Take a look at the humble bumblebee. Theoretically, scientists say, it's impossible for the bumblebee to fly. Fortunately for the bumblebee, no one has told it so, so fly it does.
Ask yourself this question: if you weren't tethered by your own limitations, or the limitations placed on you by others, what do you believe you'd be capable of achieving?
Jason Gracia asks this question in his powerful book The Motivated Mind.
When you limit yourself with self-doubt, when you devalue yourself and your abilities, when you continually put up barriers and excuses, you will never be able to believe in the possibilities.
Instead of experiencing exciting adventures in self actualization, you get trapped by your own negative assumptions. It's too hard. What if I fail? What if I succeed? I'm afraid to push myself.
In our minds we all create lists of those things we know we can do and the those things we know we can't do. In between is a list of those things we think we could do.
So for most of us, that's where we get stuck, forever limited by own expectations, clinging to impossible dreams that will never be realized because we don't believe we can do whatever is necessary to achieve them.
How to turn your dreams into reality with the word “don't”
What if you could make your dreams possible by simply making one small change to the lists you keep in your mind?
What if, instead of having a list of those things you KNOW you can't do, you had a list of those things you DON'T KNOW you can't do? Yes, you've added a negative by including a “don't”, but it can be one of the most positive changes you can make in your life.
The bumblebee doesn't know it's not meant to fly, so what makes you so sure about the things you don't believe you can do?
I truly believed I couldn't jump out of a perfectly good airplane until I went up and did it. Admittedly, it was a tandem jump, but if you had asked me in the seconds before I plummeted out of that plane if I could do it, I still would have said, “Nooooooooo!”
The assumptions we make – the things we think we can't do – become fixed in our minds and we stop questioning them. It's only natural. As human beings we all suffer from complacency at one time or another and it's easier to accept things they way they are than try to makes changes.
Sure, there are going to be things on your list of “can't do's” that you really can't do, no matter what.
For example, if you can't sing a note to save yourself, it's unlikely you'll ever become the next Frank Sinatra, but you could learn to play the piano and become the next Arthur Rubinstein instead!
We read every day in the papers about people who have succeeded in doing something they didn't believe they could do. Often it's in a situation where the circumstances left them no alternative, so isn't the circumstances of living your life without ever realizing the possibilities enough to leave you no alternative?
I will never forget the feeling of exultation I felt when I jumped out of that plane and finally landed back on earth. Not just because the experience of freefalling through an unbelievably blue sky is breathtaking, but because I succeeded in doing something I believed I was incapable of.
But guess what? I did it and it felt good!
Revisit what you DO know
Sometimes it's important for your ego's sake to return to what you know you DO know.
Revisit your successes and the great strides you've made and acknowledge the results you've achieved. Certainly don't allow yourself to dwell on your achievements because sometimes the sense of self-satisfaction will keep you rooted in the one spot.
One of the ways I bring a measure of success into my life when I'm having a bad day is to go back and re-read some of the inspirational books that got me to where I am now.
Ken Evoy's Make Your Content PREsell is a favorite.
Whatever book it is that gives you the motivation and enthusiasm to get up off the sofa and into life, go get it off the book shelf now and take the time to let those fabulous feelings of excitement and inspiration overtake you too.
In there somewhere is the secret of your success.