I could never do that – Talking yourself out of success

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.


Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

When we talk to ourselves our brain believes us.

Ever wondered how someone achieves something great despite overwhelming obstacles? The secret to those high achievers is that they believe in themselves.

Tell yourself that you can’t do something and the chances are you won’t be able to do it. Tell yourself that you can be successful and the chances you will become successful increase dramatically. Tell yourself you “are a failure” and you will become one.

Tell yourself often enough that you can’t accomplish anything in your life, that you don’t deserve success, and your brain will start believing you. It will make sure to pull back just as you get close to your goal.

Your brain can actually begin to protect you from success. It knows you “can’t do this” and it makes sure you can’t. Since you have trained your brain to serve you it is hard for it to disagree with the “fail” instruction.

The salesman who goes to work thinking he will make a big sale that day has a better chance of making a sale. It may not be the big sale he expected, but it is something.

The salesman who expects to fail will probably fail to make a sale most of the time. More than once in my life I have gone to a store expecting to buy something and left without making a purchase because the person who was supposed to be helping me was so negative about everything they deflated my desire to buy.

Negativity can be contagious. So can positivity.

One way to improve your chances of success is to begin to believe that you can do it. You also need to believe that you deserve it. We all deserve to have a happy life. The important thing is to define what that success, that happy life, would look like for each of us individually.

When we don’t feel worthy, that this last success was an undeserved fluke, we can stop trying, not expecting anything to go our way again. We can also self-sabotage because we don’t feel that we deserve this benefit.

Many of us learned these negative “fail” messages early in life. We were told we were “stupid” or “worthless” and we began to believe these messages. We repeated them over and over and eventually our brains stored them away as a way to explain life. We avoided trying because we expected to fail.

Sometimes people break out of this trap of negativity and self-doubt because someone else believes in them. One teacher or counselor who believes in a child can make a world of difference in that child’s life.

Other times people find they have to become their own cheerleaders. They begin by telling themselves positive things each day. We call those thoughts positive affirmations. Giving the brain the same message over and over will cause it to believe that message.

Repeatedly I have seen older students who didn’t believe they were that smart, return to school out of desperation. They needed to get a degree that would lead to a job, any job. Along the way, to that degree, they discover that they are a lot smarter and a lot more capable than they ever thought.

They had stopped telling themselves they couldn’t and started telling the brain they had to and the brain came through for them. They did succeed.

Every therapist could tell you stories of clients who came to therapy defeated and discouraged. They believed they couldn’t. Over the course of therapy the client’s perception changed first to maybe I could, and then to I think I can.

As a result of that change of thinking people have gone on to achieve great things. They have finished school and gotten a degree, found jobs, or established and improved relationships all while staying clean and sober and out of their depression.

All these things happen when you begin to believe in yourself.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

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For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

1 thought on “I could never do that – Talking yourself out of success

  1. Great post! I always felt I didn’t deserve things for 1 reason or another. Now I tell myself I deserve happiness and all that comes with it. When negativity slides in I try find something positive to counteract it…………Paula x


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