To win the war against negative thinking, your failure mechanism, you must be able to break through the disguise behind which it hides. Possible rationalization and seemingly logical thinking may obscure its functioning. Do not fool yourself, or you will lose this wonderful fight for your survival as a contented human being.
“Negative thoughts and tensions are like birds. We cannot stop them from flying near us but we can certainly stop them from making a nest in our mind”
We all desire having a successful life and achieving our goals in no time, but no goal is more vital than dehypnotize ourselves from false thoughts and beliefs which paralyse our success mechanism.
What goals are meaningful, what can you do with yourself if you dwell constantly on thoughts which pull you down into failure? What can you do but sink into a no activity of depression, renouncing all goals, blotting sunshine out of your life, moping dejectedly in a dark room while others go out into world and live?
“You will never be free until you free yourself from the prison of your own false thoughts” Philip Arnold
If you want to have a meaningful life you have to dehypnotize yourself from your false, negative beliefs about yourself. The word “dehypnotize” is not too strong word because so many people have beliefs which are unshakable, which must be jarred out of them. These beliefs so often absurd, cement inferiority complexes formed of unfortunate early experiences and ridiculous misinformation. The result are sad.
Do you believe that your life will be empty because you are an inferior person who has never done anything worthwhile and never will? Do you believe that you should suffer to atone for the mistakes you have made? Do you believe that life has no meaning for you because a loved one has passed away? Do you believe that the only way to live in an atomic age is to spend every day worrying about a nuclear holocaust?
If you think along those or similar lines, you are harbouring false beliefs and thoughts. Granted that you have seen tragedy and that you have your faults, you are still dehypnotizing yourself with false, negative ideas. Worse, you are torturing yourself with them.
“Whatever you believe, with conviction, becomes your reality, whether or not it is true or false” Brian Tracy
These negative thoughts and beliefs have the power to pull us down from our true level as human being. They can disfigure our self-image, and destroy our aspirations for the happiness that is our reasonable expectation.
I would like to spell out the components of the failure mechanism, just as I did for the success mechanism in my previous article “Goal Setting”, since I feel that this aids people in remembering them.
- Frustration- We feel frustrated when we fail to achieve important goals or to satisfy basic desires. Everyone feels frustration now and then, because of our imperfect natures and the complex nature of the world. But it is the chronic frustration which is a symptom of failure. When an individual finds himself caught in a pattern of repeated frustrations, he should ask himself why? Are his goals too perfectionist? Does he block his aims with his self-criticism? Does he regress to his feelings as an infant when frustration plus crying resulted in satisfaction? Frustrated rage doesn’t get result; for infants, it may, not for adults. A morbid concentration on one’s grievance of life will make only one’s problems more severe, far better to focus on one’s successes, to gain confidence from seeing oneself winning out. Then one can forge ahead in life.
- Aggressiveness- Frustration produces aggressiveness. There is nothing wrong with aggressiveness, properly channelled; to reach our goals we must at times be aggressive. But misdirected aggressiveness is a symptom of failure, usually linked with the setting of inappropriate goals, which the individual cannot achieve. This leads to frustrated rage which the person discharges wildly. Innocent parties become targets to a person trapped in the frustrated aggression; he may snap at his wife for no reason, lash out at his children, insult his friends, and antagonise his co-workers. Furthermore his rage will increase as his relations with people deteriorate. Where does this dreadful cycle end? The answer lies not in the elimination of aggression, but in properly channelling it toward the achievement of goals that bring satisfaction, reducing the unbearable build-up of frustration.
- Insecurity- This is another unpleasant feeling; it is based on a feeling of inner inadequacy. When we feel that we don’t meet our challenges properly, we feel insecure. However it is not our inner resources that are lacking; the trouble lies in our setting of perfectionist standards. The insecure person is frequently competent but, living with impossible expectations, he tends to criticize himself constantly. His feeling of insecurity cause him to trip himself up so that he falls short of his true potential.
- Loneliness- We are all lonely now and then, but I refer to the extreme feeling of being separated from other people, from yourself, and from life, this is an important symptom of failure. It is indeed one of the leading failure areas of modern civilization; the commonness of loneliness is enough to fill one’s heart with unending sorrow. To know that GOD’s creatures can be so estranged, this is very sad.
- Uncertainty- The uncertain person believes that if he doesn’t make a decision, he is safe! He is safe from the criticism he might receive if he took the chance and was proved wrong, safe from consequences of decision he made that backfired. This kind of person must see himself as perfect; therefore, he cannot afford to be wrong. If he make a wrong choice he will destroy his idealized picture of himself, therefore he may linger over a trivial decision for a long time, wasting his precious hours worrying. When he finally does make up his mind, his decision will be subject to distortions, and he will very likely blunder. This uncertain person cannot live fully because he is afraid to take a plunge and get his feet wet.
- Resentment- This is the excuse-making reaction of the failure-type personality to his status in life. Unable to bear the pain of his failure, he seeks out scapegoats to take the sting out of his own self-blame. Everywhere he finds evidence that life is short-changing him and he feel resentment. Chronic resentment leads to self-pity because the resentful person feels he is a victim of injustice. The more he pities himself, the more inferior he feels and the more he comes to hate himself and to resent others, and the world. He doesn’t realize that his inner resentment is a breeding ground for failure. Only when he can feel respect for himself, from a realistic image of himself, can he break the habit of resentful thinking which is such a basic component of the failure mechanism.
- Emptiness- Do you know people who are “successful”, yet who seem frustrated, resentful, uncertain, insecure, lonely and mismanaged aggressive? Then they have achieved success without tools in their hands. Don’t be too sure that their “success” is real. For many people gain all the outward sign of success and then feel emptiness. They have made money but they don’t know what to do with it. They travel here and there, but nowhere can they escape their feeling of emptiness. They have given up on meaningful goal-setting, they avoid work, shun responsibility, when they wake up in the morning and see the sun, they do not see their opportunities for enjoying the day, instead they worry about what they can do to pass the time. His emptiness symbolizes the total operation of his always present failure mechanism.
These are the elements of the failure mechanism, these are enemy. I have spelled them out for you so that you can remember them easily.
NOW, what can you do about them? HOW can you win your one great war?
War is hellish and if your mind is deeply entrenched in negative concepts, you will have to struggle fiercely to win your battle. But it is a battle worth winning. To live a meaningful life, to rise to your true potential as a human being, you must win this war in your mind. Don’t give up. Keep fighting, and chances are you will win.
“Everything is either an opportunity to learn and grow or an obstacle that keeps you stuck. You get to choose”