The Tricks Your Mind Plays on You

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Most of us like to think we are rational human beings, in complete control of what we think and feel. And this is true most of the time. Yet, underneath the facade of confidence and the polish of success lurks a few tricks your mind plays on you.

Fear is one of those tricks. It can sneak up and come upon confident as well as inexperienced people. It does stop you from moving onto the next step, starting something new, or going after something you want. It can blind an individual from realizing they are almost there and those necessary steps to accomplish what they want are only a few steps away.

Most of us have fears, they range from asking your boss about a promotion, starting your own business, or even something going on in your personal life.

The problem with fear is when it goes unchecked and ends up dictating your next steps like retreating away from your goal and back to that place of comfort. 

One of the triggers to fear is criticism. You may have been told, “get a thicker skin,” and yet if you happen to be of a sensitive nature, you might have said, grow a few inches! It doesn’t seem like that can happen. Here is a tip for the sensitive person – do not overthink criticism. See if there is anything helpful in it, then let it go.

Sometimes criticism is like the old fashioned cough syrup that tastes terrible yet somehow got rid of the cough. Even when it is not delivered well, there can be something in it that will be helpful. Criticism can be a springboard to self-improvement and a push to grow.

When you reject criticism you can end up being afraid to make decisions, which sets up another cycle of failure. Decisions require a risk, sometimes small and other times the decisions can have a large impact on people and or finances.

When a choice has to be made, you might be tempted to wait and see how it plays out because of the fear that you may make the wrong choice. And this sets up a confidence crisis or leaves you stuck, only to grow weary and even resentful. 

Did you know that failure cannot be prevented by focusing on weaknesses?  But rather, success is achieved when you operate from your strengths and use those strengths to balance out any weak areas.

This brings up the next two fears that block progress, fear of inadequacy and failure. When you resist criticism and then block decisions, you can end up “worried” or fearful about not being a good enough manager. Feeling inadequate might take place when you enter a new position or have to learn something new, and without any intervention, it can grow into the fear of  inescapable failure, believing you cannot reach your goals.  

Even the best of minds can fall into the trap of entertaining these irrational fears. While it is true we can all continue to learn and grow, I bet if you focus on your strengths, you can come up with amazing accomplishments that can refute those fears. Our minds are subject to our internal and external environments and the triggers that show up.

Continue to tune into those triggers that trip your fear switch and send you down that rabbit hole so you can immediately go down another path – the one of confidence.  If you enjoyed this post, you can build your confidence further by checking out the Confidence Toolkit below or, check out our Resilience Training program.

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Dr. Cynthia Howard

Executive Coach  Performance Consultant  LSSBB

It takes resilience and agility to stay focused in these disruptive times. We want to help you get ahead of the challenges in this digital age with short practical tips. Go forward. Be your best

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