Taking chances, stepping outside your comfort zone, and expanding the opportunities in your life all sound great, in theory, but they can be hard concepts to put into practice. In fact, you may have a number of ingrained habits that could be holding yourself back from great opportunities. These habits, however, are easy to change once you know what they are. If you find that you do the following five things regularly, look within and see if you can make the mental shifts needed to overcome these actions.
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1. You Always Find a Reason to Say, “No”
Saying yes can be scary. Saying no, by contrast, is typically the safer bet. And it’s much easier to think of reasons why you shouldn’t do something, than it is to think of reasons why you should, like take a job that would challenge you, move across the world, go on a blind date. If your instant response is always to decline an offer or turn down an opportunity, this really could close the door on some exciting opportunities. Understand how you can start saying yes to some of these things instead.
2. You Tend to Fear the Unknown
Pretty much everyone has some type of fear when it comes to the unknown, but some people are more anxious about the future than others. For these individuals, imaging the worst-case scenario of what could happen in a given situation is just their normal brain pattern. In fact, it can be an automatic response. If this sounds like you, know that always going down the negative path when presented with new opportunities will hold you back. Chances are, the absolute worst thing that can happen won’t, especially not in each and every case.
3. You Make Snap Judgments About People, Places, and Situations
Judgments usually come when we’re feeling the most insecure about ourselves and our surroundings. But if your gut response is to be aloof when meeting new people or to assume that you won’t have fun when presented with a not-your-thing situation, this will only leave you feeling more alone and left out while others dive into new relationships and experiences. Instead, give people a chance before writing them off. You may meet a new best friend, mentor, or romantic partner. And, allow yourself to try new things (and even fail!) before automatically saying something isn’t for you.
4. You Do the Things You “Should” Do
For many of us, there’s a voice in our heads telling us what we should do in any given situation—what we should wear, how we should talk, what decisions to make, etc. This voice carries a lot of baggage and emotions from our past. Perhaps these “shoulds” are what we think our parents would want us to do, what a current (or former) partner would expect of us, or even what we think society would require from us. However, what you think you should do often keeps you from really living your life to the fullest and exploring new opportunities.
5. You Feel a Sense of Restlessness
Maybe you always do what you should do. Perhaps you don’t take too many risky chances or step outside your comfort zone often. However, you may also feel an undercurrent of energy trying to break free, tempting you to throw caution to the wind and discover all that your life may have to offer. Don’t keep pushing this feeling away—listen to it. You’ll uncover new opportunities you never knew existed.
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