Illustration: Ashley Siebels
“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” — Mark Twain
Lies, like fears, are what hold us back from doing great things — truly great things. So, in the abstract, it never makes sense to lie — to ourselves or others. And yet, all of us, at some point of our lives, have, at minimum, told lies to ourselves. “You’re not good enough.” “You aren’t the person you think you are.” And so on. These lies can end up destroying us if we let them.
See, lies can work for a period of time. But intrinsically, they are deceptive. There’s no foundation. Nothing redeeming to sustain them. There’s no truth. Truth is the fundamental principle that is needed for you to believe in anything that you say or do. Truth is where you have to begin.
We’re all taught from a young age to tell the truth for good reason. Love, friendships, business deals, any relationship is inherently based in truth. In case you doubt this, take a look around the people you know in your life right now. Your intuition and heart will let you know if you have a positive, lasting relationship with these people. And furthermore, you will know if your relationship is based on candor, authenticity, love, warmth and kindness.
The truth lives in all of these beautiful principles and values.
So why, you ask, do we lie? Lying is a short-term hedge meant to cover-up a flaw. It’s meant to buy us time. But boy, do we end up losing time when we lie. It’s a very slippery slope. Everyone from little children to the elderly need to know that they are dealing in the truth. When someone feels deceived, their defense mechanisms are up. Their mind is forever changed. They no longer believe or trust you. Hope is lost.
Herein, I have listed the 10 biggest lies we tell ourselves. Take a look — let me know if you see some of yourself in there. Because I have the solutions for all of them. Live in the truth and let it set you free.
I won’t be able to sustain my success
Explanation: So, you’ve started running down your dream and you’re doing pretty well. But instead of continuing forward and building upon your previous gains, you become so analytical that it begins to paralyze you. You start questioning yourself, not as much on your past performance, but about what the future holds for what you aim to do. And you stop. You doubt. You begin to crumble.
Solution: Begin with the end goal in mind and reverse engineer your path from there. This limits an anxious, negative kind of future seeking mindset. If you find that your view of the future is limiting in belief and that your mental architecture only builds so far before it self-destructs, plan and do like you already have it. This is the successful path of champions.
I can’t overcome my past mistakes
Explanation: We obsess far too much over the past. The past is there — and we have a memory — to be able to look back, take the lessons with us, extract the positive and keep taking that to move us forward to the present and future. Furthermore, dismiss this notion that you cannot improve your performance. Isn’t this exactly what this lie is about? You mean to tell me you won’t get better?
What’s done is done. You can overcome anything in life. You need to believe in yourself. You need a great support system. And you need the discipline to focus all of your energy on what you’re doing in this present moment. Mistakes? Yes, we’ve all made a few. And they make us stronger, better, wiser and more resolute — they don’t leave us stuck.
Solution: What if I told you that the most successful people— from the famous (Steve Jobs and J.K. Rowling), to the people that are closest to you — blazed their path by refusing to give up (mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally) in the face of failure, mistakes or adversity. The best stories — the richest, most amazing — are ones where the person refused to give up.
You can always overcome your biggest mistakes. And the best part is, you just have to start believing that this is possible. Start with faith. Then start building again. And keep going.
“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of Wisdom.” — Thomas Jefferson
I have a great idea, but I don’t have the right connections
Explanation: You think that people and relationships will make everything work for you on your path to happiness and success.
Solution: Let me first tell you that knowing influential people helps. But it’s not the be-all, end-all. You have Medium. You have Facebook, Linked in, YouTube and countless digital media platforms at your disposal. These platforms were built with your specific dreams and hopes in mind! They want to give you the platform to voice what you want to say.
If you have a great idea, like many successful entrepreneurs and artists before you, you can give it life and put it out into the world.
You can hold it for yourself. You can invent something. Get a copyright or trademark. And muster up the courage to give it to the world. Begin building relationships. Network first in your immediate circle, begin attracting others through clubs you join, events you can attend at your local library, or take a flyer on attending a seminar or workshop that looks interesting to you.
Get on Linked in and try reaching out to successful people that you think might be willing to entertain a conversation. Not everyone will respond. But maybe the right person will.
That person succeeded, but they did it with luck
Explanation: Luck exists but it’s not often what people ascribe things to or what we think. We create our own luck. From Psychologist Richard Wiseman:
“Unlucky people are generally more tense than lucky people and this anxiety disrupts their ability to notice the unexpected. As a result, they miss opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. Lucky people, on the other hand, are more relaxed and open, which means they see what is there.”
Merriam-Webster defines “Luck” as: a force that brings good fortune or adversity. The events, opportunities or circumstances that operate for or against an individual.
Solution: I believe luck is born from opportunity and through the extended arm of others. Good things arrive from the benevolence and goodwill of others, not by sudden, random happenstance. None of us make it on our own, though we do attract greater energy and synergy from the universe when we’re putting forth positive thought vibrations and actions.
We make so much of our own luck. Luck exists. And the harder we work, the more we dream, the more passionate we are about what we’re doing, the luckier we become.
I can continue to partition certain parts of my life (the concept of doing certain wrong things, while basically living a split personality and duality of who you are)
Explanation: This is just straight-up crazy. The straight-laced, successful family man that cheats on his wife. The person who parties all night but still gets good grades. The person who is nice to everyone professionally, yet segregates that from the life they live at home. Perhaps someone with lots of pent-up anger who hits or abuses his girlfriend or children.
