Skip to main content

What Is Holding You Back from Achieving Your True Potential?

Brian is always seeking for ways to improve on productivity and optimize his performance on a daily basis to live his life to the fullest!

What is holding you back from your success?

What is holding you back from your success?

The Fear of Temporary Pain Can Hold Us Back In Life

Are you content with the life that you are living now? Do you feel that you have done your best to deserve the life you wanted? Try asking some of your close friends and even your own family members if they actually had something that they regret not doing sooner. You will be surprised to find that there are actually plenty of people walking around with the burden of regret of a chance not taken.

I have personally taken a walk down memory lane and recollected the moments that made me the person I am today. The journey was filled with good times and even tough times that shaped the way I perceived opportunities and in responding to them. My own personal experience was the opposite of inaction. In fact, I had acted on impulse without thinking through and considering the consequences in the long term. Well, the only consolation being that I was young and I still had my youth to start over. Failure is not final unless we decide to stay there and do nothing to change the fact. I believed that everyone has a chance to redeem ourselves if we want to. I will not deny that there was a slight trace of regret when things did not go through, but, overall the lesson I learnt outweighs the regret. There were numerous opportunities that came by after that, and I learnt to assess it and take action accordingly.

This sharing of my experience is not meant to inhibit you from taking action but instead take massive action to see massive results in your life. However, remember to bring your head along with you when you need to. In addition, use your heart and gut feeling to guide you along the way as well to help you in making decisions. At times, doing something relatively new may seem scary and intimidating in the beginning. However, if you just sit and wait, the results will not materialize and you will still be in the same spot as you were. Even with my experience of having failed in an endeavor that I have put so much hope in, I still think that it is worth taking a chance in something you believe in, rather than regret not knowing the outcome.

There is No Such Thing As Waiting for the Right Time

Some of us think we have a goal or dream we want to achieve. Nevertheless, when it is time for us to show up and make the dream come true, we cringe at the thought of the work required and come up with excuses to defer from doing the needful. This might mean that the goal is not really that important, otherwise, why the delay? Another possible explanation could be the lack of urgency to make your dreams come true. We sometimes feel like we have all the time in the world to employ the ‘wait and see’ approach. Unfortunately, some people will never fulfill their true potential because they were waiting for the right moment to strike.

Why Do We Procrastinate?

Now, there might be several factors that could have contributed to procrastination causing us not to take action. What causes us to procrastinate and how can we overcome it? Are you afraid that you would fail and fall or you are just not interested in taking risks and prefer being content with the way life is?

It is normal to feel fearful of failing as it is our natural instinct to play it safe, although there are quite many people who are habitual risk takers. The key idea here is that those who take risks and fail actually learn from their failures. The ones that do nothing gain nothing. Conversely, if you are contented with the way your life is, then you must be doing something right and keep it up if it is working fine for you.

For those who are stuck and need that little nudge, perhaps the following will serve as an enlightenment to build a life that you will be proud to call yours.

Time waits for no man

Time waits for no man

1. Understand That the Time Will Never Be Just Right

It is funny how we sometimes want to wait for the proverbial ‘perfect timing’ to do something; it could be a simple task like making the bed every morning but we somehow find an excuse to get it done later. This reminded me of an impressionable quote by William H.McRaven, a retired United States Navy four-star admiral who says If you can't do the little things right, you will never do the big things right” and I see the logic in him saying so. If we cannot even get ourselves to address the little things that matter, it will be an act of moving a mountain when it comes to more important matters.

I am also guilty of procrastinating myself, always wanting to wait for the right time to get moving. Instead of jumping to action, there will be an excuse of getting it done later. Later then turns into a week, which may turn into a month, and at times might even surpass a year. This will then bring into picture the overused term ‘New Year Resolution’, which does not help much unless we commit to conquering the list. Waiting for the New Year to come before you can instill a new habit is not ideal and the resolution might just remain a myth that will never come true. If you continue to wait for the next day to come before you put your foot down, you will carry on with excuses why you cannot get the job done when the time eventually comes for you to step up.

There is no point waiting for a sign from Heaven or for the stars to align. This is unless you are an astrologer and able to read the signs and decide when is the exact time to carry on with your efforts. Even then, having known the ‘right’ time, will you be able to execute when the time comes? Knowing and not doing is pointless and futile as the knowledge is put to waste. It is better in comparison if someone who does not know when or how to get things done but begins by asking and doing a little, rather than someone who knows that he has work to do but keeps putting it for later. It is much liberating to begin now rather than later.

