Tag Archives: life goals

Things you do to not achieve your goals

Probably you have a bunch of dreams that you wish to come true and probably you’ve set up your goals while ago. But months, years passing and you are not even near there. Why is that? Why, despite the huge ambitions and even bigger resolutions, you are still in the place you don’t want to be? Why do you still feel like you are sitting on the bench during the match of your life? It’s not because you’re too lazy or too stupid. It’s because you’re doing too many things that drive you away from the goal.

Stop talking and start doing

People talks, people love taking and this is ok. The problem is that in most cases they talk more than they do. I have a friend who always says action, not talking. And this is the essence of what you have to hold onto to get something valid in your life.

I know many people who love to talk about their achievements, even if a bigger part of those exist only in their heads, or on social media bio. You know, athletes with obesity, writers without a book or businessmen without a business. They live a success that has not yet happened.

People sometimes deceive themselves to feel better or add a certain “surplus” to their lives to improve their image in the eyes of themselves and others. They telling you that they work on some big business project, but in fact, they just scrolling through Forbes articles all day. They’re telling you how amazing their new business website will look, but the only thing they manage to do is upload another selfie on Instagram.

What things you’re doing to not achieve your goals?

Lots of these issues come to motivation, but you know – motivation directed in the wrong way. Because sometimes you can be more motivated to eat a cake than to do yoga, am I right?

Look at your average day, everything you do and spend your time on. What are the things you are not doing to get a dream job, more money or a better relationship?

Achieving your goals will be very difficult until you define that one thing: what drives you towards the goal and what pulls you in a different direction.

Why doesn’t anything change?

You get in your life what you focus on. Fulfilling yourself is difficult when your attention is drawn to the things that stand in the way of achieving your goal.

Sometimes you can avoid doing certain things because you are scared; you scared of the outcome, you’re afraid it won’t come out the way you want it to. When I’m right before ending a writing project I’m terrified that I will blow it. So I start to cook dumplings or learn to bake a cake, which I never normally do. Just to avoid doing the right thing, because I’m afraid it won’t turn out the way it should.

You see my point here. If I want to be a writer, I must focus on writing, not training my culinary skills. This applies to all of us. If you dream of a specific goal, do what will bring you closer to it, not distance it.

What you don’t do to achieve your goal is all that involves sabotaging yourself. It’s your lack of persistence and effort avoidance. Everything you neglect and put aside. All the days that you say, “I’ll start tomorrow”.

Things you need to give up to be successful

Success is not accidental, it is the result of our actions, decisions, our attitude.


The definition of success varies from person to person, and that’s cool because none of us wants to be a tailor-made product of society, right? It seems so, but this spectre of a specific success recognized by society (and defined primarily in terms of financial achievements and social recognition) hangs over our heads. So before you think how to be successful in life, define what your success should be. Once it is clear you can start taking first, small steps towards it.

In pursuit of success, it is not just what we have to do that matters, but what we have to stop doing.

Steps to success including getting rid of many things in your life. What things? Keep scrolling to unveil my take on this matter, and give up on:

1. Excuses

Sound simple, but trust me – it’s not so simple to get out of this maze whose walls are built of I can’t, I’m too old, I’m too tired, I’m too fat, I’m too introvert, I’m too ugly, It’s too late or too cold…Have you happened to be there too? Of course, who hasn’t? This maze is like giant Disneyland but instead of cute princesses is populated with different figures: odd personifications of our fear, anger, and doubt. It’s a scary place to be.

It can be painful to get out of this maze, but it’s only temporary pain. Leaving your comfort zone is never fun. Once you cross out all I can’t and I’m too… from your dictionary, things will slowly start to fall into place.

So what is your worst excuse?

2. Unhealthy habits

Habits shape our lives, and good habits are the secret of a good life. To fully use our potential and achieve the life we want, we must get rid of what is in our way. Eating junk food, not getting enough sleep, overeating does not serve anyone, but unhealthy habits can be anything. For some, watching TV series can be a great inspiration, while for others it will be just a waste of time that does not bring anything good. You know what’s bad for you, don’t you? So start to replace all bad habits by those that will help you achieve what you want.

