When you take some time to imagine the kind of life that you would ideally want to live, it’s extremely unlikely that you would find yourself visualising a life rife with overwhelming self doubt and uncertainty, and a sense of limited possibilities.
Instead, we all naturally want to thrive, whether that means visiting a weight loss clinic and transforming our physical condition, or whether it means finding a dream job that brings with it a sense of deep purpose and fulfillment, day by day.
As you might have heard around the self development world, though, “if you can’t believe it, you can’t achieve it.”
For better or for worse, living a thriving life of achievement and satisfaction will likely require you to do whatever you can to expand your sense of what’s possible each day, so that you are no longer held back by unhelpful feelings of doubt, insecurity, and limitation.
Here are a few techniques and approaches that might help when it comes to expanding your sense of what’s possible each day.
Practice doing things each day that you find daunting or uncomfortable
First things first: there’s no better way of expanding your sense of what’s possible in everyday life, than by confronting your own perceived limitations each day, and learning through direct experience that you are capable of more than you previously assumed.
A story sometimes gets told about the way in which elephants are trained, in order to make a point about the psychological concept of “Learned Helplessness.”
As the story goes: very young elephants are kept in place by a rope tied around their leg and fastened to the ground with a single peg.
At first the young elephants try to escape but are not strong enough to pull the peg out of the ground, so they give up trying — and as they grow to full maturity, they will still remain in one place when tied in this way, even though it would then be effortless for them to pull that peg from the ground.
In life, we often let negative past experiences, or even our own internal narratives and negative self talk, define what we believe we can achieve.
By doing something each day that you find daunting and uncomfortable — whether that’s a workout, or leafleting and talking to strangers, or even tidying up your home — you can begin to reformulate your inner sense of what’s possible and of where your limitations actually do and don’t lie.
Engage in practices that get you into a more upbeat frame of mind before setting goals
If all the goals that you set for yourself are highly cautious and modest, you may stand a better chance of achieving them, but you will likely also only have a pretty modest sense of what’s actually possible for you to achieve.
When you set about planning and setting goals for yourself, one of the best things you can do is to first engage in certain practices and activities that help to put you into a more upbeat frame of mind.
If you decide how you’re going to approach a given situation when you’re feeling low, and moody, and insecure, you’re almost certainly going to make less empowering decisions — and to perceive things in a less empowering manner — than if you first listened to some energetic music, danced around, had a cup of coffee, and got yourself feeling good and energised.
It may seem like a silly thing to say, but the bottom line is that putting yourself into a more upbeat and enthusiastic state of mind — even if only for short bursts of time here and there — can really make a dramatic difference in terms of what you perceive to be possible, as well as simultaneously influencing how likely you will be to pursue lofty and ambitious goals.
Look for opportunities to surround yourself with an uplifting support network
Sometimes, try as we might, we simply can’t see the hidden potential within us in the same way as some other people — who genuinely believe in us — can.
Looking for opportunities to surround yourself with an uplifting support network can help you to consistently reevaluate what you think is possible at every step of the way, and it can put you into contact with people who help to consistently remind you and nudge you to be the best version of yourself along the way.
For a while now psychologists have talked about a “social contagion effect,” which refers to a strange phenomenon where all sorts of things ranging from the level of a person’s physical fitness, to their likelihood of being a smoker, seem to mirror the social group that individual is surrounded by.
In entrepreneurial and self development circles and the like, this point is sometimes phrased in terms such as “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time around.”
It turns out that one of the best ways of expanding your sense of what’s possible is by hanging around people who believe that just about anything’s possible, and who are optimistic, upbeat, and supportive.
Try practices that help to still and silence the mind a bit
One of the primary causes of a lack of self belief in life, is the fact that almost everyone is susceptible to getting tricked and demoralized by the voice of their internal dialogue — especially when it’s being negative and defeatist.
In certain spiritual traditions, the term “monkey mind” is used to refer to the fickle and sometimes obsessive nature of the thinking mind — but it is possible to still and silence the mind a bit so that your more all-encompassing and less judgmental awareness can see things with fresh eyes.
Practices such as meditation exercises may prove very helpful in this regard, but many people also find that doing a bit of exercise, or going for a stroll in the great outdoors can also work wonders when it comes to helping to calm the “monkey mind.”