As we seek to overcome the challenges in our lives we discover excellent beliefs and values that we intend to follow, but most people end up in the same old patterns of behaviors and thoughts that keep them from reaching their full potential even though they have read and heard things that they believe would help them achieve a better life. The quote above, illustrates one of the ways we can overcome one of the most common blocks to moving forward and achieving what we want and need in our lives. We can either allow fear to stop us in our tracks; or we can look at what frightens us, and move forward anyway. We want to avoid becoming focused on the great chasm in front of us instead of focusing on our goal and pushing through the fear. This blog will explore some of the roadblocks to following our true beliefs and values; and some of the ways we can overcome those blocks to finding our true purpose in life.
- Fear can come from many sources within and around us: Fear of failure; fear of success (and the responsibility that comes with it); fear of change; fear of displeasing others or losing approval; fear generated by people who want to manipulate us; and many other sources. Learn what you fear, then decide if you really want that to keep you stuck in the situations and habits that hold you back from happiness and fulfillment. Remember, there is nothing wrong with fear. It is one of the most common and natural core human emotions. We just have to be aware of our fears, and get past them if we want to achieve anything worthwhile in life. I, personally, rely on my faith to get me past fear.
- Focusing on what we want to Avoid can seem like a good thing to do, because it seems like we are just watching out for the enemy. Yes, we do need to be aware of dangers, pitfalls, and enemies; but we need to simply be aware, not focused on them.
- Not having a clear Focus on a Specific Goal is very common. Without a clear, specific goal, you will end up being distracted by other things and other possibilities in life. Some people see this as being “open-minded.” It is actually just being unfocused in life. People who reach their goals work out the details of the steps needed to get there, refine their goals, adapt and persist through unforeseen blocks (which are very likely to happen), develop an attitude of determination, visualize their goals being reached, and practice every day. Some successful people are described as obsessed, which is fine as long as other important areas of life are not being ignored (like relationships, health, and service to others).
- Looking at the Limits to our goals may sometimes seem to be just being realistic and avoiding disappointment; but while we do need to be aware of the limitations in ourselves and the environment, we need to find ways to overcome or compensate for those limitations.
- We all have conscious and unconscious Core Beliefs that guide every thought we think and every move we make in our lives. Many of these core beliefs were formed early in life, before we even had words to attach to them. Examine what you truly believe, and what you say to yourself about you, the world around you, and God. These beliefs will either move you forward in a positive direction, or hold you back and keep you stuck. Truly examining these beliefs and changing these beliefs often requires the assistance of a counselor, life coach, or psychotherapist because many beliefs are deeply engrained and exist on a subconscious level. There are several good books that can help also, including: Prisoners of Belief, by Matthew McKay and Patrick Fanning.
- Lack of Persistence in practicing new thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors is probably the most common roadblock to being true to ourselves. Old thought and behavior patterns are established and difficult to over-ride, no matter how dysfunctional they are, and no matter how much we embrace a new pattern. We can just automatically revert back to old patterns despite our best intentions. It takes a lot of practice to establish a new thought and/or behavior pattern. Set up reminders in your life of everything you want to establish as your new belief and behavior patterns. My sister goes so far as to have sayings painted on canvas and framed in her home. This has been highly effective.
Do whatever it takes to be consistent and persistent in reaching your goals, and to reach your true purpose and passion in life. You have a very important role in this world.
Christopher Knippers, Ph.D. September 28, 2016