Attention Dreamers: What’s Holding you Back from Doing Incredible Things?

Incredible ListThat’s the question I want you to ask yourself today.

What is holding you back from doing something incredible? What’s holding you back from chasing your biggest dreams?

We are all born dreamers.

But something out there is causing us to keep our dreams and ambitions locked up – buried deep down under layers of fear, comfort, and responsibility.

We were born to create. To move. To discover. To explore. To help each other. To inspire greatness in others. To spread the virus.

Yet, for one reason or another, we’re not doing what we truly want. We’re not fulfilling our true purpose.

So let me ask you again: what’s holding you back from doing something incredible?

To travel across the world? To be your own boss? To build a leaner body? To perfect a new recipe? To master a new skill?

The answer to this question can set you free…

Image Source

Is it fear of failure?

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” ― Paulo Coelho

Fear of Failure
Do not listen to fear as fear is a liar. [Image Source]
Is fear of failure holding you back from doing incredible things?

Fear, as an emotion, is powerful.

It can cripple the mind of the strongest man. If allowed to flourish, fear can destroy dreams. It can paralyze the mind and the soul. If allowed to thrive, it will grab hold of its victims and keep them forever locked up inside their comfort zone.

But fear is just that: an emotion.

And it is the way we perceive this emotion that determines how it affects us.

So start by asking yourself a very simple question: what is it about failure that you truly fear?

Get to the root of that question.

Are you afraid of messing up? Of looking like a fool? Being judged? Doubted? Are you afraid that you don’t have what it takes? That you’re not good enough? That you’ll waste your time and money? That nothing good will come of your effort? That you’ll actually have to put in work? That you’ll have to get out of your comfort zone? 

Whatever it is, know this:

Without failure there is no success.

Read that again.

Failure is necessary. It is part of the journey. You can’t reach success without first experiencing failure. 

This is a law of nature. Every man and woman must abide by it.

Something has to be broken down before it can be built up.

Something has to die for another thing to live. 

You need to change the way you perceive failure. Accept it when it happens. Embrace it. Understand that it’s just part of the bigger picture. And realize that every failure (for the most part) gets you a little bit closer to success. 

If all else fails, just pretend you’re not afraid. Eventually you’ll cease to be afraid.

“There were all kinds of things I was afraid of at first…but by acting as if I was not afraid I gradually ceased to be afraid.” Theodore Roosevelt

Is it fear of success?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” ― Marianne Williamson

Fear of success
Well played Roger. Well played. [Image Source]
Perhaps it is not fear of failure that’s stopping you, but fear of success.

Success, like failure, is a process of change. And it is this change – or the divergence from the norm – that instills fear inside us.

As a society, we’re simply too comfortable. Even the thought of changing – even if it’s for the better – makes us uneasy. It paralyzes us into inaction. Into indecision.

Just think what would happen if that business you were dreaming about begins to flourish. What would happen to you if you were to really lose all that weight? If you were to really step up and take that one year trip around the world?

As crazy as it sounds, success can be scary. Here’s what Mary M. had to say:

“Fear of success can be crippling, since the sufferer takes few risks, and makes only safe conservative choices.

It could be that the person does not feel that their success has been earned or it could be that they fear outside forces may take away their success. The person can also be paralyzed with indecision.”

Start, again, by digging to the root of the problem.

You need to find it before you can address it.

One useful tactic, according to Mary, is to…

“Change your thinking from “I’m afraid of success” to “I wonder what it will be like to be successful”…..from fear to curiosity.

Curiosity is a powerful tool to drive us…….what is the worst thing that can happen?

By curiosity I mean actually doing what it is you are fearing because you want to see what will happen……it’s a call to action.:

Let your curiosity guide you.

Is it lack of time?

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” ― Zig Ziglar

Lack of time
If you have time to watch this guy run down the beach, you have time to work out. [Source]
So maybe you think lack of time is the issue?

