It’s All In Your Head: 4 of the Biggest Self-Inflicted Obstacles

RL10-20-201When working toward achieving a lofty goal, you’re bound to run into a roadblock or two. However, the most difficult challenges to overcome are often the ones we create for ourselves. Have you ever fallen victim to any of these self-inflicted obstacles?

In a survey conducted by, 64% of employees said they visit websites that are not related to their work every day. Procrastination is a productivity killer and can quickly derail a project if you allow it. And the effects can extend past the office. The Procrastination Research Group of Carleton University found that 46% of people say procrastination has a negative impact on their happiness, and 18% cited an extreme negative impact. And, although procrastination is 100% curable, the treatment requires sufferers to take on some personal accountability by summoning the willpower to focus and get back to work—which can prove to be quite a daunting task for some.

Disorganization is no less destructive today than it was in the 5th century BC when Sun Tzu wrote in The Art of War, “When the general is weak and without authority; when his orders are not clear and distinct; when there are no fixed duties assigned to officers and men, and the ranks are formed in a slovenly haphazard manner, the result is utter disorganization.” If you’re spending more time digging through stacks of paper and random clutter strewn about your workspace than you are spending actually working toward achieving goals, you may be selling yourself and others short. Countless studies have shown that organization is often a key indicator of success. Taking the time in the beginning of a big project to ensure you are thoroughly organized and ready to tackle the problem head on can save much more time along the way.

Stubbornness isn’t necessarily always an obstacle. A decades-long study, published in the journal Developmental Psychology, indicated that stubborn children may have a greater chance of becoming high-achievers later in life than less-stubborn children. However, that doesn’t mean the guiding philosophy of your professional life should be “my way or the highway.” There has to be room for a little give and take. People who let their stubbornness go unchecked to can become a very divisive presence in the workplace that often leads to feelings of resentment from co-workers and a reputation for being impossible to work with. Willingness to consider another point of view is an important characteristic of great leaders and successful teams.

Assumed constraints
According to renowned leadership expert Ken Blanchard “The first skill of a self-leader is to challenge assumed constraints.” Blanchard defines an assumed constraint as, “a belief, based on past experience, that limits current and future experiences.” If you’re basing your actions on what you believe to be true without any empirical evidence to support your assumption, you may be limiting your chances of success. Believe it or not, learning what doesn’t work by stumbling a few times along the way is often an important part of achieving a lofty goal. Thomas Edison is famously quoted as saying “I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work,” during his quest to invent the lightbulb. Let your mind roam free and explore every possibility. You may be surprised by your ingenuity.

What are your biggest self-inflicted obstacles? How do you overcome them? Let us know in the comments section below.

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