The Smart Planner Pro let you chart your goals better and keep things in perspective in the long term

The Smart Planner Pro let you chart your goals better and keep things in perspective in the long term

2. Do Not Expect to Be An Overnight Success

Now that you have taken the first step towards achieving your dream, you might be feeling optimistic and high up on cloud nine. Never let it get to your head causing you to push for results immediately. I get it that we want to see results when we put in the effort. Nonetheless, we cannot overlook the fact that success needs time for it to form. Our mindset will be an important asset, whereby we have to think for the long term instead of seeking immediate gratification.

Many of us working towards our goal tend to fall into the trap of giving up when we do not see results instantly. There is no magic pill or shortcut towards success. You have to go through the pain before you can enjoy the sweetness of victory. Think of the endgame and bear that in mind when you chart your moves. Look at the likes of Bernard Arnault, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk, the top three richest men in the world at this point of writing. These public figures built their fortune over the years with hard work and never gave up in the face of challenges, because if they did, there will be no Luis Vuitton, Amazon, and Tesla cars on the road.

With where you are now, start charting your five years, ten years, and maybe even 20 years plan. Get strategic and keep on working at it, building your bridge towards your dream. It helps to get yourself a personal planner to write your goals down and track your progress with deadlines to follow through. The 'Smart Planner Pro' is one useful tool that can help keep you stay on track of your life plans. The planner will help you optimize your goal settings and crush them with the effectively designed organiser sections for a better follow through.

If you keep going at your goals consistently, you will definitely make serious progress over time. A small improvement every day will amount to the bigger picture. You might feel like you have not made any headway in the beginning, but, as long as you stick to your actions consistently, you can create explosive results!

3. Learn to Listen to Your Gut Instinct

In working towards your dream, you might face problems and obstacles along the way. However, be warned that the toughest obstacle is your own self. We humans have our conscious and unconscious mind to thank for that partly. The conscious mind is responsible for our awareness of the environment and free will. However, the conscious mind can only process data from the environment at the rate of 40 bit per second. On the other hand, the unconscious mind is able to process data one million times faster at 40 million bits per second.

Have you ever had an intuition or a gut feeling and it turned out to be spot on? That is basically our unconscious mind at work, churning information at a rate faster than what the conscious mind is aware of at the moment. The difference in the capability of the conscious and unconscious mind is like night versus day, which many of us are still unable to muster and use it to our advantage. As powerful is the unconscious mind, it is quite hard to tap into it because the conscious mind is so busy getting in the way. This is precisely the deterrent that tends to hold us back most of the time.

Scroll to Continue

Our actions are mostly a result of our active thought processes. We often try to rationalize our actions by using our thought processes to determine our action. The reason why there are times we talk ourselves out of doing something just because we try to make sense of the process and the action itself, and most of the time end up not doing it. Do not rely too much on the so-called voice of reason for advice. At times, it will talk you out of doing the things that will give you the greatest progress in life. However, as my personal sharing, taking risks in life is necessary but be sure to cover all the bases before taking the leap.

4. Learn To Practise Discipline and Self-Control

If we are brutally honest with ourselves, most of the time we fail to act because of the lack of discipline and self-control. You can be planning to do the laundry over the weekend but when the weekend comes, you ‘conveniently’ postpone doing it because the TV is airing the movie you had wanted to watch. This may seem like an innocent act, but, when repeated over many times can turn into a habit – a habit that does more harm than good most of the time. When you give yourself the leeway or excuse to ‘escape’ from the tasks you had planned, it opens up the opportunity for similar incidents to take place. The more frequent you allow this situation to take place, the higher the tendency it is for you to continue deferring from doing the things that needs to be done.

We understand that there will be times we may go off schedule and our plans get interrupted because something unexpected came up. This is totally fine if it happens occasionally and we have no control over it. Addressing the disruptions when it is important and urgent is not the issue here. On the other hand, if the ‘disruption’ is constant and something that is not beneficial and can be put on for later, we have to reign in our self-control to stay on track. Do not let your guard down and succumb to temptation.

Do not feel bad when you realise that you have this weakness, but, take the effort to turn it into strength to help you in your pursuits. Try to gain self-control and achieve balance in your life if you are serious about your goals. You can train yourself to be more disciplined by first being clear about your goal. Then, begin by taking small steps towards the direction of your goal. In order to reduce the tendency to slack, always start your day by prioritizing the tasks that need to be done first. Having a schedule detailing your tasks of the day will keep you in check better than having none. Last but not least, when you feel like giving up, remind yourself of the reason you started the journey.

