Negative thinking patterns can limit your success. Case and point. The other day I was speaking to someone and assisting her with career advice and the only words that came out of her mouth is “I don’t know if” or “I can’t.” Which lead to a lot of unproductiveness, her getting nowhere, and her having no clarity for the future.
When we think of negative thinking patterns there can really be broken down into two types as far as I am concerned. The “I don’t know if….” Tends to fall under the not so obvious negative thinking patterns and the “I can’t” tends to fall under the obvious negative thinking patterns both of which I will explain below.
The Obvious Negative Thinking Patterns
The obvious negative thinking patterns is when you come down on yourself in an obvious way. Saying things like “ I will never be successful, I am not worth anything, I cannot get a better job.” All words have meaning (see my blog here) and whatever a man thinks in his heart so is he Proverbs 23:7 (see my blog here).
If you keep telling yourself that you do not have anything good to offer or you do not deserve better, than that is exactly what you will be and exactly what you will get because that is what you keep telling yourself. And therefore, that is what you have become.
The Not so Obvious Negative Thinking Patterns
If you were to ask me, I think the not so obvious negative thinking patterns are the most prevalent types of thinking that will limit you. It is because it is not really directly putting yourself down, but rather indirectly putting yourself down. And so most people do not even know that they are doing it. But it is still causing them to be limited in their thinking.
An example of the not so obvious negative thinking patterns are “I don’t know what I want to do with my life, I do not really know if I am able to do that, I am not sure if I am qualified to do that, I am afraid to move higher because I am not sure what will happen, or I really want to start my own business but I do not know how.”
Not so obvious negative thinking patterns are really just a bunch of excuses of indecisive people or people who are afraid to step out for fear that they may fail. Which I will talk about below.
Why People Fall Into Negative Thinking Patterns
There are many reason why people do both of the negative thinking patterns but I am just going to list some of the more common ones that I have observed in people.
People Fall Into Negative Thinking Patterns Because They Really Do Not Think They Are Worth More
People who fall into this subset, may not think that they have low self-esteem but they do. Low self esteem is not always about your appearance but it is what you feel you were worth. Saying things like, “I cannot achieve this or that because I am not fill in the blank. Something good will never happen to me because fill in the blank” are statements of low self esteem.
At the end of the day if something good has to happen to someone, then why can’t it be you? Why would you not believe that you have as good of a chance as anyone else? Instead you to denounce even the possibility of something good happening because in your mind, you are not worthy for it to happen to.
True Story. I tell my friends all the time that it is my dream to become a millionaire. A few of my friends look at my like I am INSANE. And then they tell me that they cannot even phantom being millionaires and so they do not even dare to dream it and even more so they even think I am crazy.
There are two lessons to be learned in this statement, not only do they not feel they are worthy if this type of success. But now they try to push their beliefs on me so that I do not think I am worthy of this type of success. Other people’s issues can not only be their issues but also your issues (see my blog here). This is a prime example of the no so obvious negative thinking. To them it may not seem like a big deal but really they are telling themselves that their financial success is limited and therefore they settle to whatever financial situation they THINK get because they feel as if making more is beyond their control or something that is not attainable to them. And therefore, they cannot even phantom that type of success in their brain.
For myself, I think that there are plenty of millionaires out there and I also think to myself why can’t I be one of them? For me it is not wishful thinking. Because I believe that I can make more, I work hard and implement a plan that will make me more. And even if it does not happen in an instant I know that hard work will pay off (see my blog here) and I will see fruits of my success. That is called you reap what you sow (Galatians 6:7-9).
Take the example in the Bible of Parable of the Three Servants Matthew 25:14-30. The master gave the three servants money. When the master came back two of the servants earned the master money double and triple fold. The third servant buried the money and saved it and when the master came back he had the same exact money amount that the master gave him thinking that the master would be pleased. But the master was not pleased he was pissed. Stating
“You wicked and lazy servant!”
