An attitude of self-defeat is one of the most difficult battles we fight in our lifetime. The first step toward victory, and likely the biggest, is recognizing what is causing this mindset. Here are the four things I quit doing to conquer this debilitating cycle:
As an African American man, I can easily point to the generational trauma and economic effects that slavery and racism, interwoven into systematic oppression, has had on my family. I am not one to deny the existence of the injustices against my race. However, when I realized that my thought-life couldn’t be enslaved, I created my own philosophy on how I would live. That, alone, was freeing! I understand that I do not have to accept the external world’s evaluation of me. This has helped me transcend the victim mindset when encountering individuals who succumb to the doctrine of hate. If you accept the perceived value that others place upon you, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. You must create your own mindset philosophy to combat the poisonous hypnotism of haters.
My grandmother had great creative ability. There was no limit to what she could do. I inherited my artistic skills from her. However, when I was younger I used to be very shy, and the thought of doing anything outside of my comfort zone would terrify me. This fear mindset caused me to place limits on my creative skills.
How did I break the cycle?
I started to take on new challenges and that killed my fear and then I began to soar and discover other untapped gifts. If you don’t want your fear to drive your life, then you have to challenge yourself to do things outside of your comfort zone.
“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
I heard someone say, “Failure is not an excuse to quit.” There are plenty of times that I hurt someone or made a mistake in business and felt like I blew my chances for success. But then I learned that life is not a single event. It is a series of moments stitched together to help you mature and develop your character. Failure is inevitable when you are trying to grow because there are gaps in your learning. So don’t make your mistake a reason to quit—that would be a huge mistake. Keep growing!
A large majority of people I know let their bad feelings reign supreme over their daily life. I am often asked by those same people, “How do I stay so positive?” The truth is, every day I am tempted to be negative just like anybody else. I am not special. The difference is that I fight like crazy to be positive because I don’t like the way negative thinking makes me feel. Every day, before I step out the door, I consume a steady diet of positive information to help me combat my bad thinking. The more positive content I digest, the better my attitude becomes. Your positive mindset will either shrink or grow depending on what you mentally eat. The point of having a positive attitude is to help you navigate the difficult moments in life.