There are very few of us, if any, who have never gone through a period when everything seems to have ground to a halt, when ideas have dried up, when our friends have abandoned us, and when life in general seemed to be going down the tubes. It would be so easy at this time to wallow in a trough of self-pity, to think that it would be pointless trying, that this could only happen to us, and believe that whatever we do it will only result in failure. We have tried before, you say, and it all went pear shaped, so it’s just not worth the effort. Can you remember such a time as this? Can you recall a time of utter despair, when you thought that you might as well give up? Convinced yourself that you will always be a loser? Of course you can, because you are only human after all, and it is a fact of life that these things happen. Nobody is exempt from personal problems, disappointments and heartbreak. In fact you will be in good company because most of the successful people throughout history have, at some time or other been at this low point.

Well, there is a way out if you really want do free yourself from this unhappy and negative state of mind, but it will involve determined effort on your part. You must first of all review your present position and ask yourself how did everything seize up the way it has. Did you make some mistakes somewhere along the line? Do you think you have failed at something? Did someone else leave you in the lurch? Or are you just trapped in that comfort zone, lacking the confidence to even exert yourself or take any risks. Sometimes we receive a setback that seems insurmountable and at such a time it is vital to believe that with every problem, not matter how large, there is a solution. Defeat is only a state of mind, and it is only the faint hearted, those who give up too soon, who are totally defeated. You must take the attitude that you will not be among their number

DON’T MAKE EXCUSES: Have you ever made excuses to avoid doing something? Have you ever invented reasons why you shouldn’t try something new? Of course you have, we all have. Why, over the years we must have dreamed up hundreds of real beauties such as ‘I’m too old’ or ‘I’m too young’, ‘I’m not clever enough’ or ‘I just don’t have the time’. The trouble is that these excuses, if repeated over and over again, take on a life of their own and eventually appear as real and insurmountable. What you must do is sort out the fact from the fiction, and the fact is that if someone has done it before then you can do it as well, and maybe even better. When up against a challenge or difficulty, let your mind dwell less on your limitations and a great deal more on your capabilities. Think and act with optimism, for that will lift your morale and will breed courage and confidence. Cultivate a belief in your potential, visualise yourself as a winner, and your confidence and faith will grow with every step forward.

SELF-CONFIDENCE: Many people live depressing and frustrating lives through low self-esteem and lack of confidence in their abilities. They have no belief in themselves and this often shows itself in shyness in the company of others, especially strangers, and a lack of faith in ones own skills. With the passage of time the victim begins to believe that nothing can be done about this debilitating condition, and this leads to further withdrawal and depression. The good news is that there is help at hand, and the first thing to understand is that you are unique, and there is, and never has been, anyone quite like you. This alone makes you special, and as an individual you have a lot to offer, and can contribute much, not only to your own well being, but to others also if you will make the effort. Instead of looking inwards, fretting over imaginary failings, try to understand others with whom we share this planet. They too have their problems and disappointments, and by extending the hand of friendship you will be making more discoveries and more friends. Self-confidence is not a fixed and static condition in anyone. It will expand if you seize the moment and act, for action is the key to all growth. Do something and your courage will grow, and if on your journey you strive to help others as well, your life will become fuller and more enriched.

MISTAKES AND SETBACKS: Mistakes are part of the natural order of things, and should not be seen as indications of failure. They are a part of the learning process, for real failure only comes when you give up and stop trying. Mistakes are a feedback on how we are progressing, when we are forced to stop and consider where we went wrong. One of the ways you can undermine your own value, and, of course, your chances of success, is by attaching too much importance to a mistake-free existence. Obviously, although we strive to get it right at the first attempt, it is only natural that we will go wrong from time to time. The strange thing is that if you give yourself permission to make mistakes along the way, there is far less stress on you, and there will consequently be fewer mistakes. Just consider, for example, when the early pioneers were trying to develop the motorcar. They made countless mistakes in their calculations and designs before they achieved their goal. If they had just given up in despair, we would still be travelling around on horseback. So, instead of beating ourselves up over our mistakes, we should accept them, learn from them, and use them in the pursuit of our dreams.

DEVELOPING THE WILL TO WIN: So now we are at what is possibly the most crucial stage of all – developing the success mentality, the will to win. First of all we must understand that we possess inner reserves of courage and faith, and talents that we may not already be aware of. We must express these qualities, cultivate them fully, create opportunities, and generate enthusiasm by approaching life with the Do It Now attitude. It is important also that we begin each day with a positive attitude, with a firm belief that with each passing moment we are growing intellectually and spiritually. Step out boldly, walk tall, and look and act the part of the winner. If we really want something bad enough we must be prepared to go and fight for it, and to work day and night for it if necessary. With an attitude like this there will be no setback, no problem that we cannot overcome, and that we are well on the road to becoming a winner.

ACTION: So, before you finish reading this article and throw it aside with the vague promise to yourself that you will get around to it some day, just take a few moments to consider what it will cost you if you let yourself drift helplessly about for the rest of your life. The natural talents and gifts you have will just wither away and die through lack of use, a sad waste of your vast potential. More important still, you will not only be failing yourself, you will be failing your family and friends, those people who love you and look to you for support and guidance. Remember, nothing is more soul destroying than living a life of lost opportunities. The way to success is in your hands alone, so decide right now, this very moment, that this is what you want. A word of caution here however; there are going to be some people around you who will come up with all sorts of reasons why you should not take action. It may be pure jealousy on their part, or misplaced concern for you, but whatever it is you must ignore the prophets of doom and just go for it. When you know clearly what your goals are, and are willing to pay the price for them, in terms of time and dedication, then commit yourself. Make some great plans, set some great goals, and then, most important of all, take action. Just do that, with a burning enthusiasm and determination, and there will be nothing that can stop you from living your dreams.

Finally, do not give it all up in despair if you do not see immediate changes. Like anything else worth fighting for you have to keep slogging away at it, until one fine day you will realise you have accomplished what you set out to do. You have succeeded, and it is a wonderful feeling. Tenacity is the keyword here, the ability, despite the occasional setback, to keep working away at your goal. Releasing yourself from your comfort zone is an exhilarating experience, and what you are about to do will test your powers of determination and faith to the limit. So don’t keep looking for positive results, because like waiting for the kettle to boil it seems to take forever. Never doubt that positive results will come, and by courageously entering new territory like this, by taking that giant step of faith, then most assuredly success and the good life will be yours to enjoy.

Roy Burton

Author's Bio: 

Roy Burton was born in north London, England, and has travelled widely throughout Europe, being currently based on the Isle of Wight, in the United Kingdom. His interest in self-improvement started some years ago when he came upon a powerful self-help book by the British author, Robert J Lumsden. Since then Roy has been a lifelong student and advocate of self-improvement, and has always contended that the quality of our future is in our own hands. Roy has contributed many articles on this subject to various magazines and websites, and welcomes any comments or suggestions.He can be contacted on