3. Envy

It is a feeling that plunges us into the depths of sadness, hopelessness and low self-esteem. It also hurts a lot and usually brings other negative emotions behind it, because when we feel envious, we are very ashamed of it. And yet it is very human to feel it. Envy, as Carlos Ruíz Zafón once wrote, is a blind man who wants to pierce your eyes.

Envy is always born of lack. It comes from a place of big sadness where is dark and cold, where our needs are neglected. Envy is looking at fulfilled people while carrying emptiness within ourselves. It’s worst than that because it causing this urge to spread this emptiness on all other people. We want them to lose whatever they have, so we won’t feel like the only ones not having it.

If you ever experience this dreadful feeling the best way thing to do is to stop comparing yourself to others (and yes, I know it can be a long process for many of us). Focus on yourself. Only yourself and your vision of your life. Other people are only a distracting background.

4. Toxic people

You don’t want to have them around you, because it is so easy to sink in into any negativity carried by others. The people around you have a big influence on your behaviour and approach to life. So surround yourself with people you admire, with whom you share the same values, and who support you at all times. If that means that you have to cut some relationships in your life – just do it. I’ve done it many times. There’s no point to stay in some fake friendship just because you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.

That was only four, but really important four things that I think it is worth to just get rid off. No hard feeling, no regrets. Just ditch it and make room for something wonderful in your life.

Want to read more about this topic? Try here.

Three things that will help you get a life you want

Do you sometimes get the feeling that you are not keeping up with everything that is said in the world of great self-development? So many tactics, so many strategies and coaching programmes out there, that it is becoming overwhelming. The truth is that we all want better lives, so we are trying and trying, we are putting ourselves in some mind wrecking theories or woo-woo practices. But I tell you one thing; you can make significant changes in your life without reading each book on how to be happy, or without ten years of therapy with a Zen master. And it doesn’t matter if you are at the beginning your self-development trip, or you already walked a few miles this road. There are three things that you have to realise to achieve what you want in life. Interested? Please, be my guest.

I. There are two kinds of mindset; fixed and growth, and you better own the second one.

When you admire successful people it is not easy to escape the thought that all they have achieved is due to their innate talent. Admit how often you look at your favourite writers, musicians, singers and think, “I wish I had their skills, their talents, then I could do what they do.” Well, the truth is, talent isn’t everything. Sure, each of us is born with a certain set of innate flairs, but practically every success is based on work and practice. 

People with a growth mindset believe that during their life they can change, evolve and learn; that they’re not a finished ‘product’, the characteristics of which are fixed once and for all. And this approach makes achieving whatever thing they want possible. 

On the flipside, people with a fixed mindset stick to what they believe about themselves and never change their mind. If they were shy in the second grade or felt that they were not fit to be scientists (because one bitter teacher said so), they carry this image of themselves all their lives. They don’t believe that they can change anything about their personality and skills. How wrong they are!

The truth is that we, as human beings, are so flexible both in terms of our physicality, mental and character traits. By working on ourselves, on the qualities that we want to develop in ourselves, we can achieve amazing results. 

I’m not saying that everyone can be anyone, but everyone can become a better self.

By cultivating a growth mindset you can get closer to your goals and dreams faster than you think.

So, answer to yourself: What is the thing or a feature that you admire in others, but you don’t believe that you could own it? Is it confidence, ability to sing, or play an instrument? Or maybe the skill to design cool clothes, or write an interesting blog? The good news is that you can learn it all! Both skills and personality traits can change as we work on them. 

II. Acknowledge your limiting believes

Our mind works like a program. This human software is full of useful things as well as outdated applications and viruses that inhabit our proper functioning. The most tricky part of it is that very often we are not aware of these software bugs.

These are beliefs so deeply rooted in our subconscious mind that we perceive them as something natural, part of ourselves. But they’re nothing more than boundaries and limitations that holds you from a wonderful life you could have. They concern every sphere of life: finances, sexuality, self-worth, self-image as well as the more abstract concepts we create about ourselves. 

For instance, one of my limiting beliefs is ( I wish to write was, but can’t do it yet) the one that I am too old and don’t have enough time to achieve all intended goals. I have that feeling that I’m running out of time, getting older and older and there are still so many things that I can’t do. The other one is that I am too shy. Now, I do realise that my behaviour depends on so many aspects and I can be an outgoing and confident person. Yes, I know I can, yet this mean whisper in my head is still there. Is this voice the voice of my parents who kept saying she is shy?

