The Mental Obstacles That Prevent Success

The Mental Obstacles That Prevent Success
Have you ever heard the saying “Perfect is the enemy of done”?
by Square Jun 15, 2016 — 2 min read
The Mental Obstacles That Prevent Success

When it comes to being a success in any aspect of our lives, the first, toughest competitor you face is yourself. Why? You know your weaknesses, you know how to push your buttons, and you are the voice inside your head, spreading messages of doubt. The good news is that you don’t have to be your own worst enemy. You can overcome these mental obstacles. And when you do, you will be even stronger and more prepared to deal with the challenges you are sure to face every day. Here are some of the biggest mental obstacles you will encounter, and how to deal with them.


Have you ever heard the saying “Perfect is the enemy of done”? Perfectionists can get so wrapped up in the idea that their work or product has to be flawless that they never actually complete anything. The thing is, there is no perfect plan, and no perfect product. The important thing is to start somewhere. Once you have something to work with, you can tweak and improve it. But if you only accept perfection, you never get anywhere.

[RELATED: 5 Habits of Highly Creative People]

Fear of failure

In sports, one of the most crippling mental obstacles is being afraid to lose. But if you never fail, you can become terrified of pushing yourself and taking risks. Instead, you stick with the safe options where you know you can be successful. That’s a detriment to your growth, because overcoming obstacles and turning adversity into opportunity is what makes you stronger over the long term. So don’t go into each new situation worrying about the outcome. Instead, approach challenges with the attitude that you’re going to do your best and learn from the experience.

Taking things too seriously

If you don’t have a sense of humor about yourself, not only are you making your life a lot less pleasant, but you’re also going to find it more difficult to deal with setbacks. When you take things too seriously, you “weaken your emotional reserves,” according to psychologist Sherrie Campbell. “You have to bring a revitalized sense of renewed life into your business daily.”

So, when you encounter a setback or things don’t go exactly as planned, don’t get down on yourself. Roll with it, laugh at the situation, and move on.

Excessive worrying

Everyone worries sometimes, and that’s to be expected. It’s a natural reaction to a stressful situation, especially when you care deeply about the outcome. If you’re concerned about a big meeting or making a deadline, these are natural things to worry about, and you can argue that, in small doses, it actually motivates you to work a little harder. Worry becomes detrimental when it starts invading every aspect of your life, and all your thoughts. It’s negative when you aren’t just worried about a meeting today, you’re also worried about the meeting you had yesterday, and a month ago. Worry can cause you to second-guess all your decisions and overanalyze every situation, which can quickly send you down the rabbit hole of self doubt. Try to let go of worry that doesn’t serve you. Let yesterday stay in the past, and focus on moving forward every day.

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