“The greatest boundaries that we face in our lives are very often the ones we ourselves create in our minds.”
– Ellyn Spragins
Ah, self confidence. That elusive, conflicting, amazingly powerful mythical creature. It’s something we all aspire to – that sense of trust in one’s self. But it can be challenging to achieve when the only person standing between me and my own self confidence is… well, me. For this is the immense power that the human mind wields. It can be the one thing that puts up boundaries between you and your goals, and at the same time it can be your greatest ally in smashing through those boundaries. The good new is that you have the ability to choose which.
What are your hopes, dreams, aspirations, and goals? We all have them. Some are grand and ambitious like wanting to start your own business, go on a round the world trip, or write a book. Some are more simple, but no less inspiring, like getting a new job, being able to run 2 miles without a break, or learning a language. The big dreams and the little everyday goals all have their own set of challenges to overcome. Life wouldn’t be interesting if it was completely devoid of challenges. It’s when those challenges seem insurmountable that we seem to get stuck in life. Regardless of how grand the aspiration may be, they all have one challenge in common – the mental boundaries that we put up ourselves.
Since we are the ones putting these boundaries up, we are the ones who have the ultimate power to tear them down. What we say to ourselves in our minds is incredibly impactful and sometimes we don’t even consciously realise that we are having these unhelpful thoughts. After all, whose opinions do you trust more than anyone else’s in the world? Your own.
‘Writing an entire book? I couldn’t possibly.’, ‘Running 2 whole miles? I’d collapse before I even made it half way!’ These are examples of boundaries that we put up ourselves in our own minds. Being aware of the fact that you are even having these kinds of unhelpful thoughts is half the battle. Being aware that it’s just a thought and not a hard fact takes the power out of a mental boundary.
‘Write an entire book? I’ll just start by trying to write a chapter. I can do that.’, ‘Run 2 whole miles? I’ll start with a ¼ mile and see how that goes.’ These are examples of smashing through mental boundaries. Not every task has to be completed in one go, and not every goal needs to be achieved immediately. Break them down mentally and chip away at them slowly and those huge boundaries suddenly look like tiny chalk marks on the pavement – you can step right over them. Tell your self that you can and you CAN.