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The #1 Thing Holding You Back From Success

Written by Stephen Scoggins

December 5, 2020

holding you back from success, journey principles

Success is possible. Nevertheless, there are a number of obstacles holding you back from success. Everyone knows this – it’s why there are so many self-help resources, each emphasizing one or two pet issues. Some focus on lack of commitment. Others emphasize skill or discipline. However, I believe the most overlooked obstacle is also the most important: hopelessness. 

When you have hope, you have the foundation for everything else. 

Without it, you can’t win. 

I know from experience. My life has been victorious, but it hasn’t been easy. Actually, it was difficult from the beginning, and I’ve had to fight for every inch of ground I’ve gained. In my lowest moments, I can remember having done everything I knew to do. I “burned the boat” behind me, like Tony Robbins talks about, leaving no way to turn back. Rather than people please, I stopped looking for approval from others. I had predefined goals that I focused on without compromise. All those things helped, yet the most important thing I did was not give up. 

Don’t get me wrong. I had self-doubt. Things were not shifting the way I wanted them to. Sometimes they seemed like they were getting worse. But even when my hope didn’t burn as bright, it never disappeared completely. I kept going. And I was able to keep going because I had hope. If you’re struggling to have hope right now, then that’s the #1 thing holding you back from success, and you need to attack that negativity more than anything else. 

Is Hopelessness Holding You Back from Success?

I want you to take some inventory of your life for a moment to do a few exercises. They will help you diagnose your current level of hope and get to a more positive place.

Exercise #1 – Identify Symptoms

The following are pretty common examples of how hopelessness can manifest. If you are struggling with one or more of these, lack of hope may be holding you back from success.

  • Low energy
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of motivation
  • Comfort eating
  • Struggle getting out of bed
  • Fantasies about failure or disaster
  • Planning for failure more than success

Exercise #2 – Diagnose Yourself

Next, ask this simple question: “On a scale of 1-10, how confident am I that I will win?” In asking this question, I recommend not putting a timeline on when you think you’ll win, just whether or not you will in the end. As far as what winning looks like for you, I recommend boiling that down to one or two core things. For example, you might attach winning to getting out of debt or getting your business off the ground. 

Exercise #3 – Strengthen Yourself

If you answered at a 5 or below in the above exercise, here’s what I urge you to do. Barring any emergencies or commitments that you must keep, drop everything you’re doing and do a few (or several) of the following activities until you feel like you’re at a 7 or above:

  • Exercise
  • Getting outdoors
  • Deep breathing
  • Ask a close friend for praise and encouragement
  • Vision boarding
  • Make positive declarations about yourself out loud
  • Journal things you’re thankful for

I’ve found each of these activities to be very effective in elevating my hope and lifting my spirits. Especially if you’re going through a rough time, I recommend picking one or two that stick out to you and doing them as a routine every morning before you start your day. This will help keep you in a positive mindset when you find hopelessness holding you back from success.

Exercise #4 – Make Your Environment More Favorable to Hope

Often I’ve found that hopelessness is easier to slip into when our lifestyle or surroundings work against our peace. A lot of this can actually be traced back to diet or lack of movement. Other common factors are simply a lack of community and support. I urge you to consider making one or two of the following lifestyle changes. Consult a licensed health professional before following any recommendations regarding diet:

  • Remove electronics from your bedroom
  • Replace fast and processed foods with meat (especially lean meat like turkey and chicken)
  • Substitute fruit for sugar and desserts
  • Get 7-8 hours of sleep per night
  • Substitute soothing classical music for your typical playlist
  • Fast from TV for 40 days
  • Join a support group 
  • Volunteer once per week to serve a cause or non-profit you believe in
  • Commit to exercising at least 20 minutes per day
  • Walk or stand barefoot outside for 15 minutes per day

Exercise #5 – Reflect

As you bring yourself into a healthier state of mind, you’ll be able to think more clearly. When you are in a state of 7 or above (the higher, the better), ask yourself the following questions to make sure you know what it is you’re fighting for, and why. 

  • “What do I want?”
  • “Why do I want that?”
  • “Ok. Why do I want that?”
  • “If I had success, how would I know?”
  • “How is my current job/focus getting me closer to that?”

Sometimes we struggle with hope because we’re meeting resistance and simply need to persevere. That said, sometimes we’re not hopeful because we aren’t spending our time and energy where we should. Ultimately, if you aren’t pursuing something that brings you joy (or will), you will be unable to be consistently full of hope. In other words, hopelessness itself can be a symptom of misalignment, a sign that you aren’t on your personal path for success. 

So if you constantly feel like hopelessness is holding you back from success, you may need to change your career path, relationship, or overall position entirely. It could be that success is simply not hidden there for you.

Exercise #6 – Subscribe to the Journey Principles for Help Defeating Hopelessness

The Journey Principles Institute exists to help hungry individuals overcome their obstacles and achieve success. We know how it feels when hopelessness is holding you back from success, and we can help you get your hope faster. 

To subscribe to the Journey Principles, go to our Resources page and grab one (or more) of our FREE ebooks. You’ll get your download in an email, and you’ll be set up to receive our mailing list going forward. We’ll send you free tips and resources to help you on your journey from stuck to unstoppable. 

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