I think I can, I think I can…

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If I only did what I could do I wouldn’t do anything.

-Jacques Derrida

 

Most of us are completely unaware of our potential. We limit ourselves in so many ways: by talking negatively to ourselves, by allowing others to criticize us, by comparing ourselves to others, and by setting unrealistic goals—thereby fulfilling our self-fulfilled prophecy that we can’t.

 

But what if you can?

 

To start with, we’ve got to tell ourselves that we can. We’ve got to speak positively to ourselves and surround ourselves with people who love and support and encourage us.

 

We also have to stop comparing ourselves to others. Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson says that we should not compare ourselves to others, but rather to ourselves. “How was I yesterday?” should be the question, rather than “How is that person over there today?”

 

And finally, we need to set realistic and realizable goals. Saying I want to climb the highest mountain tomorrow when I haven’t exercised in a year is a recipe for disaster. But having the goal that one day you want to climb a mountain, but starting today you are going to run for twenty minutes a day is realistic and realizable.

 

It’s a real balancing act. As Derrida states above, if we never push ourselves, we’ll get nowhere. But if we let negativity push us, we’ll never be happy—even if we do manage to get to the top of Mt. Everest.

 

We need to take it easy, nudge and push ourselves, be clear about our passions and dreams, and be comfortable with all the baby steps along the way.

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