So how to overcome limiting believes?

First, you need to recognize them and it usually takes a lot of time and a lot of staring inside yourself. But that’s the basis of the work you can do to eliminate them. Once you know your limiting believe start to be aware of it in everyday situations. Begin to catch them in your thoughts and behaviour. Then strongly contradict them – with your words and behaviour. Stand up to them, show yourself that they are not real, that you choose what you want to believe about yourself.

Let me use a simple example here:

Limiting belief: I am not good around people.

Recognizing in behaviour: shadowing during a group conversation at a party

Overcoming: 

1. Remember a situation where you could get along with people – friends, parents, siblings. Now, you see – it’s not true that you are always not good around people.

 2. Join the talk, even if you feel uncomfortable at first. Don’t bother with a sublime conversation – just throw one sentence on the topic, praise someone’s opinion, ask something.

III. You ALWAYS have a choice

This is very important, so stop here for a longer time. No matter what happens to you, no matter what the circumstances of your life, you always have a choice. Choice how you will react.

How we react to what happens in our life is our choice.

You can’t choose the social and background you were born into, but you can choose your reaction to possible judgment or even racism.

You can’t choose an economical background where you grew up, but you can choose to do whatever it takes to earn big money.

You can’t choose how people will treat you, but you can choose to forgive.

You can’t choose what bad happened to you, but you can choose how to live now.

It’s not a choice when some trauma has caused emotional havoc on you, but you can choose to not use drugs and alcohol to deal with it. 

When you realize that so many things are a matter of your own choice, you will feel that you are in control of what happens in your life. 

I strongly believe that working on these three things can bring amazing positive changes to everyone’s life. Starting from working on the cultivation of growth mindset, limiting beliefs and our own choices, we get closer to the place where we want to be. Our happy place.

Your reason for being

In Mann’s “Magic Mountain” young Hans looks at the family memento on which the names of his ancestors are engraved: father, grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather and so on…His mind is slipping out of the present. Time acquires a different dimension, more tangible, yet fleeting. This is the essence of our being – we are like bubbles appearing on the surface of boiling water only for a short moment; we disappear quickly, but are we really? After all, we are making up this boiling water.

We are part of something bigger, something that we cannot comprehend

Our life depends on what meaning we give to it. We are only a tiny part of the universe, but each mechanism is made up of small parts that interact with each other. Every particle matters.

What is your reason for being?

During your life, you change, grow up, learn, evolve. It is not uncommon that you are completely reinventing yourself at some point. Sometimes it may seem that you are completely different than you were years ago. That’s good. It just means your journey continues.

You don't have to be a fully formed individual by reaching some age defined by social standards. Forget about it. You are closest to the essence of reality and your purpose as you grow, develop and change.

That’s why it’s so important to look inside yourself.

I’ve always partially known why I was here, in this world. Which does not mean that I was doing anything in that direction. Because sometimes, even if you have glimpses of what you would like to do with your great goal, you are scared, insecure, and full of doubts.

So you procrastinate, you tell yourself that you are not ready yet (ha! you never will), you wait until you become better, more experienced, perfect. You are paralyzed by how other people perceive the thing you want to do. And so years go by and it’s getting harder and harder to get started.

I knew my purpose (well, a bigger part of it) a long time ago. It took me many years to do anything to orient my life in a direction that I wanted for myself.

I was afraid that I will suck at it.

But I’ll tell you one thing – don’t be afraid to suck. We all do sometimes. I think one of the greatest life skills is to know how to deal with rejection.

One of the most widely read writers of our time, Stephen King has often talked about how his work was rejected by publishing houses and magazines. He hung each refusal on a nail on the wall at his desk and continued to work. When asked for advice on how to finally achieve success, he said: You need a bigger nail.

Because success is a bigger process and refusal is a part of this process.

Try to find that sacred place within yourself, a place where divine part of Universe whispers to you in a language you understand only. While listening to that voice, start doing your part. Even if sometimes you will suck at it. This is the way of things – you learn all the time. At some point, this suckiness will turn into something miraculous.

Take control of your mind

Your brain has approximately 100 billion neurons, and every each of them can create synapses witch 10 thousand, thereby creating a complex network. Neurons pick up, send out, and process electrical impulses, such as your thoughts. According to latest research led by Jordan Poppenk of Quinn’s University in Canada, an average person has 6200 thoughts per day. * What does it mean for your life what these thoughts are? Everything.

