6 Excuses You Tell Yourself That Are Hindering Your Growth
There’s this saying that we can be our own worst enemy. Our self-doubt and insecurities can sometimes be our first hurdle even before we face the challenges ahead of us. Reflecting on my thoughts, these are some of the excuses I’ve told myself that have stopped me from venturing out towards new opportunities:
1. “I don’t think I’m ready.”
We can have contingency plans, backup plans in place just in case something unexpected happens on the day of. Yet the truth is I don’t think we can ever fully convince ourselves that we are 100% ready.
Throughout taking exams during school, I have never once felt I was completely ready to take an exam. Despite the notecards in my hands, knowing I prepared to the best of my ability, and even if I was already pacing outside the exam hall 30 minutes before we were allowed to enter. I would always doubt my preparation – what was “the best of my ability”? Despite my lingering doubts, I and my classmates walked into those halls and attempted those papers anyway.
The excuse “I don’t think I’m ready” only scares us from trying and makes us feel more nervous. What matters is that we have prepared what we could to the best of our ability. Our self-talk should not stand in the way of an opportunity to do well.
2. “I don’t think I can stand out from the others.”
The statement feels like it’s our insecurities talking rather than the truth. Countless self-help articles teach us about ways we can stand out from the crowd. What can we do about this feeling of inferiority that we have? Research our options, think outside of the box, collaborate, ask for help.
We can name many options and ways we can work on ourselves. At the end of the day, we are left with ourselves. Wondering whether we can stand out or whether we can be better than potential competitors will hinder us from putting ourselves out there or enjoying ourselves. Hone your niche, work on your skills. But always embrace your own progress and skills rather than tripping as you envy someone else’s progress.
3. “I don’t think there’s a high chance or any chance that I will get this opportunity.”
The Harvard University Stress and Development Lab has identified 10 types of negative self-talk we often experience.
One of the types I wanted to focus on is “jumping to conclusions”, which refers to making a negative conclusion despite not having any evidence that will support that belief. For example, saying that “I will probably not get this job” even before applying for it has the same energy as booing ourselves off stage even before we got up to perform. Though it is good to weigh the pros and cons of a job before applying for it, factoring in possibilities influenced by our biases may hinder us from even trying out for it.
Check out this article to read more about the choice between settling for what you currently have and always chasing better opportunities.
4. “I can never do anything right.”
Negative self-talk can come in many forms, just like this excuse. We could tell ourselves to not try to protect ourselves from possibly failing, it could also be us beating ourselves up for “not being good enough”, or our fears accumulating into a big overwhelming scenario. Studies suggest that how we speak to ourselves has a powerful impact on our mental and physical health.
5. “This isn’t what is expected of me, I should just stick with what I am comfortable with.”
This could be a question that pops up during one’s quarter-life or mid-life crisis: am I happy doing what is expected of me? I have a degree in this major, shouldn’t I be using it? Am I not where I’m supposed to be, when I have been working towards this dream for as long as I could remember? Has my dream changed?
One of the common issues faced by new graduates can be an impending sense of uncertainty. Uncertainty in the prospects of a long-term career, job satisfaction, workplace environment, pay. An article in the Wall Street Journal breaks down steps you can take if you are considering switching career paths. The decision of deviating from what you are used to should not be an impulsive one, but we should not limit ourselves from trying something new out of the fear of exiting our comfort zone.
6. “Maybe I’m dreaming too big. Maybe I’m too young.”
One of the common problems faced by our younger generation is the fear that we may be biting off more than we can chew or we lack the life experience compared to those senior to us. More and more young people are leading movements to change the system, creating inventions, making a difference through community work. Age should not be a factor for people to look down on, nor should it be determining the validity of one’s talent.
I hope that this list of excuses remind you to be mindful of the way you view and treat yourself. Stop making excuses; go forth and be passionate about what you love!