Added On: Sunday, November 04, 2007

Breaking down the walls in your mind

When I was younger, I used to be terrible at starting conversations with strangers. This was true even when they were reasonably familiar. There might be somebody who sat next to me every day in class and who I thought looked interesting, but I just couldn't bring myself to talk to them. Even if I really wanted to, I just couldn't do it.

When I think back to what would happen, it was like there was kind of wall inside my mind. No matter how much I wanted to, the wall just pushed back against me and prevented me going any further. Much easier was to make all sorts of excuses and justifications to rationalize why I couldn't do what I wanted to.

"They're probably not that nice anyway," I'd think. "Who needs to talk to them anyway."

I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. I'm pretty sure everyone has similar "walls" inside their own minds which they refuse to scale. Perhaps they can't leave a job they want to, or speak in public, or negotiate, or complain. Whatever it is, we all seem to be born with quite a few internal limitations.

A big part of the process of growing as a person involves demolishing these walls. Even if it means taking them down brick by brick, this is the way to grow your personality and your abilities. Here's how to do it.

The first step is to admit to yourself that the wall is there in the first place. You probably already know it anyway, even if you're in denial. Look for situations where you know you should do something - you know you should proceed - yet you just can't. You get stuck - crippled and helpless.

Next, examine that situation. What is it that makes you freeze up like that? Is it fear? Anger? Hurt? Why can't you continue when you know you should?

Once you've identified and understood the obstacle, make it a project to remove it. Realize that it isn't going to be a "quick-fix", but instead a long-term project. Sometimes, it can take years to break down the wall completely. But don't despair, you'll notice real progress within yourself as you advance.

Start deliberately putting yourself into situations where you will face your inner-obstacle. You can try fairly easy ones at first. For example, if you're afraid of public speaking, try to present something to a small group. But remember to keep challenging yourself. As you become used to overcoming the easy obstacles, keep raising the bar.

Push against that psychological wall and push against it. Bring the sucker tumbling down.

Of course, occasionally you'll suffer setbacks in trying to beat it. You'll feel it's all too hard and you can't go on. Rest a little, pull yourself back together, and try again.

This is the way to grow your character and turn yourself into a stronger person.


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