What's Holding you Back From Success and What can you do About it?

Does Successful elude you? Is it just bad luck or something much deeper? What about the excuses you make to justify your failures and how do you get past them? As the title asks, What’s holding you back from success and what can you do about it? Read on.

What's holding you back from success imageFree Images / Retrato 2

There was a point in my retirement when I had a hard time accomplishing much of the things I started. When the going got tough, I gave up. I gave up on the very things I thought were important to me. Things like…

  • Learning to play a musical instrument
  • Learning a second language
  • Running a small business
  • Writing and submitting articles to publications

I would get enthused about things I really wanted to do. I would start working to achieve them, but as soon as I started to feel the pressure to succeed, I would stop.

I always had an excuse as to why I couldn’t continue what I had started. Why it wouldn’t work for me.

  • I don’t have the right tools.
  • I don’t have the right equipment.
  • I don’t have the necessary knowledge base.
  • I don’t have the time.
  • I don’t have the money.
  • I don’t have a good memory

There were always plenty of “I don’t haves”. What I did have was a million excuses. They were a huge barrier that seemed impossible to get around.

I began to wonder if using these excuses made me a failure? My rational was no, not at all, because there were obstacles in my way I didn’t feel I could overcome.

It was much easier to stop and cut my losses. Much easier than putting out the effort to try and overcome them. Truth is, I was a failure. I just refused to recognize it or admit it.

Does any of This Sound Familiar?

Why did I fall into this same try and fail pattern almost every time I tried something new?

This happened so many times, the people close to me were beginning to roll their eyes whenever they heard I was trying something new. I needed to turn things around.

I started searching for answers. Here’s what I found out.

It turns out I’m not alone.

Turns out this is not a problem that’s unique to me. Excuses have been around since Adam blamed Eve for making him take a bite of that apple. It was a pretty flimsy excuse, but hey, it was the very first one. We’ve come a long way at perfecting the art of the excuse since then.

Being brought to a standstill because we think we don’t have what we need to accomplish our goals is a flimsy excuse at best. In this day and age of computers and the internet, any information can be discovered with the stroke of a few keys.

Anything can be learned through online classes, courses and even YouTube. Most Community Colleges offer adult night or online classes in all sorts of topics.

If you’re hooked up to the internet, finding answers and overcoming obstacles shouldn’t be a problem. If that’s the case, why do so many of us give up when we hit a rough spot or a dip in the road?

A large percentage of the reason has to do with our minds and the way we think. From the very start, many of us don’t think things through before we jump into the water with both feet. We should have at least gathered some basic information before we moved forward. Information like…

  • Is this something I’m deeply interested in or is it a passing fancy?
  • Can I or should I turn my hobby into a business or should I leave it as nothing more than a hobby?
  • Is the market already saturated?
  • Do I have the tools and skills to accomplish this or do I need to learn them first?

Just thinking through a few basic questions like these would cause many of us to recognize the obstacles that could block our path to success. This alone would help us avoid bad decisions from the very start.

What if we took the time and effort to think things through, decided to go ahead with our plans, and down the road still came up with excuses? It’s because we still have a mind problem. Our lizard brain got in the way.

Lizard brain? Let me explain


The beginning of the end usually starts with stress. Starting something new has a learning curve to it. Sometimes it can be long and steep. Competition could be more than expected and if you’re trying to run a business, making a profit may turn out to be harder than you thought.

If your stress is constant and you never get a break from it, it will become chronic. Once that happens, your sympathetic, fight or flight nervous system is switched on.

Now you’ll find yourself over focusing on perceived problems. These are “problems” that don’t actually exist. You only think they do because your amygdala, also known as your lizard brain, wants you to believe they do.

Your amygdala is the part of your brain associated with fear anxiety and stress. It wants you to cut and run. It wants to bring you back to safe and familiar surroundings. These perceived problems cause your stress hormones to overproduce.

Stress hormones create emotions such as fear, anger, insecurity, frustration and doubt. They cause you to experience such things as sadness, helplessness and depression.

As long as you are in chronic stress mode, you’re on a downward spiral. As hard as you might try, you can’t push your way through these emotions because your brain is more focused on survival than on reality.

You are now operating on a mentally low energy level which affects your decision making ability.

What usually happens is your mind starts to chatter. It throws you into a fear and doubt mode. You start coming up with excuses that will get you out of the the situation you’ve gotten yourself in and bring you back to calm and safety. You begin to panic.

For some, panic means giving up. It’s the easy way out. Giving up on what it was that put you in this stressful situation is the response of choice. And it works every time.

What can you do about this?

The most important thing you can do is to keep yourself from getting stressed. You need to keep your energy levels high so you can think clearly, make rational decisions and keep your mind from chattering. There are several ways to go about doing this.

Realize you are not in a competition.

Stay focused on the things you need to do to succeed, not on what others are doing to succeed. For all you know, their decisions may have them operating at a high stress level. They may be ready to crash and burn at any time.

It’s best to stay focused on your own game plan and not put yourself in a stressful situation worrying about how or what others are doing. The fact that they might be doing better than you shouldn’t be your concern.

Work through issues as they come up.

Don’t go into panic mode when you hit a rough patch. Don’t try to force your way through it. Go slow and use the power of a clear and calm mind to find appropriate solutions. They are there to be discovered if you give them a chance to show themselves.

Take a break

Rest and rejuvenate. You need to bring high stress levels down as soon as possible. Take breaks and get your mind off of your work. Get a good nights sleep. Take days off. Label them as “Mental Health” days because that’s exactly what they are. Be sure to use them.

Start your day by raising your energy level with meditation and exercise.

Try Meditation

Meditation is not a religion, it’s an ancient practice used to help you remain alert and in a state of calmness. It can help you improve or change your mindset.

Meditation relaxes your mind, relieves stress and raises your energy level. It helps you think clearly and may also show you the best ways to proceed with your endeavor.

The practice of meditation is not reserved for Yogi’s and Monk’s. Anyone can benefit from this ancient practice. Don’t dismiss it out of hand.


Exercise has many benefits. It raises your blood oxygen levels and helps you think clearly. It helps to keep your body fit and healthy. It also works to relieve stress.

If you can’t or don’t want to do strenuous exercise, give low-impact exercises a try. You can try yoga or go for a brisk walk. Walking is extremely healthy, especially if you sit a lot during the day.

Stay Positive

Keeping a positive mindset will keep you moving forward. Negativity is a mindset that will suck the life out of whatever it is you are trying to achieve. It will fuel your stress level and feed your lizard brain. When you do hear that brain chatter, you will be in a much better position to dismiss it and move on with confidence.


You can do anything you put your mind to.

The science of Quantum Physics continues to reveal how true this statement really is.

In this day and age, you can no longer get away with making feeble excuses. It’s much more difficult to fail at the things you really want to accomplish.

The value of the internet is that it will guide you to those things that can teach you what you want to know.

There really are no more excuses. There are only solutions to be discovered, both physically and mentally. Take the time and invest your energy to find and learn how to use those solutions. Put them into practice and a Successful Retirement Lifestyle will no longer elude you.

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