We all tend to admire great people. People that have shaped the way the world is through their personal courage like Gandhi, or Nelson Mandela. Or others who have shaped the way we think, like Albert Einstein or Plato. And then there are those who inspire us because they overcame their limitations, like great athletes, or artists, or writers, or entrepreneurs, or discoverers, or inventors.
Compared with these giants of mankind, our lives can seem insignificant. But in fact, greatness is hidden within all of us. We just need to bring it out.
Are these three things holding you back?
1. We believe that we have limits.
I’m sure you can remember your parents or your teachers say something that implied that you’re somehow mediocre. Maybe they said that you weren’t intelligent enough, or talented enough, or -well – simply not good enough.
2. We buy into social myths.
When people say that we are too young, or too old, or too stupid, or that we are the wrong gender, to achieve our dreams – we tend to believe them. Greatness means transcending social norms. It means letting go of what other people think we can or can’t achieve. Remember that it’s not your business what others think about you.
3. We harbor secret self doubts.
What do you really feel about yourself? Are you confident – or do you have self-doubts? Lack of confidence saps the energy we need to make our life into something of value – not just for ourselves, but for those whose lives we touch. Our self-doubts are the negative voices that we heard from others when we were little. We not only internalize these negative messages, we’ve tend to amplify them. A good starting point for letting go of self-doubts is to actually notice the negative messages in your mind. Awareness is the first step of change.
Here’s how to bring out the greatness within:
• Trust your dream
Greatness comes in many sizes. Greatness means that you become fully yourself and transcend your doubts and perceived limitations. Greatness doesn’t mean that you need to do huge things. It means that whatever you do, you pour into it your complete being.
• Gear up with passion.
Passion is what gives us the strength to follow our dreams. It’s the powerhouse that can uncover our hidden greatness. Because passion drives us forward and allows us to overcome setbacks and obstacle.
• Don’t thrash.
Imagine a boating accident where everyone falls overboard. Who do you think has the best chance of survival – the one who’s in panic and thrashes around, or the one who thinks clearly about the best strategy -whether it’s safer to cling to the wreck, to swim to shore, or to stay afloat until rescue arrives? My money would be on the resourceful one who conserve energy and make a plan. The same principle is important when overcoming hardship. Don’t thrash – create a survival plan instead.
• Get up after falling.
Failure and making mistakes are inevitable – if you’re human. Just look at how often toddlers fall over when they learn to walk. I think the reason many of us give up after initial problems is because failure seems to reinforce hidden self-doubts. Actually, making mistakes means that you are learning. One way to increase success is to increase your failure rate. Because each so-called failure overcome is a step forward towards actualizing your dream.
• Count your blessings.
Sometimes we tend to focus on difficulties, and not on what is going well. That can get us down, instead of lifting us up. I know someone who described her life as two steps back and one step forward because of her lack of confidence. Sounds familiar? But the amazing thing is that she is in the process of completing a PHD. What that means is that she has already gone through a huge, successful journey of getting to where she is. However, her self-doubts are preventing her from actually seeing how well she’s doing – even though she’s got challenges to overcome.
• Don’t listen to the knockers
Many people are quite negative because they feel bad about themselves. They want to pull down achievers to their own level. Remember that their criticism of you is just an expression of their own self-doubts and fears.
• Put your heart, soul, and sweat into your dreams.
Great people work incredibly hard – success doesn’t come by accident. I recently got an email, saying, “I want to be successful without having to do much.” Sorry, friend – but that’s not how it works!