The human brain is an incredible and powerful, yet ambiguous tool. The great thing about it is that we can learn to use it to achieve what we want. How to do it? By learning to control the mind. At this point, I want to indicate that brain and mind are not the same things. In short, we can say that the mind is part of what the brain does; it is related to perception, thinking, self-awareness, as well as other unknown processes. 

Picture by Tabitha Turner

We can distinguish two modes in which our brain works: automatic and direct. In a direct mode, we are aware of what we think or do, while the automatic mode is responsible for all habitual activities. This isn’t just about automatic actions like using the right or left hand, brushing teeth or driving a car; here we are dealing with thinking patterns, and this is why it is so important to set up a “thoughts filter”

You are what are you thinking

Recognizing and working on changing negative thoughts patterns is the first step you need to take if you want to develop, heal or simply improve the quality of your life. 

Life isn’t comfortable if your thoughts are filled with fear, doubt, sadness, hate, or jealousy. It’s not easy to make your dreams come true when there’s a little saboteur in your head who whispers you can’t make it, you don’t deserve it, you’re worse, you’re too stupid, too ugly, too fat, too thin, too old, too poor…Most of us had to deal with these unpleasant promptings at one time. But how to deal with it in the long run? 

How to develop the skill of cultivating a positive mind? 

Have you ever decide that you want to adopt a dog – let’s say a German Shepherd – and then you see this species everywhere? It’s not a coincidence – this is how reticular activating system works. RAS is a group of nerves at our brainstem that filters out unnecessary information, so the important ones gets through. It ‘sieves’ the world through the parameters you give it. In the same way, it seeks information that validates your beliefs. RAS connect subconscious part of our brain with the conscious part. To put it simply – you are getting what you focus on. 

I wrote more about how our consciousness and subconsciousness are part of something bigger here: https://wholeworldinmyhead.com/2020/06/04/can-understanding-quantum-physics-help-you-create-your-dream-life/

Set your intent and visualize

“When the phenomenon of the universe is seen as linked together by cause and effect and energy transfer, the resulting picture is of a complexly branching and interconnecting chain of events(…)” 2 If you are channelling your conscious energy towards a specific goal, RAS focuses on that goal. 

It is incredible that in this scientifically backed up theory, we can find reflections of many ancient beliefs. Buddha himself said: “All that we are is a result of what we have thought.”

There are many techniques of visualizations that you can adopt for yourself. I would recommend that in whatever way you set up your “mental movie”, try to to do it regularly and always involve emotions in the process. Try to feel what you would feel if you really were in the situation you imagine. While you are creating this image, experience it as if you were living it yourself at the moment. 

Create that vision in your mind that will give you real feelings and ignite your desire.

Why don’t you try it yourself? Take control of the powerful tool that your mind is; filter your thoughts, be aware of them, and set time every day to visualize. You will be surprised how much your life can change. 

You can read more about the issue of positive thinking in achieving goals here https://wholeworldinmyhead.com/2020/04/05/how-positive-thinking-leads-to-success/

1 ‘Discovery of ‘thought worms’ opens window to the mind’. Queen’s Gazette, July 2020

2 ‘Steps to an Ecology of Mind by Gregory Bateson’ (Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, Inc. 1972).

Don’t put your life on hold

My granny had a whole wardrobe filled with dresses for special occasions. I’ve never seen her wearing any of them. They hung useless, collecting dust and going out of style. Like dreams that we put off for later.

Daily routine is 90% of our life; special occasions are only a fraction.

There is nothing more disastrous than seeing life as a series of special events separated by time that does not matter. After all, this time that fills the gaps between important occasions is all we have. So why do we neglect it?

Postponing life for later manifests itself on many levels;
perfumes that we consider too expensive to use everyday. Clothes that we don’t want to wear daily because we don’t want to wear them out (as if they were more important than our joy of wearing them). The favourite restaurant we only go to on one occasion, or this bottle of super-pricey wine that has been dusting on the shelf for months because it’s a pity to open it. Or those dreamed holidays that we put off for “a better time”. But there will be no better time – if you don’t make an effort to make present moment great, the future will be a sloppy too. The only thing that will change is that you get older and maybe you won’t want anything anymore.

