The Subversive Mental Barrier To Success

Do we hinder our achievement of what we want by what we subconsciously fear or expect?

Morgan Giddings makes a compelling case for just this in TheScientist – “…the silent robber of your success.” We want and consciously strive for success, he suggests, while subconsciously expecting to fail or fearing failure.

Giddings describes the impact of this common psychological situation as a friction between our two mindsets. This friction generates virtual heat and hinders forward motion.  It slows us down and can stop us altogether. Time and energy that could be spent removing roadblocks or jumping hurdles is wasted in anticipating and fearing the roadblocks and hurdles.

Fear, he says, arises as a necessary psychological response to a situation that endangers our well-being. It’s useful when we’re crossing the street, not so useful when we’re trying to get ahead.

Giddings makes the point that being consciously aware of this friction can help us overcome it. We can intervene as the fear arises and choose to take positive steps to ignore it or address it.

This brings us to a related point: Our working memory provides a buffer between our conscious response to a situation and our subconscious or emotional response. When that buffer gets overloaded we can no longer think straight and revert to our instinct.

By training our working memory we increase the size of the buffer allowing ourselves to remain attentively aware, even when we’re under stress.

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