It was Ren Descartes who said "I think, therefore I am." Descartes was a man of radical doubt: everything that exists in the world is perceived and sensed, therefore we can never be absolutely sure of the world's truths. The only known truth is the existence of our minds, which do the perceiving, the sensing, and the doubting.
So according to Descartes, everything really is all in our heads. Now think about how this applies to your career and success. If your mind dictates your experience of your work, then you are much more in control of your destiny than you may believe. Your thoughts determine your confidence, motivation, performance, ultimate fate, and more.
The challenge with the mind is that it is naturally negatively bent, and this keeps us from tapping into the incredible amount of positive potential we possess. We have to consciously reverse the negative in order to get to the positive.
Here are 7 common thoughts that will affect your ability to be successful. You may think these simple ideas all the time, but know that they are a true threat to your career trajectory.
1. I am not good enough.
This is the real killer. All too often we don't think we are worthy of the things we desire. Sometimes we think we don't know enough and we have to keep chasing new degrees and certifications. Sometimes we think that no matter how much learning, we just aren't smart enough.
Stop that right now. Whenever you get these kinds of thoughts, remember more often than not we underestimate our abilities. It's just how our brains are wired. You may be doubting how smart and worthy you are, but know that the people around you are most likely more than happy to have you at the table. Shake it off and remind yourself of your worth.
2. I have to prove myself to my parents, my friends, and my community in order to feel successful.
It is so natural to want to live up to the expectations of the people that matter to us. We want to show our parents that we can be successful. We can't help but compare ourselves to our friends. And we want our communities to be proud of us.
But here's the thing: the best way to prove yourself to others is to excel on your own terms. Find your passion, and focus on finding work that is fulfilling and challenging to you. You set the terms. When others see how happy and engaged you are in your life and work, they'll know you are doing something right.
3. No amount of money is enough.
I hate seeing people on the money treadmill. We equate salary with success, so the minute we increase our paychecks we are thinking about how to get to the next level and make even more money.
Whenever you are overwhelmed with thoughts of finances, confront these thoughts rationally. Take an objective look at your savings, expenses, debt, and other financial goals. Then, honestly answer this question: is my current financial situation sustainable? If the answer is yes, that's a green light to stop worrying and focus on other things, like increasing your joy at work or making more time for your hobbies. If the answer is no, then think strategically about the little steps you can make to get yourself to a more sustainable situation. And remember, you don't need to be a millionaire to make your dream job possible.
4. I don't have a superpower that sets me a part from others.
Yes, you do! It's all a matter of finding out what you do better than anyone else. Each of us lives a life full of unique experiences. The way you personally approach the world lends you specific strengths and skills.
Don't believe me? I don't blame you. Even though your superpower might be right under your nose, it's often hard to recognize it in ourselves without a little outside help. It might take a little work, but in time you can unleash your genius.
5. I will never enjoy my work--only the results.
It's unfortunate we live in a culture that positions "work" as the opposite of "fun" or "play." But we can make that cultural shift. You should not only be proud of the fruits of your labor, but also take joy in the work process itself.
Take a few minutes to reflect on your current work experience. When do you feel most alive? When do you feel the most drained and the least inspired? Now think about the little changes you can make. Taking the time to be more aware of your cycles of joy and struggle and consciously modifying the way you work can make all the difference.
6. I am not passionate about anything.
Finding your passions and your purpose in this world is what life is all about. All it takes is a decision from you to make it a priority. If you feel passionless, it means you're probably stressed out. Don't give up, and in the meantime, make it a passion to find your purpose.
7. I will never have my dream job.
Snap out of your illusions because your dream job is possible, especially as we enter a future of work that values joy, fulfillment, and deep connection in our careers. We are finally at an age where people are realizing the true value of people being happy, engaged and good fits for their jobs.