Celebrating life is about appreciating every moment – whether it will be special depends only on us, on our attitude.

This approach makes life a constant waiting for something better. But life happens here and now. Whatever happen today won’t happen in the future. We will never be in the same circumstances again, and we will never have the energy and state of mind we have now. Unused opportunities will never come back to us.

Notice how often you are waiting for something to happen or for something to change. You can grow old in this waiting. Instead of waiting for special moments, make every day special as often as possible.

Let today be a special occasion

You can create special occasions without waiting for anything from the outside. It can be something as bland as the tradition of pancake Saturday mornings, or a monthly celebration of your relationship or friendship. Put on your favourite blouse, drink coffee from this antique china that you keep locked behind the glass case, order this delicious cake today even if it’s not your birthday. Enjoy your life, man!

You are the creator of your reality, and it is only up to you what rank you give to the events that happen in it.

Change the mindset that blocks you

Almost everything starts in your head. To put it simply, what you think and the way you think creates your reality. It seems easy, right? Unfortunately, controlling your mind is not so obvious. For so often, we fall into the ‘traps of thinking’ that we set ourselves. 

To recognize this process it’s important to observe yourself; your thoughts and reactions. Only by knowing yourself you can catch and change this unhealthy approach to reality. I will present here some common thought patterns that are harmful. I wonder, can you recognize yourself among these ways of thinking?

Photo by Shea Rouda on Unsplash

What is blocking us?

  1. Thinking that you’re not suitable

I’m talking here about this cold feeling of being unworthy and not good enough for something. We have often been told that the world is so structured that there is not enough for everyone. Well, I believe that in life, you get what you have the courage to ask for. And to ask for it, you have to say goodbye to “it’s not for me” thinking pattern.

We are all different; that’s a fact. We all have diverse social and cultural backgrounds, different experiences, different skills. However, we cannot let ourselves be persuaded that we are unfit for something because we are inferior. Or poorer. Or too old. 

External circumstances cannot decide who you are on the inside.

We may struggle with the social and economic situation; some of us may have mental health problems – but this should not affect how we perceive ourselves (in the sense of how we value ourselves). If you believe that you are not worthy of something – you won’t be worthy. Start treating yourself as if you deserve everything you dream about – because it is so. Start from your thoughts – if you are important to yourself, this is how you will become for the world.

2. Thinking that mistakes are the failure and that failing makes you a looser

Failure only exists if you let it. Otherwise, there are only lessons. If you learned something from error or failure, it was not a failure at all. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Forgive yourself for mistakes. And do your best to learn from them for the future. 

3. Equating success with happiness

We could write endless dissertations about happiness. This is an elusive and difficult to define concept. However, when you define it for yourself, remember one thing – do not equate happiness with success. These are two different things. Completely separate.

Making happiness dependent on success can lead you astray. Because often when we reach it, we do not feel fulfilled, either happier. Happiness begins inside of us. Not outside. 

You can be happy working on your success. You don’t have to wait for it to come true, you can feel it along the way.

What is true happiness for you? Can you find it among small everyday things, or you need that thrill of great success to allow yourself to be happy? Can you tell the difference between those two terms: happiness and success? Name it, write it, remember it.

4.Thinking that your worth depends on your accomplishments or productivity

This is the most difficult one for me, as I’m still trying to escape the feeling of uselessness. I often get overwhelmed with projects for which I don’t have time, probably to make up for this numbing feeling. The more I do, the more important I feel. How illusory that is!

The truth is that you can be the most creative person in the world, and yet sometimes you don’t do anything. And that’s okay. The problem starts when you stop feeling worthy straight away.

The value of a human does not lie in how much he can achieve, create, learn. It lies in what a person you are. No achievement is more important than a good, compassionate heart.

Interested in details? You can read more about it here: Do you also fall into the productivity trap?

5. Taking life as a contest

If you’re one of those with a competitive mindset, you know how much stress it brings. Life is not a contest, and you don’t have to be perfect in everything. 

Does it really matter so much whether you do something for a 100% or a 86%?

If you are working on something, do your best but don’t beat yourself up. You can’t always be the best, but you can always be good at something. This applies to every sphere of life – perfectionism is a devastating poison.

