We all have some characteristics that hold us back from the life we truly want to live. Motivational gurus constantly claim to have the answers and aren’t shy about telling us to do this and that.
If you’re reading this, then it’s quite possible that those things haven’t worked for you. The problem isn’t that these motivational teachers aren’t good, because most of them are. The problem is that most of us walk around with unresolved core issues and beliefs that are keeping us stuck.
I’ve gone through many of these characteristics myself. I have by no means overcome them, but I have progressively minimized the impact they have in my life. This is not a contest, there is no rush. As long as you’re taking small steps to improving yourself and getting closer to your goal, all is well.
This list is by no means complete, so when you’ve finished reading it, I want you to share your thoughts in the comments.
- Following the Rules
We all have this reflex to follow the rules. As we grew up, our parents, friends and teachers kept telling us to follow the rules. If you broke a rule, you were bad. I’m not talking about robbing banks or stealing kittens, I’m talking about breaking the rules that truly make a difference in your life.
Can’t quit your job because it’s “impossible” and even “irresponsible”? Rules impose a lot of can’ts and should’s into your life. Why are you accepting them? Just because everyone else is following the rules and saying farewell to their dreams doesn’t mean you have to. You are responsible for your life.
- Definition of Success
What’s your definition of success? Have you even thought about it? Allowing society to define your definitions can be dangerous and often leads to a broken and unfulfilled life.
When will you be successful? Who says you have to wait for anything? Why can’t you be and feel successful right now? My definition of success is following my heart and doing what I love. It’s tough to do. I know, because a few months ago I was in that boat. I was afraid, but I did it anyway, and the payoff has been amazing.
- Letting Fear Enslave You
Humans are hardwired to feel fear. It’s there to tell us something, both physically and spiritually. If you’re afraid to do something, try doing it anyway. There will never be a perfect opportunity to do anything, so if you’ve been putting off pursuing your passion, start now.
What can you do today that will take you one step closer? Even if it just means writing down your goals and visualizing what you want, start now. The importance is taking action. When I started pursuing my passion and started my blog, I was constantly afraid, but I did it anyway.
I realized something interesting when I did this: the fear went away as I kept going forward. You won’t always have a clear path in front of you. Hell, you will almost never have a clear path in front of you. With each step you take, you gain just enough clarity to take the next one. That’s what happened to me, and I’m more than happy with it.
- Being Greedy
I was a professional poker player for almost five years. During that time I realized the choke-hold that money had on me. However, greed doesn’t only apply to money; you can get greedy about anything.
The simple point is this: don’t let money or anything else get in your way. The things that truly matter in your life cannot be bought, such as doing what you love, being in fulfilling relationships and being happy for no reason at all. Greed sneaks up on you though, so you constantly have to be aware of what is happening.
Don’t fall into the same trap I did. I started out playing poker to pay for my travels, but I ended up back home playing to make more money for no reason at all.
- Destroying Your Body
There’s delicious food all around us. At any given moment, we can eat a pizza, hamburger or even buy some candy. These foods will ultimately lead to the destruction of your body. Being healthy requires eating healthy foods and moving your body (a.k.a exercise).
It isn’t easy. I know I have phases where I eat amazingly healthy, then I fall into a rut where I eat unhealthy foods here and there. The important thing is to relax. Don’t get mad at yourself just because you couldn’t follow a specific way of eating.
If you want to have a pizza once a month or even once week, that’s fine. The important thing is eating healthy most of the time.
- Having Fuzzy Goals
Without clear goals you’re going nowhere. And it’s not just about setting goals, it’s about setting the right goals. This all comes back to your definition of success. What matters to you? What do you really want from life?
I used to love money (and I still do to some extent), but I realized that I don’t need a lot of money to do what I want. Within a year of this realization, I sold most of my stuff and moved from Sweden to Spain with my girlfriend.
You do not have to wait for the perfect circumstances. You can do what you want, but you have to realize it first. If your first reaction is to come up with excuses as I say this, then you have some stuff to work through, and that’s okay.
- Being Comfortable
When you have enough, it feels easy to just maintain what you have. By now, I think you’ll know where that will lead you. Imagine the elderly people that are sitting on their death beds right now regretting their life. Sure, they were comfortable, but did they truly LIVE?
For all you know, you could die tomorrow. For some people it takes a near-death experience to realize that you have to live in the now and take responsibility for your life. Let’s make it easy for ourselves and jump over that nonsense. Let’s just start following our passion and purpose right now.
The world needs you to do what you love. There are people out there waiting for you. I am here to remind you that you can do what you love. Sure, you might fail a few times along the way. You might not know what you want, but so what? You’ll never live a fulfilling life without getting off your ass and facing your fears.
|Written on 2/21/2010 by Henri Junttila. Henri blogs at, Wake Up Cloud, where he shows you how you can earn money online ethically. You can also get the Passion Blogging Guide, which is free, but really shouldn’t be.||Photo Credit: liber|