I’ve already talked about why I think ‘lack of time’ should never hold you back from building a better body

It’s a BS excuse. 

You may say that you don’t have time to do incredible things, but the reality is that it’s all in your head. You think you don’t have the time.

You solidify this thought in your head to the point that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that sucks the best parts of life out of you.

Go ahead and do a quick analysis of how you spend your time. 

For the next three days, take detailed notes on how you spend your time. Put everything on paper. Track everything to the smallest detail. 

Then, with your compiled data, sit down and take a look at how you’re spending your time. You’ll quickly discover that you’re already spending time doing something less important.

Like my mom says…we all make time for what we deem important.

Is it lack of imagination?

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” ― Albert Einstein

Lack of imagination
Imagination > Knowledge [Image Source]
Perhaps you’re lacking the imagination?

What incredible things can you really do in your life?

Start off by creating your incredible list

The idea is to find things that challenge you both physically and mentally. To find things that force you to venture outside of your comfort zone. To find things that make you face your fears and explore new boundaries. 

If you need ideas, feel free to check out my list of incredible aspirations. [Note: make sure to drop some ideas for me in the comment section!]

Is it because you think you’re too old?

“Age is a question of mind over matter.  If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” ― Leroy “Satchel” Paige

I'm too old
Enough said. [Image Source]
So you think you’re too old to do something incredible, eh?

Let me introduce you to a few people who might change your mind.

After her husband of 39 years passed away, Nola Ochs decided to start taking community college courses…at the age of 95!

Mary Armstrong, great grandmother of nine, celebrated her 90th birthday with a 12,000 ft skydive. 

Bert Killbride set a world record for being the oldest scuba diver in the world…at the age of 90! 

These people didn’t let their age hold them back. 

They did incredible things because they believed they could.

Remember: you’ll never be as young as you are today.

And it’s never too late to start living the incredible life.

Is it because you don’t want it bad enough?

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” ― Randy Pausch

How bad do you want it

Perhaps it’s not any of the above.

Maybe you just don’t want it bad enough.

Maybe you like the idea of being your own boss. Or the idea of going on that long trip you’ve been thinking about. Or the idea of starting to learn that new language.

But doing these incredible things requires work. Effort. Time. Courage. Sweat. Persistence. Sacrifice. Grit. Tears. And the willingness to do absolutely whatever it takes to get it done.

You will face brick walls along your journey. But those walls are there for a reason. They are there to keep out the people who don’t want it bad enough. After all, only those who are willing to put in the work should be rewarded.

If you’re struggling to get past those walls, perhaps it’s because you don’t have a purpose. 

You don’t have your why figured out yet.

And without a strong reason to push you past the hardships of your journey, you’ll find it extremely difficult to keep moving forward. 

Use the motivation toolkit to help figure out your purpose.

So What’s Holding You Back?

So what is it?

Go ahead.

What’s holding you back? Do yourself a favor and get it out of your system. Leave it in the comment section below. I’m actually quite curious to know what’s preventing you from doing something incredible. 

Remember: life is awesome, but it’s short. 

Perhaps it’s time to make the most of it…

Personal Note:

I’ll be on vacation for the next three weeks visiting family back home in Serbia and potentially scratching some things off my own incredible list. I will have limited access to my email and I’ll be holding off on blog posts until I come back. See you guys soon!

16 thoughts on “Attention Dreamers: What’s Holding you Back from Doing Incredible Things?”

  1. Oh I know what’s making it difficult for me to continue to try to stay in shape. It’s not so much fear as it is confusion as to how to get cut. I can handle the diet part and I’m doing well with that. I need to know how to work out in a way that ‘s comfortable for me. For example. If I do squats, with my bad knees, it just about kills me. Maybe I just need to get n the water and work out. Thanks for all your posts. They are inspiring and offer me direction to keep on keeping on.

