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Traits That Lead to Self-Defeat -- and How to Defeat Them

Lisa Nichols


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Oftentimes, the biggest obstacle to achieving success in life and love is the feeling of self-defeat. We’ve all had our lives impacted by feelings of self-defeat. How we face self-defeat is the determining factor in overcoming it. Self-defeat has harmful consequences if not addressed, as people with perceived feelings of inadequacies are caught in a self-defeating loop that can ultimately lead to further withdrawal.

Self-defeating behavior is found in individuals who deliberately make decisions that will result in failure. Other self-defeating traits include: engaging in clear and obvious risky ventures; procrastination; self-seclusion; continual, unrelenting stress; missing appointments; social withdrawal; withholding one’s needs; giving up easily when facing adversity; playing the role of victim; and easily sinking into vices.

To begin combatting self-defeat, it is imperative that individuals first understand their origin and identify their own specific self-defeating behaviors. Only then can people change destructive patterns and understand how these feelings are impacting their lives – and building the foundation for change.

The process may not be easy and it may be more achievable with professional counseling – but once people grasp the root causes, they will come to realize the price they are paying as a result of their self-defeating behavior and begin to replace that behavior with a healthy belief system.

Defeating self-defeating tendencies means coming to grips with the idea that instant gratification is a myth. That careers take years to cultivate. That complaining is a dead-end street. Taking on self-defeat means finding your passions and committing yourself to their pursuit in a planned, thoughtful manner. It means understanding the ‘big picture’ and working with experts to forge success strategies. It means analyzing every situation to arrive at the best decisions. To know that you will be making mistakes – even painful ones – but to hold on to the belief that your objectives will ultimately be reached. That eliminating self-defeating behavior requires working hard to develop marketable skills.

The place to start is your mindset. You have to know that you can push past self-defeating beliefs, take on new opportunities with confidence, and succeed in getting what you want out of others (and yourself).Knowing precedes your ability to succeed and paves the way for you to replace self-defeatism with self-realization.

Spiritual faith will provide a foundation for improving your mindset. Faith is seeing the end vision without any physical evidence in sight. When you get very clear what your calling is and what the Lord is placing in your life to achieve, you will no longer wonder if’ you can succeed anymore – you will only need to wonder how.

Eliminating self-defeating thoughts requires removing old constraints, freeing yourself from fears, past decisions and evicting any disempowering thoughts that don’t support your vision for success. Saying ‘good-bye’ to self-defeating behavior means taking responsibility for your thoughts, your actions and – perhaps most important of all – your reactions to what daily life throws your way. You have to know that you have the power to bring about the future you envision. You have the power to replace self-defeatism with a mindset for success, where you envision your core objectives, and empower yourself to identify specific strategies that will meet those objectives.

Accidental success is a myth. Achieving success means being methodical and disciplined. It is about trusting your own intuition – but making certain that intuition is based on research and dialogue. Defeating self-defeatism is learning how to fail forward – to look for the lesson in any failure and move forward with greater clarity and answers on how to maximize new opportunities and strategies.

Traits of those who build their lives and careers according to healthy self-reliance include: making decisions in accordance with their highest values; working with others in a team effort; showing respect and support to those who surround you; to laser-focus and put into operation methods and boundaries that empower you to focus on results; to reduce distractions, delegate them or schedule them at different times of the day; and to be willing to fail – but not expect to fail.

When you speak in the language of possibility, you’ll be breathing life into every situation – and defeating the self-defeating behavior that is a road to nowhere.

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About The Author


Lisa Nichols is one of the world’s most-requested motivational speakers, as well as media personality and corporate CEO whose global platform has reached and served nearly 30 million people. From a struggling single mom on public assistance to a millionaire entrepreneur, Lisa’s courage and determination has inspired fans worldwide and helped countless audiences break through, to discover their own untapped talents and infinite potential. As Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Motivating the Masses, Inc. – one of the country’s only publicly traded personal and business development training