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Why We Fail In Early Stages - The Two Inhibiting Myths And The First Barrier

Updated on May 3, 2016

First Barrier

No matter who we are or what our goals may be in life, success in various fields is what makes us who we are. Whether we look at interpersonal relationships or professional endeavors we always strive for success, but the reality is most of us fail time and time again before finally succeeding, with so many people never succeeding in either area.

Looking at romantic relationships for instance, we will see that most of them break off before even really being given a proper chance to work out. Most upstart businesses will fail within the first three years, which was proven by numerous studies and even the little goals we set for ourselves such as quitting a bad habit or losing weight often turn into failures within weeks.

This certainly begs the question, why do we fail? Despite being relatively difficult, the reality is most of these tasks are not even nearly unattainable and many other people have accomplished them, so why am I finding it so hard? What is this crippling force that keeps pulling us down and making us feel like we just can’t do it?

What is more, looking at when things usually fail, it is not after 10 years, or 20 years. Things usually fail very quickly, during the initial phase of whatever it is we are doing. Most relationships break off within months, most New Year’s resolutions fail in January and most people fail to pay their gym subscription the second month. This is an interesting observation that may help us reach the solution to the problem.

I call this phenomenon “First Barrier. First Barrier is the mental blockade that stops us from attaining our goals by simply telling us we are not truly good enough. While it is true that most of us lack experience and expertise when just starting any kind of a life project, it is the lack of actions, persistence and willpower that truly drags us down in most cases.

The First Barrier is not just there at birth. It gets generated as we grow and there are two main sources that generate this Barrier. Both of these sources are in fact myths that we simply choose to believe. The first is the myth of experience and the second is the myth of exception. So let us go into breaking down these two myths in order to try to understand and counter them.

Success v Failure
Success v Failure

The Myth Of Experience

The myth of experience is the notion that in order to succeed at anything you need a large amount of experience. We think about doing something, but since there are other people in the field with more experience we often tend to believe this competition will crush us and we will fail. This goes for everything from business to relationships, where the lack of self-confidence can actually be the greatest limiting factor.

While lack of experience can certainly be a limiting factor in many areas, it is by no means a factor that will guarantee failure. Looking at most industries, most of the extremely successful people stumbled upon success without even really having any proper experience. For many it was a simple mix of talents and luck.

What is more, no one was born with experience and every single professional athlete, musician or doctor had to go from no experience to his current state by practicing their craft for hundreds or thousands of hours. This is why lack of experience is certainly not something to be afraid of and the notion that lack of experience will necessarily inhibit your success is simply a myth.

Now that we understand this myth, we can begin to think of ways to counter it. Since lack of experience is perfectly normal and natural when just going into something, what you will want to do to fight it is learn new skills within the area in question, practice these skills and take concrete and immediate actions toward your goal. Step by step you will gain experience, skills and knowledge and your path to success will begin to show clearly.

Do not let the lack of experience stand in your way in anything. If you need more experience, go out there and get it, but never think of yourself as unable to succeed because your experience level is lower than other people’s.

Success
Success

Myth Of Exception

Myth of exception can actually be even worse than myth of experience, because unlike the first one that has some grounds in reality, this one is simply a completely ungrounded fear that is present in the heads of most of us. The myth of exception is a notion that no matter how hard you try or what you do things simply won’t work out for you despite the fact that it has worked out for others. You are an exception!

This is of course not really true, but people very often convince themselves that it is because they don’t really want to succeed. They just kind of want it. Thinking that you are an exception to the rule is simply silly to begin with. Why should you be one? Being afraid of not succeeding is fine, but not taking concrete actions to do everything possible to succeed is simply not.

You will often hear people who suffer from this particular issue tell you things like: “Even if I try something will happen to stop me, I just don’t have the kind of luck it takes”. In most cases this is simply not real as luck will be a very minor determining factor in the long run, whatever it is you do. While a lucky break might help make you right away, long term speaking, you will find your luck at some point and those who will succeed the most are those who work the hardest.

Now that we understand the myth of exception is simply a lie we tell ourselves it is very simple to understand how to combat it. In order to get around the myth of exception you need to simply tell yourself that everything you thought about being an exception is not true at all. The only thing making you different from those who are successful is the fact you are not trying.

Once you really try and put yourself out there, once you want to succeed as much as you want to live or breathe, you will certainly succeed. All it will take is to shed the fear of not being lucky enough and the notion that trying is not even worth it. Even “try” as a word may actually be a limiting factor. Don’t try, just succeed. Just do everything it takes to succeed no matter how much blood, sweat and tears it takes.


