4 Lies you’re telling yourself that are keeping you from success
January 20, 2017
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I just don’t have the time

When it comes to self-growth this is probably the biggest lie you have been telling yourself. You enumerate all your responsibilities and conclude that self-growth belongs in the bottom pile. The irony is that self-growth is pivotal to the improvement of your life and the more effort you put in it, the better every other aspect of your life gets. Being peaceful and grounded for example, helps you cope with conflict and challenges in your relationships. Achieving fitness helps keep illnesses at bay and leaves you with more energy to focus on your chores. Reading and other forms of knowledge acquisition help you make informed decisions and get ahead in business.

Self-growth is pivotal to self-improvement.

Self-growth is pivotal to self-improvement.

One way or another, everything you are working towards boils down to the desire to improve your life. So to put self-growth at the bottom of your priorities list is tantamount to putting the cart before the donkey – it simply doesn’t work. I think the key to unwinding this lie is to examine the motivations behind it. I think that this, like most other lies is fear-based. It is wedged in the area of thoughts like, “If I start I might actually have to give up a bit of my sleep or TV or the thing I am most good at that provides me with more validation than this will.”


The most common form of laziness today is laziness by staying busy.  Keeping busy keeps you from feeling guilty about not focusing on building wealth.

Robert Kiyosaki

Once you’ve realized what your motivation is, slice it down cold turkey and make room/time. After all, there’s no better way to do something, than to actually do it. In as little as two weeks, you will already see success seeping into your life.

I’m at a disadvantage

I’ll admit, I have been guilty of this line of thinking more than once. In fact, it’s been niggling at the back of my mind for some time now and eventually became the motivation for writing this piece. With an MBA in international Business Management, I wasn’t entirely sure that the lifestyle business was for me. What I envisioned, and what many others envisioned for me was more along the lines of an internship at the World Bank and a lifetime career climbing the corporate ladder. So when I decided to start a personal development website, I did so with a lot of anxiety. I knew that I wanted the flexibility, freedom of expression and deep fulfilment that it provides me now, but on many levels, I felt ill-equipped. There were so many blogs out there, so many people with lots more knowledge backed by degrees from renowned universities and long lists of publications in this field and others who started this line of work long before I did. I wasn’t sure that I had anything of value to add. I felt like a candle in the sun.

But then I realized a staggering and unchanging truth that is rightly expressed by Max Ehrmann in his poem, Desiderata, ‘If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself’.

As long as you are putting in the work to learn and grow, you are already at an advantage. Too many people are busy saying they’re too busy to put in that work. Furthermore our world is as diverse as the stars in the sky. Retail stores spend thousands of dollars on specialists in the art and science of retail display because they understand this (there’s that MBA kicking in). Master Chefs know the importance of presentation of their dishes because they understand this. Someone out there needs exactly what you’ve got. They may have already heard what you’re saying, or seen what you’re selling elsewhere, but when they hear it the way you’re saying it, or see it the way you present it, they’ll take it and they’ll keep coming back for more.

Failure isn’t an option

In life, much like in manufacturing, packaging matters. How you package failure matters. For Thomas Edison, where some would say he failed 10,000 times, he said that he had only found 10,000 ways that didn’t work. For Robert Kiyosaki, failure is an opportunity for learning and growth. For Napoleon Hill, failure is a gateway to success.

When you go into something thinking, ‘failure isn’t an option’, what you’re really saying is, ‘the opportunity for learning and growth is not an option’ and ‘going through the gateway to success is not an option’. You come out of it not having understood what it is in your approach that doesn’t work because you’re trying to change the laws of physics to accommodate your fear of failure.

Now, before you crucify me, I do understand that the phrase ‘failure is not an option’ is a sort of battle cry, a mantra to affirm determination and motivation. But, the days of working hard are long gone. They have been replaced by the era of working smart and working smart means strategy. Working smart means removing the fear, misconceptions and negative connotations that come with the word ‘failure’. Working smart means embracing it and packaging it as Zig Ziglar packages it – ‘failure is an event, not a person’ and ‘failure is a detour, not a dead-end street’. Understanding and believing this is a sure way to dispel the fears we have been taught to hold over failure and to push forward to success.

I have plenty of time.

You don’t have plenty of time, and if you truly believe this, here’s a road sign you need to see: Midlife Crisis Ahead. There is a whole phenomenon dedicated to the consequences of telling yourself this lie. One morning two years ago, Marie’s husband of thirteen years woke up sweating and in a panic and said to her, “I love you but I’m not in love with you. I need to find myself and I can’t do that with you. I want a career as a merchant marine so I can travel the world. I’ll get my own apartment and a better job as soon as I can. I’m sorry but this is just the way it is.” In a minute or so, Marie’s husband blew up both his marriage and career.

There’s simply not enough time to procrastinate without consequences. Start saving today – not as soon as you have enough, become financially literate, travel, explore the world and explore yourself, become self-aware. Time is irrecoverable, and everything you put off now is bound to catch up to you, and you don’t want to wake up one day sweating and in a panic and start trying to do everything all at the same time.


About author

Wanjiru Ndung'u

Wanjiru Ndung'u writes fiction, poetry and essays. She is an irretrievable night owl, tea-lover and cat mom. She enjoys books, alternative music, movies and streaming shows.

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