Recurring negative thoughts form the biggest obstacles you must overcome on the path to creating the life that you want to live.
These negative thoughts come in a number of forms. Some are obvious; others less so. The first step to clearing these hurdles in your life is to develop the ability to recognise them.
Once you see can see them for what they are, you can begin to break through to become the best version of yourself.
Let’s take a look at a few of these barriers to your self-improvement so you can efficiently recognise and overcome them on your journey.
The Leopard Can’t Change It Spots
It’s true, a leopard can’t change its spots. But you aren’t a leopard and we aren’t really talking spots here.
Often cited as an excuse for failure, this attitude to life presents itself in common statements such as ‘It’s not really my thing’ or ‘I’ve never really been good at x’
A little self-reflection here will swiftly reveal the seductive comfort of hiding behind such statements.
Fortunately, there is little scientific evidence to justify wallowing in such a self-defeating mindset. Research has shown time and again that it is entirely possible to create new habits in as little as 3 weeks.
A quick browse on the internet will reveal countless examples of people who have turned their lives around starting from way worse starting points than yours.
Nice try, negative thought patterns – what else you got?
The Curse of Keeping Up Appearances
At the end of the day, you really only have yourself to answer to and there is no hiding place from the man or woman in the mirror.
Most likely, we already know this to be true intellectually, but somewhere deep in our core we often fret about what others think about us. So much wasted energy and effort. Energy and effort that we’d be much better off investing in our martial arts training, or in other pathways to self-improvement.
The truth is, if we act to please others we will be destined to fail. It is simply impossible to please everyone all the time.
To live an authentic life, we need to listen to our own judgments on the best course to take.
While the judgment of others may intimidate, to be judged by ourselves and be found wanting is much more terrifying and unforgivable.
The “I’m Too Busy” Excuse
In the vast majority of cases, this is nothing more than an excuse.
Look, we all live busy lives. Our To-Do lists expand to fill the space available.
But, a brief look at some of the greatest accomplishments in history suggests that the vast majority were attained by extraordinarily busy people.
And you can’t make a few Muay Thai or BJJ training sessions a week?
If you can’t find time to train in your chosen martial art, it’s because you most likely haven’t mastered your time management skills. Or, you have failed to distinguish between being productive and mere busy-ness.
A little time spent correcting these areas will see the necessary space opening up in your previously packed schedule.
The “I’ve All The Time in the World” Excuse
This is the eternal optimist’s answer to the excuse above and, if it’s yours too, know now that you don’t.
If you’re in your 30s or 40s and postponing starting martial arts training because you think you’ll have plenty of time to get around to it in the future, you need to rid yourself of those thoughts right now.
Life is fleeting. It’s what gives each moment its immeasurable value. If you can’t find the time now to do something you are passionate about, what makes you think you’ll find it easier in a year or two?
A dream delayed is a dream denied, to paraphrase a well-worn expression.
A few years back a nurse published a list of the most common regrets of the dying. Topping that list was “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself.”
It’s at the feet of the negative thinking patterns outlined above that the blame for these regrets lie.
You’ll miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, that’s a given.
But, there is no need to suffer the same pointless regret in your later years. Break through the negative thinking that holds you back and you will claim the priceless rewards that lie on the other side.
Believe me, it’s worth the fight.