Success come to those that work

Success come to those that work

5. Become Fully Committed to the Outcome

If you want to succeed, you have to be unreasonable. Part of being unreasonable is to be fully committed to something that nothing or no one can stand in your way. Give it your all, because your results will reflect on the efforts you put in. When you decide to commit fully, you have to make up your mind and go all in. Have the conviction towards your goal to the extent that your mentality shifts to total commitment.

Just pause, reflect, and think about it yourself. In the past, had you experienced any moment when you were fully committed to a certain outcome? How did you behave? Were you nonchalant about your actions or were you so driven that you did everything you could to get the deed done? Did you allow any obstacles to stand in your way or did you bulldoze through those obstacles? You alone know the answers to those questions. If you have doubts, this quote by Tony Robbins will give you a jolt – “If you want to take the island, then burn your boats. With absolute commitment come the insights that create real victory”.

If you have a tough time getting started towards completing your goals, start sharing them with your closest friend or family member that has your best interest in mind. Get them to be part of your journey and make yourself accountable to their expectation of wanting to see you succeed. The idea here is that, you create a sense of urgency and understanding that your success is pertinent as there are people waiting to witness the moment. If you can afford it, you may even consider engaging a personal coach or mentor to guide, motivate, and drive you to your full potential as he or she helps you to navigate the way to success. Some people say, you do not feel the pain or gravity of the delay and inaction until you experience the loss of being complacent.

People often wait until it is too late to do anything that they start wishing to turn back time and do things differently. We always have the notion that we can redeem ourselves later or some other time, but, successful people always do the work first and figure out how they will spend their time and money later on. Take for instance, 38-year-old founder of ByteDance, Zhang Yiming, made a public announcement on May 20th 2021, that he will be stepping down from his position as the CEO of Tiktok and spend his retirement reading books and daydreaming. Mr. Zhang Yiming has already amassed a net worth of about $44 billion at the time he made this decision.

What Will You Do Now?

So now, ask yourself what you will do next? Maybe you might experience mental objections for not being able to start working on your dreams. Perhaps, you value the opinions of others who have riddled-off countless reasons why you are bound to fail at some endeavor. Or it could be your self-image that is in the way, making you lose confidence to even begin. Inferiority can be a success-blocker causing us to harbour negative beliefs that can get in the way of our dreams. These hindrances are not your reality unless you entertain and start believing it is the truth. The problem with the majority of us is that we tend to place limitations on what we can and cannot achieve. But, the truth is that human potential is limitless and whatever the mind can conceive, it can definitely achieve.

Forget about the noise that is going around you and do not let your inner peace be affected by it. Get up and start taking action to prove to yourself and those that did not believe in you that you can be successful. So, what if you fail? Simply get up and try again. Failure is not the end and it is not your fate if you do not accept it. Understand that success will not come easy. Do not let anything or anyone hold you back in life, especially yourself. Get used to embracing temporary pain for long term pleasure. At times we stop in our tracks because we let the pain of action or failure to consume us. Then again, if all of us are immune to pain and hard work, we would all be rich and successful. Hence, success is not meant for everyone, but anyone has the right to succeed if they try. Start working even when it is hard or tough because if you do not begin when you are young, it will get tougher as the years go by.


In short, always remember that there will never be a right time to get started. Begin where you are and the journey will unfold itself before you. As you start, take it easy on yourself and do not expect to gain success overnight. Time yourself and celebrate small wins daily as you work your way upwards. When you feel overwhelmed, take a deep breath and talk to someone about your concerns. Otherwise, pause and focus on something that you love and spend some time on it before getting back to work. When in doubt and you feel the urge to not act on your ideas, rely on your gut feeling to guide you. At times, you know deep down inside what you need to do instead of relying on reasoning that may inhibit you from taking action. Another key to realising your full potential is to master self-control and discipline. Sometimes, we need a little push and motivation to get started. But, we need to realise that motivation begins with us taking the first step and build consistency along the way. Last but not least, commit your all to see through until you achieve success. Build conviction as you commit to your goals dutifully. Having conviction will diminish the effect of obstacles in your path as you can only see your end goal and not the things that will stop you from getting it.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Brian


Brian (author) from Kuala Lumpur Malaysia on May 30, 2021:

Awesome, Ms Dora! Great vibes from your end. Well, our dreams is worth fighting for and the hard work will pay off eventually.

Brian (author) from Kuala Lumpur Malaysia on May 30, 2021:

Thank you for the feedback, Liz. Glad that you find this piece stimulating and useful.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 30, 2021:

Great motivation! Number is a big challenge but the reward is worth the effort. Thank you for the push.

Liz Westwood from UK on May 30, 2021:

You make some interesting points in this thought-provoking article.

Related Articles