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Lack of belief in yourself can be a major factor in your life.

You don’t pursue an ideal career or start your own business because you don’t think you can. You don’t stick to habits because you didn’t really believe you have the discipline. You have a hard time making new friends, don’t assert yourself in the workplace. And don’t push past your comfort zone.

The trick is to learn it’s completely fine to try and fail, to put yourself out there and not be perfect, to say hello to someone and have them not instantly love you, to create something and have people judge you.

Failure, not being perfect, mistakes, not having people agree with you, not being completely accepted: these are not negative things. They’re positive.

How is failure positive? It’s the only way we truly learn. For example, you can read a book on math, but until you try it and fail, you’ll never see where your lack of understanding is. The best way to learn something is to study it a bit, then try it, take practice tests, make mistakes, then learn some more.

How are mistakes positive? They’re little pieces of feedback necessary to grow and learn.

How is being rejected positive? It means your growing beyond the absolutely socially acceptable realm. The best people in history were not socially acceptable: truth-tellers like Socrates, Jesus, Gandhi, Proudhon and Bakunin, Martin Luther King Jr., animal rights philosopher Peter Singer, unschooling pioneer John Holt, women’s rights activists, abolitionists, and many more.

These things we’re afraid of — they’re actually desirable. We need to learn to see them that way, and embrace them, letting go of the fear.

When we can get better at this — which takes a lot of practice — we can start to remove the things that hold us back.

So practice:

  • Push past your discomfort, growing your discomfort method.
  • Put yourself out there, and be OK with not knowing if people will accept you.
  • Stick to a habit, not listening to the negative self-talk that normally holds you back.
  • Stick to it some more, and learn to trust yourself.
  • Go into situations not knowing, and learn to be OK with that.
  • Learn through repeated attempts that it’s OK to fail, that you can be OK in failure.
  • Learn through repeated experiments that you are stronger than you think, that you are more capable and more tolerant of discomfort than you think.

And in this practice, you will find yourself. And realise that you were great all along.