I incorrectly blamed the mediocrity of my life on limiting beliefs, but it turns out, the real source was self-limiting action. The more I thought back on the circumstances and key moments of my existence thus far, the clearer the picture has become of what has caused me to be a classic underachiever.
Here are my confessions.
Limiting Beliefs Were Never Achievement Based
I was pushed around by self-limiting beliefs since childhood, but they were based solely on my inability to “get girls.” Because I have always been shaped like a bowling ball with limbs, I was undesirable to the cuties.
I learned quickly that blubber is considered a negative in this world, and the boys who were given all the female attention were usually “skinny.”
With my waistline numbers skyrocketing, my self-esteem suffered a bigger downfall than Bill Cosby. It took a while, but I accepted my status as the “fatass who couldn’t get chicks.”
Personality Is My Power
Since childhood, I’ve held tons of belief in my ability to make people laugh and it’s been simple for me to impress almost anyone with my intelligence.
I’m great at holding interesting conversations and my unique personality has always made me feel special — and memorable to others.
Above all, I never stopped believing that I was destined to become something significant in this world. I didn’t know how it would happen or what it would be, but I firmly felt it was my purpose to fulfill.
Self-Esteem on the Rise
By the time I turned 22, my self-esteem was enormous. I had been with 13 different women sexually in less than two and a half years. I also juggled two full-time girlfriends during the previous 12 months; all of which felt impossible at every stage of my life up until that point.
I was fussed over by my girlfriends, and other women catered to me in ways that I still marvel at. I ended up needing to experience these once elusive situations before I could realize that I didn’t need any of it to validate my worth.
Not Limiting Beliefs — Limiting Action
Something that happens to lots of people and prevents them from the life of their dreams is complacency. My belief that I could achieve enormous goals was firm, but I knew the requirements of greatness would be challenging.
That’s what led to me choosing complacency. Subconsciously, I decided life was fine the way it was. Sure, a BMW 7 series and a well-appointed penthouse apartment would be incredible! But the sheer level of focus I would have to possess day after day to earn those things was intimidating.
My subconscious mind rationalized my lack of intentional action: “Self, you have a place to live and a car to drive. You get a lot of stuff you want and you can get sex anytime you want. Your life is good enough!”
Complacency sets in all the time. “Good enough” is easy to accept. It requires little effort and many of my needs and wants were met. I insisted I could “get skinny if I wanted to.” But dealing with the constant limitations of obesity felt simpler than the difficult work of exercising and eating healthy.
Doing it consistently was the deal-breaker.
A Compulsive Underachiever
About 99% of the time, I chose complacency over the many sacrifices of chasing greatness. That’s the self-limiting action that built me into a compulsive underachiever.
Poor money management, several evictions, repossessions, horrific credit history, shut-off notices, civil judgments, child support payment lapses, past due bills, mediocre places of residence, long bouts of unemployment — the list is extensive and humiliating.
The Path to Recovery
As I mentioned, I believed that I would achieve excellence as far back as grade school. But after decades of trying and giving up, I chose to finally lock-in.
Coming into 2020, I had developed a list of extremely ambitious goals to achieve by the final day of the decade.
December 31, 2029.
I knew that making that lofty vision a reality would demand that I become a completely different person. Patience, consistency, and persistence would be required in enormous amounts, and I believed it could pull it off.
The first year of the new decade was filled with extreme tragedy and disaster for much of the world. I suffered a few setbacks as well. But 2020 served as the most successful year I’ve ever lived through to date.
I made important strides and learned a ton. I challenged myself in many important ways and often came out on the winning side. Year 2 of the decade (2021) is currently less than two months old, but it’s had its successful moments.
The 3,600-plus day-long decade is only about 11% completed so far, but I’m pleased with my progress. There’s much to work on and correct, but I’m trending upward in many ways.
That’s why I refer to myself as a “recovering underachiever.” I’m working on my “program” to erase the “under” and replace it with “over.”
I know many people share the same type of journey. You might’ve been pushed around by self-limiting beliefs in parts of your life. But you always believed you’d be a high achiever someday because you have a special gift to share with the world.
You want to prevent regret.
Push the complacency to the side and start your recovery. “Someday” never comes, so get in motion now in some small way. Invest in your vision with intentional action. You owe it to yourself for the high achiever you were always destined to be.