What Hinders Your Progress And What Can Make You Move Forward?
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This article will consider factors preventing you from succeeding and how you can move ahead. At the end, you’d have exercises to put the 5 tools for change taught here into practice.

We often blame “external forces” for hindering our progress or, rarely credit them for moving us forward. No wonder we hear people say: “I grew up in a difficult neighbourhood”, “The economy is bad in my country”, “The government’s policy is not to our advantage,” “Supernatural forces are retarding me.”

But I’ll rather like to look at “internal forces” that can actually move us forward or hold us back. It’s only by controlling them that you can really exercise control over your present and future as the external forces are not really as strong as they are in our minds.

One of the internal forces is called “Self-image.” This is the picture you unconsciously hold in your mind about yourself. This image was formed by things repeatedly said about and to you by your parents, siblings, classmates and teachers; by things your friends, or co-workers now say about you; and by comparisons you make between yourself and others.

The self image limits our potentialities, our audacity, preventing us from trying things we think we aren’t gifted for. But are we really so limited?

No, for there is no such thing as, for example, a born leader or a born underling. These are acquired beliefs and learned behaviours, stereotypes. As we grow up, we are told what to do and what not to do, what to say and what not to say, what we can do and what we cannot do, etc. By and by we internalize these things and in consonance with the “programming” we unconsciously authorise certain things for ourselves and forbid ourselves others. We reproduce the stereotypes.

Now, are you being limited by your self-image? Then you have to set goals for your life. Setting goals will no doubt pitch you against your self-image limits. While you can’t outperform your self-image, you can challenge it, push at its limits to achieve.

Learn to discover your hidden talents and new interests

When somebody says they can’t swim, maybe it’s because the first time they learned to swim, there was an accident and they nearly drowned. So they developed aqua phobia. And then people close to them always told him to avoid water or risk drowning. So they naturally resist learning to swim. This goes for any other activity we think we can’t do.

How the ‘Nerd’ discovered his secret talent as a billiard shark

Once there was a math whiz that had great interest in computers, science, and technical topics but none at all in playing billiards. He will always give excuses when asked to play the game with his friends, not knowing that he was only doing the bidding of the picture in his head.

But when somebody gave him the similarity between billiard and geometry, the whiz began to take interest in the game and ended up beating his friends who were experts at it.

So, the only way to uncover your hidden talent and interests is to act. Instead of “I’m not good at it,” “It’s not my cup of tea”, “I’m not interested in it,” rather say “I’ll give it a try.” Who knows, you might find you’re talented for it.

The way to strengthen skills or abilities

When developing especially a new skill or ability, you need some or all of these 5 ways top athletes and businesspeople employ to strengthen their skills:

  1. Visualisation
  2. Affirmation
  3. Education
  4. Association
  5. Action

Visualization: Forming and holding mental images of yourself in a new positive role you wish for yourself is as effective as the limiting self-images. It’s like playing a role in a movie or a theatrical piece. The more you immerse yourself in the new persona, the more you will personify that character.

Supposing your want to be an affiliate marketer. Picture yourself as one already. Play that role in your head as if you were doing it in a film.

Affirmation: You reinforce your new self by constantly reminding yourself about it and believing in it. This constant “self-talk” reinforces the image you hold of yourself because your mind receives it as a command and as such will work at making it a reality.

Let’s return to your desire to be an affiliate marketer. Write down your affirmations and repeat them till you memorize them. Then repeat them to yourself the whole day, before you go to bed and first thing on waking up in the morning. The results will amaze you!

Visit the secret site if you want to know more about the two notions above.

Education or Information: The more you know about something, the easier it becomes for you. This is true of any skill you want to acquire or master: by learning more about it, your confidence level and your competence will automatically increase.

Association: If you want to be good or better at doing something, it makes sense to be around people who master it and from whom you can learn by imitation. Again, birds of a feather flock together.

Action: Unless you take action on what you learn, you would never amount to much. Action speaks louder than words, you remember?

Incidentally, this is where people abandon their dreams. Yet action is what gives form to your ideas or thoughts. Successful people immediately follow decision with action. They know that you only become what you DO and not what you THINK or SAY.

Just as we did in the earlier article, let us put the 5 tools for change into practice. Don’t procrastinate, that’s a sure way to remain in the past!


Again pick up other sheets of paper or go to your computer for this exercise. Write the headings on each page and let yourself go!


Describe as fully as you can a picture, or a mental image, of yourself doing something you want to do and doing it successfully. (E.g.: a successful day in a career you’d want to embrace). Run this “movie” several times a day through your mind for as long as you haven’t achieved it. Picture yourself in the “movie” as if it was reality.


Create as many (but not too many) limit-lifting affirmations as you can comfortably memorize in conformity with the new directions you’d like to take. Read or recite them to yourself several times a day, with as much conviction as if you’d already achieved them.

E.g.: If your limiting self-image is fear of talking in front of a crowd, your positive affirmation could be: I am a great speaker and I’m interested in imparting my ideas to others in a passionate manner. I have a lot to tell people about and people love to listen to me intently and avidly. So speaking to crowds becomes passionate for me.


List 3 things that you can do to achieve the education that you want





List 3 persons that you should associate with less in order to move unfettered in your positive directions




List 3 persons that you should associate with more to help you move in your new positive directions




5. ACTION Date...................................................

List actions you will take in the next 10 days to advance you in your new positive directions.

Action Tick here when done

i. √










Street Talk

Well said! Thanks for sharing all these great ideas. Indeed. People are limited by the self image they form. Goals can challenge you -- and help you on a path to personal growth. For example, as part of my own healing, I started a website earlier this year, in June, so that I can have a platform to begin helping people. One by one, I've written little helpful things to guide people in growing. Today I published my 100th article there.

  about 4 years ago

Hi Cynthia, thanks for visiting. Please I would like to have the address of your website to visit. Once again, thanks for your comments.

  about 4 years ago

Hi Akoli! Thank you for your interest. Oops - Street Articles does not allow links in comments. My website that I started in June is called Slow Self Improvement Guide. It's ranked now, so you should be able to put quotes around the name and search for it in a search engine. In October I started a second site, focused on tips an exercises for personal development and that's called Persistent Growth. Again, thanks for your interest!

  about 4 years ago
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