Myths v Reality
Myths v Reality

The Early Days

It is the early days of any project, whether private or professional, that will usually be the ones within which the two myths shall have the strongest influence on us and the First Barrier will keep us down. This is why success of anything will be best measured by how well you did within the initial period, while getting things of the ground.

An aspiring athlete for instance will be young and motivated. But as the two myths kick in, he will see other athletes, older and more experienced and their success and experience may frighten him beyond telling. What is more, the exception myth may kick in and despite seeing how successful those older athletes have become, the youngster will be tempted to think that he will surely not be so lucky.

This is why it can be really helpful to seek help during these early days. Sure, most of us don’t like hearing others tell us what to do, but I actually challenge you, next time when you want something really bad, to have a friend or a family member become a sort of a voice of conciseness. You be the one to tell them to keep motivating you as you experience doubts and crisis.

Having someone constantly remind you of the facts you knew to be true at the start will greatly help, as you can easily forget all those facts as time passes by and the bad thoughts creep in. Especially during the period when First Barrier is strong, having someone to help you will be priceless. Just imagine how much better our young athlete will do if his coach keeps reminding him that those older athletes were just like him and only succeeded through years and years of hard work.

Opportunities, Not Problems

Opportunities, Not Problems

As we move forward with any project, another thing that will happen is that we will start seeing problems all over the place. While these “problems” certainly will exist, the thing to do is not view them as problems but as opportunities. Every problem you encounter is an opportunity to do two things: gain the experience that will come from solving the problem and experience the ultimate sense of achievement when the problem is finally eliminated.

Eliminating problems on the way to success will help you beat both of the myths you keep telling yourself. The experience gained by beating the obstacle will get you closer to the experience level of your more experienced competitors, while the sense of accomplishment that comes from it will show you that you are not exception and that hard work will show very real results every time.


Baby Steps
Baby Steps

Eliminate The Distractions

For the most part, it will be the unnecessary distractions that will inhibit your success. As you will need to work extremely hard to make your dreams come true and you will need to gain the experience and self-confidence needed for true success, distractions should be kept to a minimum or eliminated altogether.

This is not to say that you should do nothing but work on your dream directly. An athlete who would work out 16 hours a day would burn out easily and a coder writing code from sunset till sunrise would lose his mind. Do healthy stuff with your free time, go on hikes, visit the gym or clear your mind in the presence of good company.

What I mean by distractions is the silly things. If you have relationships in your life that are making you extremely nervous or sad, end them. If your friends are prone to extremely bad habits or simply not nearly as ambitions as you, find new friends. If you want true success you will often need to sacrifice some of the things you currently think are good for you.

Surround Yourself With Success

To get over the First Barrier you will need to surround yourself with positivity. The First Barrier is a set of negative thoughts and notions that appear in your head, so having successful people who have already gone through it all around you to support you is the key to success.

Don’t keep hanging out with the same old group of people whose lives are in stagnation and who have no plans or wishes for the future. Look for new, more experienced, possibly older people who will have wisdom to share and motivation to give. Let their story be a motivation to you as you combat the myths of experience and exception and circumvent the First Barrier, reaching success.

Success comes with time, there is no question about that. Overnight success can happen by random strokes of luck, but if you are looking to guarantee success, you will have to work hard and long for it. But for the time needed for success to actually pass, you will first have to go through the initial phase, which is usually the toughest one.

The myths of experience and exception that appear in this early phase and infest your thoughts with negative notions and expectations of failure need to be fought and this little guide has explained what they are and how you can combat them in some simple, yet effective ways.

Everyone has doubts, the important thing is to remain positive, fight the negative thoughts and keep yourself motivated enough by keeping your eyes on the prize, which is success.

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    • Dr Billy Kidd profile image

      Dr Billy Kidd 19 months ago from Sydney, Australia

      Zyonimir, you have great psychological and spiritual powers.

      I think you for simplifying an understanding that The Myths of Lack of Experience and the belief in Exceptionalism hold people back.

      Belief in Exceptionalism: My brother completed his Masters at MIT. No small feat. Before then I didn't think our family was smart enough to do intelligent thinks. My belief in Exceptionalism held me back. Realizing this, I signed up in a PhD program. Yes, there were some problems, but looking back the program was a breeze.