How do you Stop Holding Yourself Back…

In this post, I have been reflecting on a video from one of my favourite authors Simon Sinek. I have been in the game of education and consultancy for two decades and it is very clear, when parts of my career progressed very well and when parts became very stagnated.

The times of progression were driven by letting go and getting my brain to focus on the right thing. Have a listen and read the transcript/reflections below.

Here are the key points from listening to Simon Sinek taken from the transcript of the video.

The human brain cannot comprehend the negative…. it is incapable.

He gives an example to demonstrate it…

So the human brain cannot comprehend the negative.


Don’t think of an elephant.

You can’t tell the human brain not to do something. So what happens is we very often reinforce things when we put things in the negative.

  • “I can’t get a part. I can’t get a part. I can’t get a part.”
  • OR, “I can’t do this,” versus, “I’m going to keep doing this. I’m going to keep doing this. I’m going to keep doing this.”

It’s such a huge thing to convert things into the affirmative. You’re supposed to do it with children as well. We’re supposed to say, instead of saying to children, “Don’t eat on the couch,” we’re supposed to say, “Eat at the table.”

We tell people what we want them to do, not what we don’t want to do. Pilots know this, right? It is well known in the pilot community that when you tell a pilot don’t hit the obstacle, they’ll hit the obstacle because what they’re doing is focusing on the obstacle.

Skiers know this. If you’ve ever seen skiers go through trees, do you know how they do that? It’s very easy. It’s actually surprisingly easy. If you go through trees on skis, you go, “Don’t hit a tree, don’t hit a tree. Don’t hit a tree,” guess what you’re watching? You’re only looking at trees. All you’re doing is seeing trees. You don’t understand how anyone can ski with all these trees, right? As opposed to, “Follow the snow, follow the path, follow the path.” The only thing you see is the path. Skiers know this. If you say don’t hit a tree, you’ll hit a tree. You won’t be able to find a path because all you see is millions of trees. If you say only follow the path, you actually don’t see any trees. There’s actually very sparse trees. There’s plenty of path, there’s plenty of snow.

It’s the same thing for you. If you focus on the obstacles, all you will see is obstacles. If you focus on the path through the trees, all you will see is path through the trees. It’s your choice how you choose to perceive your own career. It’s literally perspective.

What does this mean to your Marketing, Management or Entrepreneurial journey?

  • What are you choosing to focus on?
  • What do you need to stop thinking about?
  • Reflect on the words that come out of your mouth (positive v. negative  language)
  • What’s the impact on delaying key decisions related to investing in yourself?

See more of Simon Sinek’s videos here on his YouTube channel.