    1. Thanks for your comment Jeff. Good eating habits are priority number one and I’m glad that you’re taking care of that first. When it comes to exercise, it’s important that you find something that suits you and your body. If squats are painful, don’t do them. Try sprinting. Try working with KBs. Try swimming. Keep trying and testing things until you find what works for you.

  2. Please offer me some ideas on how to get cut. I’m eating healthy and working out 30 minutes a day. Thanks.

  3. In my case, it’s fear of failure, looking like a fool, being judged, that I’m not good enough and I don’t want it bad enough.
    What ? Who said I’m a desperate case ?
    That’s a lifetime fight, inch by inch I treat those issues and I’m doing better, day after day 🙂

    Have a nice journey 🙂

    1. Haha I wouldn’t call that a desperate case. I would call that normal. But you’ve said it yourself – it’s about doing a little bit every single day to make yourself better.

  4. Srdjan,

    I used to use the lack of time excuse a lot, but sometimes you just need to break a bigger task into more manageable pieces. This deconstruction process has helped me make good progress with goals in every area of my life. Habit formation has been huge for me lately.

    For example, if your goal is to read five books a year, that may seem overwhelming but if you set aside 10 minutes a day to read and make it a habit, chances are you will accomplish that goal pretty easily and without it interfering with the rest of your life.


    1. Habits are absolutely key. They say they control nearly half of our actions (crazy!). I like your deconstruction process concept. I think that plays a huge role from a psychological perspective – breaking a big project/goal down into smaller, chewable pieces makes things a lot simpler (not to mention the motivation factor involved).

    2. Well the Triathlon was a great success. I was hoping for 32 minutes at best and I finished at 31:09 minutes. I am very happy with that time. Last weekend I did another 5k. Different coarse, different time. I originally was hoping for 29 mins. However, the week of training I had issues with cramping under my ribs. It was a battle of mine during the Tri. And I couldn’t overcome it for over a week. It scared me. I often wondered if this was how my running life was going to be now, like a diver with “the bends”. I decided to drop down my time, and actually not think about a time but rather concentrate about running and not stopping not even for water. I kept that goal minus walking for about five steps and bashing myself in the process. It actually felt easier to run, so I did. I finished 136 place out of 209 with a time of 36:02. I’m happy with that and the cramping was at bay until my last .5 mile. I will keep working on it, with my new race on Sept. 14th. Wish me luck.

  5. Sometimes it is bad timing. Since I was a teen, I wanted to serve the Lord abroad. Excuses and bad decisions kept me from following my dreams most of my life. Fast forward to today, I have a senior in high school, I will retire in about 7 yrs and my house will be paid for at the same time. Sometimes there is wisdom in putting things off.

  6. I started my change a year ago. I call it my preparation for the fabulous forties. I am 38 at this time and I didn’t want to say “I can’t” or “I’m too fat”, “too tired”, “too out of shape”. I couldn’t watch everyone else have a fun and exciting life anymore. I’m still working on it. My demons get in the way often. I had to give myself goals and instead of saying “No” I started off with saying “Maybe”, “I’ll try” and then it was “Sure, why not what do I have to lose?” Today was the first time I ran three straight miles. No stopping. No quitting, just straight even pace running. But I have to do it because I said “Sure, why not” to a triathlon that is coming up in two weeks. I’m not a super star by any means. When I started working out I was 184 lbs. but I was determined not to continue on that path. I’m now 149 lbs. I still get sluggish I still need a trainer and I still need the support of friends. We are all a work in progress. Thank you for your posts they keep me inspired when the demons distract me.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing that awesome comment Christi – your story is beyond inspirational. Congrats on your first 3 miles; I’m sure there will be a lot more of those coming. And good luck on your triathlon. Let me know how it goes. Keep on saying “why not” 🙂

  7. Pizza….hands down my biggest obstacle! It doesn’t help that my roommate brings one home all the time and then leaves the leftovers in the fridge telling me I can help myself. But, I have set a goal to limit myself to having it once every 2 weeks. I work hard enough in the gym, I deserve it in moderation.

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