Becoming a person of excellence is not easy. It takes self-awareness, discipline and focus to make little strides every day. The reason why the majority of people do not reach their full potential is due to their inability to recognize and get rid of their bad habits. It’s not an easy thing to do. Stop and think for a moment how many of the same things you do every day, going through life on auto pilot without realizing it?
The problem with bad habits are they prevent us from reaching our goals. In many ways I compare it to swimming with a weight jacket. No matter how hard, you will sink further and further to the bottom until you make the decision to take off the weight jacket. The weight jacket symbolizes all the negative thoughts, behaviors and feelings that are holding you back.
Think about all the things in life that hold you back from reaching greatness:
- Fear of being alone
- Fear of success
- Fear of rejection or relationships
- Fear of not being accepted
- Fear of failure
- Fear of public speaking
I remember the first time I walked into a mixed martial arts gym, I felt intimidated seeing these guys spar, hit the bag, and beat on each other. The first few days were my toughest both physically and mentally. A 200lbs former bodybuilder and grappler laid a good beating on me one night. I left the gym feeling humiliated, defeated, and I thought I would never become a good martial artist.
That night I sat silently on my couch at home by myself thinking about not going back again. I was going to quit. My wife entered the room and asked me what was wrong. I said I got beaten up really bad tonight and I don’t think I can do this. She encouraged me to go back to give it one more try and told me to not give up.
I reflected on all the years growing up when I was picked on by bullies, told by certain teachers at school that I was a nobody, and never feeling I measured up to others. Each time when faced with these challenges I did the cowardly thing, I ran away from them instead of facing them. I realized by avoiding my fears it got me nowhere. My life did not get better with time. In fact, I wasted my years attempting to live according to others idea of my self-worth. Since who made them the authority to tell me I was not good enough I told myself! It was up to me to stop letting these people decide what I was going to accomplish in my life.
I decided to go back to the gym to face my fears head on. My training turned into 6 days a week and I was often the last student to leave the gym. The hard training started to pay dividends, I was no longer the punching bag but now one of the top competitors in my age group in the world.
The martial arts opened my eyes to what was possible for me outside of the martial arts world. I looked at other areas in my life that held on to childhood fears, one being public speaking. I joined Toastmaster, hired professional speaking coaches, and studied famous speakers as diligently as analyzing fight footage.
Not only did it provide me with the confidence to speak effectively but also allowed me to realize I to could be a professional speaker.
My lesson to you today is to honestly look at your fears as learning opportunities not as adversaries. Fears maintain mediocrity in people. They give you a false sense of security and comfort but you are only fooling yourself. To challenge your fears is to grow personally. Remember when you get past your fear, the greatness version of you is waiting on the other side.
Question: What are your biggest fears? Are you doing anything to confront them? You can leave a comment by clicking here.