The first point of this is that if you do not sow anything then you cannot reap. Thinking that you are not worth anything will get you an equal harvest of nothing or coming out with what you already have, just like the third servant. Thinking that coming out with what you already have is what you deserve, while the other two servants doubled and tripped their money, because they had no limits on what they thought they could do with the amount they had been given. While the third did not even think it was possible therefore limiting his own blessing.
Do you see the difference? Thinking that you are worth more and that you can get more, will make you work harder toward more. Thinking that you are not worth more, will allow you to subconsciously limit yourself. Bury your gifts in the sand and not allowing them to grow. Because you think those types of things are out of reach and therefore you do not even try.
People Fall Into Negative Thinking Patterns Because They Have A lot of Fear
I wrote about how fear can hold you back in a previous blog (click here). I want to pick up from the previous parable of the three servants. Matthew 25:14-30
“I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.”
This is what the third servant said. That he was afraid. Some people subconsciously have fear about their abilities and so it is easier for them to stay in fear and talk themselves out of doing something then it is to step out of fear and allow themselves to do something.
When people negatively talk to themselves, what they are really saying is that I am afraid to do this, I am afraid I cannot do this, I am afraid that I will fail, or I am afraid of what people may think or what people may say (see my blog here). And instead of admitting that to themselves that they are afraid and overcoming that fear and doing it anyway. They negative talk themselves as a way of making excuses. I can’t do xyz, because I am not talented enough. What they really mean is I won’t do xyz because I am afraid I will fail, and instead of admitting that to myself I will just say I can’t so I do not even have to try. That is the difference between the first two servants that made something and made the master happy and the third servant who made nothing. The difference was fear.
They are Afraid of Disappointment
Disappointment can be similar to fear in a way. I also think that it is the most prevalent reason why people talk down to themselves. Many people believe that if they disappointment themselves then they will not have to face disappointment from others if something does not work or pan out. It is like they are conditioning their mind to the disappointment they think they will get if they really verbalize what they want.
So instead of saying “I can do this,” they say “I cannot do this and I rather tell myself that I can’t then going after something, failing, and being disappointed It is better to just squash my dream at the onset that way the disappointment won’t come in.” They think it as actually saving themselves when really it is limiting what they are capable of.
Overcoming Negative Thinking Patterns
There are a few ways that you can overcome negative thinking patterns.
First Catch yourself in the act.
Sometimes obvious and not so obvious negative thinking patterns are ingrained in our brain and there are things that we say to ourselves without even realizing it. The first step is that you need to realize it. You need to get in check whatever it is that you are saying to yourself that is negative or that is holding you back. And then you need to address it stop saying those thoughts. Say affirmations and instead of saying that you can’t say that you can. It sounds corny, but once you change what you say to yourself you will start to see how much damage you do to yourself with the negative types of thinking.
Dare to Dream
I wrote a blog on daring to dream click here. I personally believe that if you can dream it then you can achieve it and there is a reason why you were given a dream. I do not believe that God would put a dream in your heart that was impossible to achieve. Yes it may take some work, some time, effort energy, and patience. But if you keep going at it and do not give up or put limits on God by telling Him that your dream will never come true then I believe that whatever you dream will come true.
Do Not Put Limits on God
When you speak negatively to yourself and say that something cannot happen or it cannot happen to you or you are not good enough, you are putting limits on God. By saying that something will never happen you are saying that God cannot make it happen. Saying things cannot happen to you, you are saying that God cannot bless you, and He cannot overcome whatever it is you think you are stuff in.
So what is the harm or daring to dream and then believing that it could come true and what is the harm of believing for something even though you can’t see the way that it will happen? That is what we call fight without sight. Knowing that it will happen, trusting that it will happen, and speaking it into existence (Romans 4:17). At least you would not be limiting yourself by limiting your thinking and therefore limiting success. The worst that could happen.