By Lolly Daskal President and CEO, Lead From Within


CREDIT: Getty Images

Rational people sometimes have irrational thoughts that sabotage their success.

We all have irrational thoughts, often without even being aware of them. But these irrational thoughts keep us from the success we deserve and the happiness we want.

Once you’ve identified an irrational thought, the next step is to break it down and replace it with a positive rational belief. Here are 12 of the most common irrational thoughts, which can victimize even smart, rational people. If even one of them sounds like you, do whatever it takes to find a better way to think.

1. I must be competent in everything or I will never succeed. If you think you have to be competent in everything to succeed, you are setting yourself up for failure. You don’t have to be an expert in everything. Your strength lies in what you know, not in what you don’t.

2. My emotions are outside of my control. If you think have no power over your emotions, try to think in terms of educating yourself about those emotions. It’s possible to learn to manage your feelings–and in the meantime, however you feel, you can always control how you act and respond.

3. I can never make a mistake or I’ll be seen as a failure. If you think mistakes are not an option, think again. Mistakes happen and they happen often–and our mistakes have the power to turn us into something better than we were before. So instead of thinking you can never afford to make a mistake, know that mistakes are not only useful but necessary.

4. I must please others to feel good about myself. This belief is a certain way to set yourself up for failure, because no one can please everybody all the time. The only person you can please is yourself–and if you are happy and confident in yourself, that is where everything will begin to work for you. It’s nice to have other people like you, but it shouldn’t be at the top of your list.

5. If someone criticizes me, there must be something wrong with me. When you’re the object of criticism, always ask “Is this about me or is it about the person speaking?” Criticism may mean that you see things differently or have different opinions. The secret is not to take it personally and allow them to be what it is: just someone’s opinion.

6. I will never measure up to others so I should give up trying. If you think you’re not measuring up, remember it’s a feeling and doesn’t necessarily reflect reality. We sometimes struggle with insecurities because we fear being judged–but if you spend your time focusing on your strengths and building your confidence, you’ll be better able to hold your own.

7. If I do things for myself I’ll be considered selfish. If you pride yourself on always helping, enabling, fixing others, it may feel like you’re doing something wrong if you spend time and effort on yourself. But sometimes you have to focus on yourself to be selfless, because if you lose yourself you will only become a reflection of what everyone else wants you to be.

8. I must never take risks to make sure I don’t fail. if you think not taking risks will protect you, think again. The biggest risk you can take is never taking risks. In the world of business and leadership, everything changes quickly and the only strategy that leads to success involves taking risks. You don’t have to risk everything, but you do have to risk. If you win you’ll be happy; if you lose you’ll be wise.

9. If everything is going right, something will go wrong. When times are good, we tend to wait for the other shoe to fall. Nothing will ever be 100 percent right or 100 percent wrong; there will always be an ebb and flow between the two. It’s finding the balance to know that everything will be all right, but that doesn’t mean perfect and it doesn’t mean that things will always be the same.

10. I don’t deserve success. Thinking of yourself is unworthy is as irrational a thought as you can have. You must believe that you are worthy and you deserve the success you’re working for–no matter what you’ve done or haven’t done. Learn to accept yourself and allow yourself to feel deserving.

11. It’s easier to avoid problems then to deal with them. Unfortunately, failing to deal with problems doesn’t actually let you avoid them. The more you try, the more they persist. There’s no point in trying to run or avoid or deny or evade them. Remember, a problem is a chance to do better the second time around.

12. My past controls my future. Only if you let it. The past is there to teach you, and once you’ve learned its lessons you can apply them to the future–but that doesn’t mean they have to take residency there. Learn to let go so you can move on to the next chapter of your life.

Stay in touch with your inner voice so you can root out your own irrational thoughts and replace them with positivity and growth.