How Your Mind Creates a Prison

Rid Yourself of Stress & Anxiety

I know many people who feel trapped and are suffering. I’ve felt that way myself at certain points in my life. But there are tell-tale signs and ways to combat the lingering effects of suffering that turn into a mental trap. Below, I’ve identified several different areas where we circumvent our own success and solutions to help you break your self-made prison.

You don’t have nearly as much control as you think, but you still want it. It’s a vicious cycle when we focus on the things outside of our control; it’s a no-win situation. I’ve spent time worrying about things outside of my control and wondered, “What am I doing?” The idea of worrying about things outside of our control can make you feel a little crazy. Well, that’s because it’s never-ending and the worry of that nature gets us nowhere other than anxiety-ridden.

“You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway. ” — Steve Maraboli

Solution: Make your world small and start focusing on the details that you affect personally.

Take the time to write a list of all the things that you’re currently concerned about. Now draw three large circles, one within the other. Write all the things you’re worried about that you have 100% control over in the smallest circle. The second circle is for all the things that you have some influence over the outcome. Let’s be honest in this second circle; it’s not about seven-degree of separation. Think realistically about what you have some control over. The final and largest circle place all the concerns that you have no control over. The majority of people’s concerns are in the largest circle, the one they have zero control over. When control becomes an issue, focus on the circle you have 100% control of and let go of the others. Part of your mental health is knowing what you have control of and what you don’t. Stay focused on being better in the areas you can make legitimate improvements.

Most of us, if not all of us, have good intentions. However, all the good intentions in the world mean nothing without action. Too many times, we get caught in the deliberation stage and never leave it. Whatever reason you create to justify your lack of real progress, stop.

“I would not sit waiting for some vague tomorrow, nor for something to happen. One could wait a lifetime, and find nothing at the end of the waiting. I would begin here, I would make something happen.”― Louis L’Amour

Solution: Basic plans and maintain consistent action.

“A lot of people never use their initiative because no-one told them to.” ― Banksy

You’re reading this, so I’m telling you, “Use your initiative!” Stop trying to conceive the perfect plan. Stop thinking about why it won’t work, and allow yourself to put your ideas into action. Nothing is ever perfect, but that’s what life is about. Learn and grow, and this is what happens when you try. If you don’t put yourself out there, you’ll spend the rest of your days trying to convince yourself how it would’ve never worked. The truth is you don’t know if you don’t try, and we’re so much better off trying. If you can learn just one thing, it’s that consistency pays off. Keep striving, keep learning, and keep adapting. Consistent effort is typical of the differentiator between success and failure.

“One of the greatest journeys in life is overcoming insecurity and learning to truly not give a shit.” ― J. A. Konrath

You just have this feeling that you’re not good enough. What you’re trying to accomplish has been done before or at the very least done by someone more talented than you. You just can’t do it, and you keep listening to the voices in your head or the talking heads around you that are also fearful of failing.

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” ― Steven Furtick

Solution: Build a foundation of confidence. Micro to macro when it comes to goals.

The former British cycling team director, Sir Dave Brailsford, popularized the term marginal gains. Marginal gains are about getting 1% better in multiple areas, and the result is being considerably better because of these small incremental gains. Now apply this idea to your life. What areas can you improve ever so slightly? How can we build on the things we do and get just a little better. Slowly building is the only way to build a foundation that will last. Take the small steps and appreciate every incremental growth. They all add up to more. Most of us see the results of success, and we don’t consider all the small successes and failures that eventually added up to where that successful person is now.

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