Trust me, there is no eternal score board where you can fight for the first place, there is no podium. Nobody is sitting and waiting to judge how you did. If you feel the urge to be the best at everything and outperform everyone else, the problem is probably with you. It would be good if you believed that you don’t have to prove anything to anyone.

Fighting this kind of thinking is arduous if it has bit deeply into us. However, we can change this by working on ourselves step by step. By watching ourselves and make small changes daily. When we know what’s blocking us, it’s easier to free ourselves from it.

Allow yourself to change

One of the most significant things I realized in my adult life is that change is an indispensable part of everything, and you have to like it, or at least make peace with it, if you want to keep peace of mind. There’s only one thing certain in life – a change.

Opening up to change set you free.

We don’t like changes because we like the comfort of steady situations. We like it so much that this zone of comfort very often becomes our wall-free prison. As is the case with prisons, they do not allow for development and true freedom, even if their walls are made of fear and insecurity instead of bricks.

I’ve never liked changes myself. Watching how the world becomes a different place made me feel uneasy. Back then, If I only could, I would stop the time and live forever in the same surroundings and with the same people. The changes were so unpleasant for me that it was even obnoxious that my best friend dyed her hair from black to blonde. Probably for the same reason, I have worn the same looking black clothes for years. I think it has to do with the fear of passing away; but whatever we do, we won’t stop time. There are things that we will not change and which we have control over – it is a great relief to accept it. Being ok with the fact that we can’t control everything is freeing – sometimes we have to surrender to what the Universe brings to us.

It’s never too late

Sometimes we get so used to the role we play that it seems impossible to change. We create a picture of ourselves and stick to it for years. And yet we are changing with the world as well. I am not the same person as I was five, ten or fifteen years ago.

I am talking not only about everything that shaped our personality (because we can change it too!) but also about the choices that influenced where we are now.

I’ve made many decisions in my life; not all of them were right. Even when it comes to my professional career, I tried many things to quit and move on to something else after a while. Often it did not find approval of all my relatives, because according to most people, we should stick to a decision once made. As if evolving was inappropriate.

I studied literature and polish language, knowing I didn’t want to be a teacher. So I signed up for the journalism faculty. After my MA in Journalism and PR, I felt that I didn’t want to be a journalist at all. After that, I was doing a computer graphics course, but it didn’t appeal to me too much. Then I got caught up in the world of makeup, and then there was herbalism…even if today I do not want to develop further in these directions, each of these things gave me irreplaceable experience and knowledge. Who knows who I would be without it. It is possible that if I had not made changes, today I would be an unhappy Polish language teacher.

Each change takes time, but time will pass anyway, so don’t think that is too late for a change. Don’t think in terms of deficiency – that you are too old, too little gifted. If we assume that on average we need about five years to achieve a master level in something, then in one life we can make such significant changes at least several times.

There is nothing sadder than burying your dreams when you are middle-aged, with so many of empty years ahead of you.

What I want to say is that you don’t have to stay in one place if you feel you would be happier somewhere else. If you have been drawing your life with a red crayon so far, reach for the blue one if you want your future to be different than what you have so far! And never feel guilty about it!

Do you suffer from excessive ambition?

Ambition can give meaning to life, but it can also take it away. It can add wings as much as it can clip them. How can we recognize if our driving ambition can be fatal? First, we need to know what drives our action.

Latin “ambitio” means a desire for recognition. We associate it with the desire to achieve success, goals, and development. And in fact, ambition is what motivates us, what makes us want more from life.

Photo by Fuu J on Unsplash
Photo by Fuu J on Unsplash

When does ambition start to be a problem?

When, despite the achieved goals, we still feel empty and unsatisfied, and we try to fill this void inside us with something from the outside – e.g. with recognition or splendour.

Excessive ambition is usually caused by comparing ourselves to others and wanting to prove that we are better or at least equally valuable. It is low self-esteem that makes us continuously prove something – to ourselves and others.

Timothy Judge, professor of management at the American University of Notre Dame, states in his research that

“(…) ambition was positively but weakly related to life satisfaction, there may also be negative consequences of ambition for individuals when a variety of dimensions of satisfaction are considered.” *

Psychology distinguishes three types of “I” – “real self”, “ought self” and “ideal self”. The imbalance in our interior leads to the growth of excessive expectations. Tory Higgins’ research has shown that the more discrepancies between them, the more problems. The divergence between the “real self” and the “ideal self” can lead to sadness, depression and burnout. On the other hand, the discrepancies between the “real self” and the “ought self” lead to shame, anxiety and fears.

