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The Five Emotional Barriers to Success

The Five Emotional Barriers to Success
05 Nov 2016

Over the last few weeks I have discovered one of the pioneers of the concepts that led to the growth and prominence of the self-development industry, Dr Maxwell Maltz. Through his work titled Psycho Cybernetics Dr Maltz emphasizes the importance of the self-image, suggesting that one cannot outperform his/her own self-image. One of the most important aspects of his discoveries was the importance of one developing their own self-image by improving their mental imagery. He suggests using strategies such as Theatre of the Mind and Mental Rehearsal etc to harness the power of mental imagery to reprogram, re-engineer and positively influence one’s self-image. According to Dr Maltz, holding on to a severely weakened and malnourished i.e. negative self-image results in the creation of negative emotional states.

Dr Maltz’s first career as a plastic surgeon entailed repairing people’s physical scars and disfigurements. Some were greatly exaggerated by their owners due to negative mental imagery. This led to his interest in the hidden inner image which is also called the self-image. He quickly became acutely aware that people had emotional scars on their hidden inner images that in most cases were much more serious than anything affecting their visible outer image. Thus, he became very adept in dialogue with patients that led to the recognition of their emotional scars. Many times, people are totally mystified by these ‘black’ emotional which inevitably serve as emotional barriers to peak performance and therefore success in any endeavor. It is often necessary to perform what one might call ’emotional surgery’ to remove these scars and eliminate their effects. In the following section I discuss five key emotional barriers to success as identified by Dr Maltz and the strategies to effectively ‘surgically’ remove these emotional barriers.

  1. Hypersensitivity

    This refers to an individual who takes everything personally and reacts to everything emotionally, who is so thin skinned at the slightest criticism that it sparks angry reactions. It appears that people walk around eager to be offended and they certainly aren’t disappointed. Today’s world is excessively consumed by political correctness and avoidance of embarrassment because people have become so sensitive that a misplaced comment or deed can easily land someone in court. Society is losing its tolerance, flexibility and sense of humor and individuals have an unending sadness and poor productivity because of such hypersensitivity.

    This trick to dealing with this problem is to tell yourself that you are TOO BIG TO BE THREATENED and TOO PURPOSEFUL TO BE SIDETRACKED OR DISTRACTED BY TRIVIA. A strengthened self-image is a shield against real, imagined or exaggerated attacks. It enables one to take in their stride any brush-offs, comments or slights that may have bothered them in the past. This leads to greater self-respect and greater self-respect commands greater respect from others.

    The other way to bullet-proof yourself from negative self-feelings is to be too busy to have them. When you are actively engaged in achieving important goals, little slights and digs become no more bothersome than a fly’s weight to an elephant.

    Whenever you feel like taking something personally ask yourself this important question; AM I BIGGER THAN THIS OR IS THIS BIGER THAN ME

  2. Chronic Dependency

    Chronic dependency is a major cause of unhappiness and frustration. People who feel a compulsion to be liked or accepted and recognized by everybody around them are constantly frustrated. Many people become martyrs as a means of gathering recognition and attention. They are so desperate for the approval and attention of others; they make themselves ill or engage in distractive behaviors. Dr Matlz said,

    “the person who has little or no self-reliance, who feels emotionally dependent upon others makes himself most vulnerable to emotional hurts.”

    Sure, everybody wants to be liked and appreciated, everybody wants their works to be recognized but you must be able to give yourself appreciation and recognition i.e take responsibility for your own emotional well-being.

    One of the techniques you can use is to keep a success and accomplishment diary. Essentially this implies sitting down each end of day checking on your achievements for the day and giving yourself gold starts for what has gone right and noting key learning points to improve in the day ahead. Follow this link to learn more about the End of Day Process

    Remember it’s tough to be a celebrity a home. If you stand around waiting for applause from those around you, you might accumulate cobwebs in a few days.

  3. Resentment

    Politicians use what is called the politics of envy to pit different groups against one another, stirring up jealousy and resentment. Being resentful of anyone who is more successful or healthy or better educated is totally counterproductive. Such resentment is a dead-end street; it cannot create anything but a negative self-image and a gloomy mood. It gets worse when the resentment is held for a long time. When we blame someone else for our circumstances, a spouse or ex-lover or parent, we rarely take physical revenge against them. Instead we simply carry a grudge against them but I have learnt through experience that carrying grudges is heavy lifting. It distracts you from self-improvement for with it on your shoulders you can’t work on achieving goals.

    Forgiveness is the best antidote to resentment. It is indeed a powerful strategy. Dr Maltz wrote that old emotional scars cannot be medicated, they must be completely cut out and given up entirely. Forgiveness is your willingness to cancel the debt without any strings attached and it is magically powerful. Remember success and happiness do not come only to those people who are treated fairly by everybody around them. When you refuse to forgive others for their past mistakes or even present insensitivity you get no revenge against them; you only harm yourself.

    In fact, forgiving others is the ultimate act of selfishness, it benefits you much more than the other party but without it you empower the other person to keep pouring salt on the emotional wounds they created.

  4. Guilt

    Every sinner is a saint and every saint is a sinner. Everybody has skeletons in their closet that they don’t want anybody else to see and would rather not be reminded of them ever again. But when guilt dominates a person’s self-image, it directs the person to a state of constant punishment, over and over again. Guilt is one of the worst of all emotional scars, the hardest of emotional barriers to climb over. I have observed that it seems that we are programmed to use guilt as a justification for unhappiness and suffering. When you are feeling guilty you may look at every problem that arises as appropriate punishment rather than a challenge that you can and should rise above. Feeling good may bring about a tremendous amount of anxiety to a guilt-burdened person.

    Self-forgiveness is one of the incredibly powerful strategies that I have ever come across. You cannot enjoy peace of mind until you have made peace with your past. You cannot outperform the restrictions imposed on yourself as punishment by a guilt-burdened self-image. Self-forgiveness helps to liberate your true personality, talents and abilities and you will be surprised at how much you can accomplish once the resistance of guilt pushing back is removed. Guilt haunted me for several years until I embraced this idea of self-forgiveness. When I finally made peace with myself, it was as if a dam wall had broken in terms success, achievement and fulfillment flowing to me as never before and in terms of a receptive, positive mental attitude toward life.

    SEE YOURSELF WITH KIND EYES, you will inevitably make mistakes but you must rise above your mistakes and use them as inspiration for improvement. No matter what has happened in the past today is a new day and tomorrow is a new opportunity.

  5. Fear

    Fear is a huge emotional barrier to peace performance. Even successful people succumb to fear. Fear is a pure and fundamental emotion and is preprogrammed in the part of the brain called the amygdala. No one has to learn to be afraid but everyone has to update his or her database and learn what new things are frightening. We cannot control what others think of us, we can only control our own behavior but interestingly people are paralysed in all sorts of situations by fears of what others will think of them.

    The best antidote to fear is confidence in your own resiliency. A strong healthy self-image includes the conviction that you can bounce back from any defeat, recover from any mistake, laugh off any embarrassment. Also, remember that you are not your mistakes, you a successful, capable person. If you study many successful entrepreneurs, you will notice that many of them have a bankruptcy in their past. I have come to believe that there is a certain psychological liberty that comes from losing everything and starting over thus realizing that you can rebound and climb the ladder quicker than before. This removes a lot of the fear of making mistakes that paralyses a lot of other people who haven’t gone through the fire and survived.

    My name is Wellington and I seek to share strategies for successful living particularly strategies for mitigating the various risks that we face in life, strategies that would smoothen our journey through life and increase our chances of success. I hope you enjoy this article. Feel free to share with as many of your friends as possible.




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