Do you ever beat yourself up in self-loathing about your perceived lack of achievement in your career? If a coworker asked you to list ten of your strengths or skills, would you even get past three? Think you’re a loser because you don’t have a million bucks in the bank?
Toxic thoughts are the stumbling blocks between you and any future success: our thoughts shape our experiences. Below are seven toxic thoughts it will benefit you to drop right now before they ruin your career - for good.
1. The Pain of Failure is Not Worth it
Do you run scared of anything that could be construed as a risk, thereby missing all of the shots you never take? Are you terrified of the pain of failure? We were all created with an innate ability to endure and overcome adversity. Although we start off as raw diamonds in our various fields of endeavour we end up the real, polished deal, if we have the grit and determination to feel the pain and run with it. The super-confident, swashbuckling Richard Branson we all see today is not the same Richard Branson that started out - with his cascade of long blonde hair and student magazine clutched tightly under his armpits. The same thing stands for all the other big guns today whose success many of us would like to emulate: Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, JK Rowling - and may more. All of these guys have had more than their fair share of pain- of the pain of failure. But they’ve grasped that, to experience pain, is as human as it is to breathe; it’s part and parcel of our vulnerability as human beings. Deny pain and you deny your humanness.
Run from the pain of possible failure and you deprive yourself of the challenges that will help you grow both emotionally and intellectually. Instead, take a leaf from those who have experienced success: embrace pain and let it help you grow.
2. I Can't Go On Anymore
There are times we all feel that we can’t hack it anymore. Too much stress from too many deadlines from too many quarters. We feel spent and our work-life balance is pretty much non-existent.
The only way through this dead-end road is to reframe your perspective. Turn the car around- metaphorically speaking. If you currently don’t have anything, then you have the potential to eventually have everything, right? Rock bottom is a great foundation from which to build a new start. And this isn’t being Pollyana-ish about things; just speak to anyone who’s made it and they will tell you about the numerous times they felt they couldn’t go on but still pushed through – and made it. Defeat is inevitable for most of us at some stage in our lives, but the trick is to dust ourselves down and carry on, rather than allow ourselves to wallow in negativity. Victory rarely comes to those who expect defeat, which is what will happen if you allow yourself to maintain a defeatist attitude. So get out a blank sheet of paper and start planning the rest of your life. What do you want from life? What can you do? What’s in your control?
3. I’ll Change My Boss/CoWorker
Get rid of this fantasy. It won’t work, so don’t even try. You can’t ‘motivate’ your co-worker to stop being a class-act jerk. You’d be better off working to change your own behaviours – doing so might well generate the change in others that you’re after. If they don’t change, stop hanging out with them. Alternatively, find creative ways to minimise the amount of interaction you have with them. But you don’t have the right to try to change them.
4. It’s OK to Lie
If you want to be escorted out of the back door of your office by your HR department, never to be allowed back again, then it might be OK to lie. But if your self-respect, the respect of your coworkers and your career is important to you, then it’s not OK to lie.
For many people, lying is an alternative to saving face; it’s a way of pleasing others; it’s a means of avoiding pain or a way to make things work for us. And according to a study conducted by the University of Massachusetts, three-fifths of us can’t go ten minutes without lying but it’s those with the balls to tell the truth who are ultimately the ones who are respected and trusted. They’re the ones who get given the juicy projects to lead, and who get the boss’s ear on ’confidential’ matters. So tell the truth, always. Make it your personal mantra, regardless of whether people like you for it or not.
5. If Only I Were Prettier/Smarter/Richer
If this is a common thought of yours, know that the worst kind of loneliness is to not be happy in your own skin. The grass is rarely greener on the other side and, even if it is, it still needs watering. Pretty much your whole life is a reflection of what you believe about yourself; moreover, you can’t get more from yourself than what you believe you’re capable of. So if you don’t think you’re smart enough, you’re probably right. If, on the other hand, you believe you are smart, then you’ll behave like a smart person and your coworkers will treat you as a smart person.
Still, happiness doesn’t come assured just because you’re rich or smart or good looking. Ask anyone who’ rich, smart or good-looking. You’re more likely to feel happy if you embrace yourself for who you are.
6. My Contributions Suck/I'm A Loser
Unless you’ve been invited to a meeting where everyone is required to keep silent, you have a right to speak your mind. Keeping quiet when you long to speak up simply intensifies your inner struggles and anxieties. If you’re concerned about what others will think if you speak up, give yourself permission not to care; remind yourself that you have as much right as all the other people in the room to speak your mind. More importantly, when you don’t speak up, you deny others a chance to know what you bring to the table (the same company that employed the others in the room also employed you), and you deny them a chance to know who you are. Moreover, you are depriving yourself of a chance to express who you truly are. This attitude will harm and not help your career. And if you think or call yourself a loser, ask yourself if that helps you perform better at work. All it does is impair your ability to forge satisfying relationships because of your poor self-image. So lose the attitude!
7. It’s Someone or Something's Fault - Always
It’s the photocopy machine’s fault that you’re still at work at 10pm, isn’t it. If your default position is to blame others/things for your situation in life, how has that improved things for the better? The attraction of the blame game is obvious: you don’t have to do anything. No taking accountability or responsibility. You could pretty much spend your entire life blaming others for things that aren’t right in your life. But how is that living? Life is enduring; it’s growing; it’s learning. So if you’re not experiencing those things, you’re not living. If you constantly blame others for your situation in life, you’ll never feel empowered to change and you’ll end up living a helpless, hopeless life. So start taking responsibility!
See Also: 5 Beliefs fundamental to success
Whenever you catch yourself thinking any of these toxic thoughts, hit the ‘delete’ button. Don’t give in to them, although it will feel like a battle to avoid them. Most successful people rarely achieve success without struggles; the road to success is not a linear one. Successful people don’t allow themselves to wallow in toxic thinking – life is too short; there’s work to be done.
Which toxic thoughts do you need to drop today? Let us know below…