It is an imbalance in our interior that leads to the growth of excessive expectations – to toxic ambition.

In its extreme form, ambition can be destructive. According to psychologist Sheri Johnson, excessive ambition is associated with the risk of bipolar disorder and narcissistic personality disorder.

Indeed, I can see this pattern among my friends or co-workers. I can see a lot of it in myself -the pursuit of the unsurpassed ideal. So many people broke their lives because their bar was set too high. You know this type of people – they are the ones who say “all or nothing”. If something spectacular was not achieved, they treated it 100% as a failure. And yet from 100% to 0%, there is a series of ninety-nine digits …Is the result not the highest, but on a level above average, also a loss? For many people, it is. And this is what we call a sick ambition. Great results, although far from perfect, do not satisfy them in the least. It’s like those kids at school who cry because they got A and not A +.

Excessive ambition is a way of dealing with complexes through overcompensation. We feel worthy only when we achieve something big.

The best solution to overcome the havoc caused by excessive ambition is to look inside yourself and cultivate who you are. At the opposite pole of sick ambition lies gratitude and self-acceptance. This is where you should direct your thoughts. It is also responding to internal motivation. Only what flows from within can fulfil ourselves. Only desire from within makes us strive in the direction we set for ourselves, not looking at external acceptance.

Each of us is different, and each of us has a different internal mission. Only we can answer what this mission is. So what you choose – the pursuit of recognition, or maybe something truer?

* (On the Value of Aiming High: The Causes and Consequences of Ambition )

You won’t get anywhere if you don’t know direction

I know a lot of people who are driven by a desire for success. Most of them, however, can’t even define what success means to them. It’s like the biggest priority in life, but they can’t even describe it. I’ve heard so many times people saying things like “I need to achieve something”, or ” I want to be someone”. Well, the first thing on your way to achieving your goals is to determine what you actually want.

What is the success you want?

Success is a very tricky word, and sometimes I feel that would be favourable if we could redefine it for ourselves. Success is something different for every human being because our inner structures are different from each other. Unfortunately, the stereotype that success is related to money, social standing and power still linger. But it doesn't have to be that way. 

People don’t know what they want. They follow dreams of others; they fall into traps settled by social expectations or expectations of their loved ones. They are chasing a pattern of success set by other people, so even if they finally achieve it, they don’t feel happy neither fulfilled.

There is a reason for every one of us to be on this world. Fulfilling a person’s mission does not have to involve momentous things. Something that the world will not hear can also be a great success. Let’s not seek recognition in the eyes of other people, because everything we need to be happy is hidden deep within us. Let’s just look inside ourselves more often.

I had a friend who was obsessed with “achieving something”. I mean, she wanted social recognition so badly, that at some point it ceased to be important how would she achieve it. She struggled between opening ill-considered blogs and the Instagram pages where she wanted to become famous. Nothing worked as she wished. Why? After all, she was determined to be successful. Well, there was no direction in her chaotic activities. There was no vision.

Without vision, there is nothing.

As Stephen Covey wrote in his best-selling book, you need to begin with the end in mind. You need to have a vision which will influence your thoughts and actions. Knowing the direction in which you are going makes it easier to determine the itinerary.

Only specific actions aimed at specific goals can bring the intended effect. Otherwise, it is only drifting, bouncing off the banks.

Once we define our personal journey, we must realize that everything depends on us, on our proactivity. We must not fall behind in the phase of dreams and plans; we must take the first step, then the next and another.

It’s not enough to tell yourself – I want to be successful in life. You need to clearly define what this success supposed to be.

If you are struggling to define your vision, take it easy. The tension has never helped anyone. Start by reflecting on all the things you enjoy doing. Make a list of those things and a list of the things you dislike. Think about what makes you happy, what makes you want to get out of bed in the morning. Take a close look at your emotions. This is an excellent start to building the foundations of what you want to base your life on.

If you have a vision of your life, it defines you and your actions. Knowing where you are going makes you surely get there.

Know what you want.

Do it.

Feel great about it.