Imaginary Failure

Confidence and certainty are often disconnected from accuracy. I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of cases where someone holds a belief that clearly isn’t true.

What you see so clearly in others in harder to see within yourself, however. For that reason it’s wise to identify, question, and test some of your assumptions to see if they’re actually true.

A good place to start is to consider what other people experience routinely that may seem to be difficult or impossible for you. This can help you identify some beliefs about yourself that may not be accurate.

For example, could you earn $100K in a week? For many people that’s no big deal. They could decide to do that for fun and make it happen. If you think it’s impossible for you, is that factually true? Or are you just placing unnecessary limits on yourself?

Could you eat vegan for a month and like it? If you never test it, you might be limiting yourself unnecessarily.

Could you attract an amazing relationship into your life right now? Or have you ruled that out because of the virus situation or some other limiting belief about yourself?

How would you know that you can’t make $100K in a week, love vegan food for a month, and attract an amazing relationship? You obviously would have had to have directly tried all of them – with intention and direct action. And your efforts would have needed to fail repeatedly, not in your mind but in reality.

So how many different ways did you actually try to earn $100K in a week with that as your goal? How many 30-day vegan trials have you done? How many verbal rejections have you racked up regarding your ongoing efforts at inviting an amazing relationship? Can you produce a long record of real failures? Let’s see it then!

And if those endeavors all ran into hard stops, what else did you attempt instead? Are you still running into hard stops, again and again. Or did you make the mistake with replacing them with imaginary soft stops?

Be very careful about placing limits on what’s possible for reality to deliver. It may very well honor your self-imposed limits.

What if you ditched those limits? What if you invited experiences that would violate those limits, just to see what would happen? What if you leaned into actions that directly oppose your old assumptions?

Maybe your assumptions are reasonably correct. If so, you’ll find out soon enough by testing them. Reality will knock you back down. You’ll run into a real obstacle that you can’t pass.

Make sure that this is what you’re actually doing. Let the obstacles you encounter be real ones. Deal with real problems that actually come up. Make reality say a hard no to your requests.

Don’t pre-make these decisions for reality. Don’t create imaginary obstacles and mistake them for real ones.

Fear isn’t a real obstacle. Impostor syndrome isn’t a real obstacle. Harsh criticism from your parents isn’t a real obstacle.

Run into real obstacles, and deal with real problems.

Honestly, when was the last time you ran into a real obstacle, a genuine hard stop from reality? How do you know that reality actually dealt you a hard stop? How do you know that it wasn’t just saying, “Not this way, try again some other way”?

When did you stop facing real failure by replacing it with imaginary failure?

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Steve Pavlina

Steve Pavlina is an American self-help author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur. He is the author of the web site and the book Personal Development for Smart People.

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