need some help with customizing WordPress. I pay well! If you know how to customize a theme, hit me up!
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Lots of nuggets of wisdom scattered through here!
Stoicism may as well be the official philosophy of reaching long-term goals along paths away from the heard.
I appreciate the Arnold quote: “I wasn’t there to compete. I was there to win.”
His focus isn’t on others, it’s not a comparison of himself to those around him–it’s the follow his plan to achieve his goals, it’s to win. Winning has its own boundaries and criteria, it’s not just being “better” than others.
Comparison has a way of bogging us down with self-doubt as we wonder if we really belong, which is doubly true when you’re first entering unfamiliar territory. Just as Mad Fientist said, “The more I felt like I belonged in that world, the more confidence I had…”–when you stop comparing yourself to others that are already familiar with the path ahead, and instead focus on creating your own successes, you gain the self-confidence to forge your path.
Financial independence is a different path than what the rest of the world is following, comparing yourself to the conspicuous consumption that occurs around you is a recipe for self-doubt and failure. You’re running a different race with a finish line in a different place. How would it be reasonable to compare yourself? It’ll only steal the joy you’ve earned with your past successes.
Chris@TTL recently posted…How Comparison Is the Thief of Joy and Your Superpower
Dave @ Accidental FIRE says
I’ve been doing a much better job of demanding the best for myself in the past 3 years that I’ve been semi-retired than I did in my entire life before that. It’s been a rewarding journey.
Great post and thanks for the highlight – I never thought I’d be famous enough to have my picture in a post on 1500 Days!
Dave @ Accidental FIRE recently posted…Judging My Former Self
Hooked by the title, and enjoyed the post. A quick but motivating read. I’ve been considering making a pretty big shift, and I think this may have helped push me over the edge!
Ed recently posted…120+ Real Teacher Interview Questions (In 12 Categories)
Lazy Girl says
So many examples of how mindset is the most powerful tool for anything you’re trying to accomplish.
Leaving these quotes where you can regularly see them is a helpful way to force them into your subconscious as well. I’ve been known to send myself a meeting invite for a few weeks into the future with a great quote like these, just in case I’ve forgotten and started doubting myself or lost confidence in the in-between time.
Lazy Girl recently posted…20 lazy workout ideas to help you avoid real exercise
Mr. 1500 Days says
“Leaving these quotes where you can regularly see them is a helpful way to force them into your subconscious as well.”
This is a great idea! I’m not into tattoos, but if I can grab one of these for cheap: https://www.amazon.com/Ultra-Bright-Programmable-Scrolling-Multiple-Programs/dp/B077CFZ7SL/ref=sr_1_10?dchild=1&keywords=scrolling+sign&qid=1602713650&sr=8-10
Enjoyed this and it really gets you to think. In many cases, the biggest thing holding us back is ourselves.
BC | FrugalWheels says
Pretty much me with my bathroom project. lol But, I think to counter that narrative, I would argue a little fear of failure isn’t such a bad thing. I think there is a balance and these things come up because people are usually too far on the fear side of the equation. Balance never makes for pithy Instagram quotes and is much tougher to find, but I think it’s the key to just about every area of life. It all comes down to balance.
This played out for me recently as I had been contemplating leaving my job and starting a competing company. The fear factor made me weigh the decision carefully and think it through. Meanwhile, a less risky business presented itself; one I could do on the side. I decided to step in, taking the small risk as a learning opportunity. So far it’s been growing, and I now realize it might lead not only to a decent side hustle business, but has the potential to be my main source of income some day. Or at least a health supplement post-FI. And thinking about starting that other business got me in the business mindset and has given me other, also less risky ideas. Basically, the fear led to a LOT of research, which has benefited me tremendously.
BC | FrugalWheels recently posted…Home buying: a retrospective
Excellent and timely post for me. Thank you.
Thank you for sharing.
I will change myself now, build some plans for next year, and create good habits to be better.
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