If you’re living a double-life, that’s a problem. It may show itself to work in the short-term, on occasion, but you’re deluding yourself if you think this is a long-term strategy for happiness and success. There should be synchronicity to what you do. Rhythm and flow between the different areas of your life.
Solution: You can segregate your work/school life from your personal life (in terms of not necessarily wanting to share aspects of your personal life with colleagues), but be yourself in all circumstances. Be the true you. Be true to your values, principles and morals. And make a daily commitment to earn your keep and develop greater pride and joy around being who you’re meant to be.
“True belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” — Brene Brown
I can’t build the life I want “on the side” because of what others will think
Explanation: What is the cost to you right now to continue living your life in fear?
What is the cost to you right now of kowtowing to the made-up, untrue “thoughts” that others may or may not have of you?
This is the classic worry of someone whose mind is controlled by fear, anxiety and insecurity. They stop themselves in their tracks because they’re worried what others might think. They start something, then immediately fold their hand because they’re so fearful of what “others” might think. What I think, is that you’ll be surprised to find out that most people are ONLY concerned with themselves.
Solution: When people begin to take notice at what’s going on in the world around them, they often open their eyes to productive, inspirational, motivational, successful and happy people. These are people that build the life they truly want and live it on their terms — other people’s opinions be damned.
Be proud of who you are. If you feel in your heart that you’re an artist, entrepreneur, athlete, whatever, then go for it.
Because the God’s honest truth is no one is stopping you. You’re stopping you. This is one of the worst, most pernicious lies we tell ourselves.
People aren’t really supporting me, they’re laughing behind my back thinking I won’t make it
Explanation: I’ve told myself this lie on a lot of different occasions. Do you want to know when I’ve told it to myself? Every time that I’ve been on the cusp of launching a new life for myself. A new dream.
- Writing my first book
- Launching my coaching business
- Making the bold decision to move across the country to attend graduate school (with a lot of unknowns)
So many people play things conservatively. Playing things conservatively in all areas of life is NOT a bad overall life strategy. At least not in the short-term. But in the long-term, it’s a losing proposition. And this is what the people who (may or may not) laugh behind your back never understand. Life is about risk. There is great reward in great risk.
Solution: So when you decide to launch your new business, when you leave that dead-end job to pursue a degree or your dream, when you follow your heart toward true love, even when others disapprove, know that you’re stepping out and breaking the mold of conventional. Follow your heart. Do what you believe. And trust your instincts. You can always change course if you find that what you bet on isn’t a winner.
There’s no shame in that. That’s what smart people do.
Do you. Some people won’t be able to comprehend this. Do it anyway, if your heart is telling you to be bold and strong.
I won’t start a business because mine won’t succeed because so many businesses fail
Explanation: While many businesses do fail, you’re already entering with the wrong mindset. If you enter into ANY situation in life with a pessimistic mindset that lacks confidence, you’ve already lost. Not just halfway — all the way. You have to believe that you’re going to succeed. You also have to do your research. Research the market. Research your product or offering.
Solution: Do the painstaking research and homework that you need to test and test and test to be sure that your business has a viable path to success. Talk to others. Get feedback. Understand what people want. Do case studies of businesses that have both succeeded AND failed. You’ll be amazed at how much you learn from failures. You’ll learn what NOT to do. And hopefully, with enough perspiration, hard work and powerful positivity, you will succeed.
There are too many barriers to entry preventing me from giving this dream a shot
Explanation: Entry into a saturated field is not a bad decision. Having an original idea, believing that you can do it better than everyone else eventually, even if you’re not capable of it now, is the best mindset for approaching a new venture. You cannot think that you’re wasting time. This is where you need to steel yourself mentally and emotionally so that you don’t end up being yourself.
Solution: This is why consistency, repetition and belief in yourself matter. The only person stopping you is you — it’s not the industry leaders, it’s not your perceived competitors who are on the journey with you. It’s you.
I wasted time in my earlier years stopping and starting writing for websites like Bleacher Report and HuffPost. I didn’t have what it took at the time to sustain myself to keep going. And I learned from those mistakes. My biggest enemy was me. It wasn’t the competition. I learned that if I wanted to succeed badly enough, I could. And I would. And now, I have.
Have you found a similar pattern in your life? Have you got caught “star-gazing” and concerning yourself too much with how competitive your field is? Whether you’re trying to launch a new social media app, looking to build a digital media company or perhaps launching a new healthcare product, please stop beating yourself up over why you haven’t arrived yet.
I’ll never… (fill in the blank here)
Explanation: You’ll never…
have the courage to live your dream?
Yes you will.
Solution: Because you’ll learn that the only thing — the only person that is actually “stopping” you is, you. There’s no competition that is trying to cut you down. Every day, it’s best to begin with a clear mind, receptive to grace and open to limitless opportunities and possibilities. When you have a clear, beginner’s mind, you can shape and mold your thoughts into brilliant ideas.
You can do anything.
Remove the word never from your vocabulary. Actually, strike that last sentence. There’s only one use for the word never, and it’s a very important one. NEVER give up.
Seek the truth
This article first appeared on Medium.