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4 Things to Remember When Doubters Tell You “You Can’t”

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When you have a dream, you will have doubters. It’s right up there with death and taxes – probably because nobody has to pay taxes or die for doubting. These gleeful killjoys shoot us down before we take off. They say “you can’t” when we thought we can. They make us hesitant when we were sure, silly when we were smart.

External doubt feeds self-doubt; the number one dream-killer as shown in studies. Life and success aren’t about what happens to you, it’s about how you perceive and respond to what happens to you. And doubters happen. They happen fast and hard on your unsuspecting dream. Be ready for them. Better yet, benefit from them. Because, as unthinkable as that sounds, you can.

Here are four ways to give your dreams the benefit of the doubters:

1. Doubters actually care

Don’t hate on those who don’t believe in your dreams, because they might be the very people who love you. Oftentimes, it is those who are closest to us that have the loudest voice of discouragement. This could be your father, your partner, or your best friend.

Sometimes, even your dearest ones cannot see in you what you can see for yourself. They unwittingly project their own self-limitations on you to “protect” you from the pain of failure. A father who has failed in business may urge his entrepreneurial son to “be realistic” and get a “proper” job with a steady paycheck.

The good news is, they want you to succeed. This gives you a chance to turn them into staunch supporters after their initial resistance.

Stay true to your course while making allowance for their advice. Earn their approval and support by addressing their deepest fears about your endeavor. As you progress toward your goals, you’re helping them disprove their assumptions and undo their own limitations too.

“I tend to enjoy proving people wrong.” – Hayley Williams

2. Doubters show you where to improve

Put aside the apparent assault on your ego for a moment and consider what your critics are saying. If you can get over yourself, there’s a lot you can learn there. Take the criticism objectively. Try to find at least one valid point in what they’re saying.

For example, if a headhunter dismisses your aspiration to land a bigger job, she could be 99 percent wrong. The other one percent could be the nugget of insight that will help you. This may be a skill you need, a person whose connection you should make, or better timing to make your move.

The next time you hear others doubting you, find the sliver of truth in their words. Build that into your game plan. You’ll be better for it.

3. Doubters make the best motivation

In his Hall Of Fame speech, Michael Jordan thanked his detractors for the motivation. He credited them for being the driving force behind his legendary work ethic. Jordan was a fierce competitor. He hardly needed any push during his playing career. Yet he chose to turn his doubters into demons he had to slay to prove his greatness.

They were his best motivational buttons and he mashed those poor buttons like a teenager playing NBA2K. Be careful not to invest emotionally in the critics, for they will drain you. It doesn’t matter whether they were being personal or not, as long as you don’t take it personally. Don’t burn out trying to manage others’ opinions of you.

Know that your skeptics cannot define you, unless you allow them. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Turn their action into a positive, powerful reaction that works in your favor. The motivation to prove your critics wrong may be exactly what you need to push for greatness.

“When the doubters tell you it can’t be done and all kind of tragedies will come your way, I say nonsense. If you can get to the very root of who you are and make something happen from it, my sense tells me you are going to surprise yourself.” – Vidal Sassoon

4. Doubters can become powerful allies

Naysayers are oftentimes the byproduct of differences. People can harshly judge ideas or ambitions that are not in line with their own beliefs, opinions, or behavior.

If you can bridge the differences to create win-win relationships, skeptics can become strong allies. They’ve already proven they have a voice and they are willing to use it, only this time, in your favor.

In a team setting, you will have to use your communication and people skills to not just win the argument, but to win the sentiment. Sharing your vision and getting others to stand behind it isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth your effort. Creating advocates of your dream can only accelerate your success.

The bigger and more audacious your dream, the more naysayers you will experience. Be like Usain Bolt who said, “To all my doubters, thank you very much because you guys have also pushed me.”

Are you allowing the doubters to control your life? What are you going to do to change that? Leave your thoughts below!

Victor Ng is an executive coach and entrepreneur who helps those with ambition overcome adversity to reach their goals. Download his free self-coaching worksheet “Adversity To Advantage” to reframe challenges and refocus on your success. Victor has 18 years of corporate experience in advertising and marketing communication. He is one of the youngest in his industry to reach the regional C-suite, and is credited with over 100 industry awards, including Cannes and Clios.

Motivation

How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals

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Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.

What is Motivation?

The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.

Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).

Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.

However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals. 

How to Get Motivated

James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.

This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.

4 Ways to Make Starting Easier

1. Schedule it

One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it. 

When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.

An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”

2. Measure something

It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.

3. Extrinsic motivation

This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.

4. Make it public

Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

How to Stay Motivated Long Term

When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.

These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:

1. Stay in your goldilocks zone

The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.

For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging. 

The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.

2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals

Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within. 

For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.

3. Use “chunking”

Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.

Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.

For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.

4. Be flexible

We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.

5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion

Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.

Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.

This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.

Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.

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Motivation

What Is Dark Motivation and How Can I Use It to My Advantage?

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The Killer Morning Routine to Boost Motivation

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Motivation

Why “No Pain, No Gain” Is More Powerful Than You Realize

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