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We all aspire to do, be, and have great things. Defining greatness is difficult because it encompasses not only how others view you, but how you view yourself.

Yet, it is easy to identify the things thwarting your self-development. Today, I want to touch on four things that might be holding you back from greatness, and how to correct them.

1. You’ve Surrounded Yourself With Negative People

First, you need to understand that you are strongly influenced by the people you surround yourself with and spend the most time with.

Without your being aware of it, being a member of the “Ain’t it Awful” club can hold you back from true greatness.

You know what I’m talking about!

Are there people in your life who are always complaining and blaming others for their circumstances? Who are always judging others, spreading negative gossip, and talking about how bad life is?

Do they constantly attempt to bring you back down to their level? Are they dream-stealers who try to dissuade you from believing in and pursuing your goals?

Surround Yourself With Encouraging People

Until you reach the point in your self-development where you no longer allow toxic people to hold you back with their victim mentality and their mediocre standards, you have to disconnect from their negative influences at all costs.

If you are going to be great, you have to start spending more time with great people.

I want you to make a conscious effort to surround yourself with positive, nourishing, and uplifting people. People who believe in you, encourage you to go after your dreams and applaud your victories.

2. You’re Holding on to the Past Hurts

The next obstacle that can be holding you back from greatness is holding on to the past.

Most people go through life as if they are dragging a big anchor behind them that is weighing them down. They’re holding on to past hurts, past incompletes, past anger or fear.

Releasing this anchor in the present is the final step to embracing the future.

I have students who forgive people, and a few months later double their income. They also double their productivity and double their ability to accomplish important goals.

Forgiveness Puts You Back in the Present

In any relationship, you need to make the choice to come from a place of love and forgiveness.

You don’t need to condone their past actions or even ever trust them again. You do need to learn whatever lessons you can take away from the experience, forgive the other person, and move on.

When you forgive, it puts you back in the present without all the emotional baggage you’ve been carrying. You can now forge ahead and create the future you want.

3. Change is Inevitable

Another key concept I want you to get is that creating your future means dealing with change.

If you don’t embrace change, you’re also holding yourself back from greatness. @JackCanfield (Click to Tweet!)

Let’s face it. Change is inevitable.

The Earth, the weather, the economy, technology, our leaders, even the cells in your body are constantly changing. You can either resist change and eventually get run over by it or choose to cooperate, adapt, and enjoy it.

Surrender to the Change

Think back to a time when you experienced a change and thought it was the worst thing to ever happen to you. Things like a move, a job transfer, getting fired, a divorce, or a disruptive change in technology.

What happened once you surrendered to the change?

I bet you can look back now and say, “Wow, I’m glad that actually happened. Look at the good it eventually brought me.”

Expect the Best Rather Than the Worst

Perhaps it required you to grow, to develop qualities like courage, assertiveness, creativity, asking for help or perseverance. Maybe you ended up in a better career. Or maybe you ended up in a much more positive and nurturing relationship.

Remember that you’ve been through changes before that have ultimately worked out for the best. Approach change with the excitement and positive anticipation you should.

Expecting the best rather than the worst is a mental choice that you are in charge of.

4. Limiting Beliefs are Destructive

Lastly, limiting your beliefs about your own capabilities or what it takes to succeed could be holding you back from greatness.

One of the most destructive beliefs you can have is that you are not capable of accomplishing your goals. You might be thinking, “I can’t do that,” “I don’t know how,” “There’s no one to show me,” “I don’t know the right people,” or “I’m not smart enough.”

Many people don’t believe that they are competent to handle life’s challenges or that they are worthy of love. These two beliefs are the two main pillars of high self-esteem.

These are just beliefs. Beliefs are just thoughts you think over and over and over. You can consciously choose to think a different thought.

Believe You are Capable of Greatness

Use the power of habit to consciously keep thinking that new thought by repeating it as an affirmation. Post it on your bathroom mirror or your refrigerator. Make it into your screen saver. All it requires is consciousness, intention and the power of repetition.

Believing that you are capable of handling anything that comes up in your life will make you fearless.

Consider this:

Haven’t you handled everything that has ever happened to you so far?

You’ve been through the death of a loved one, a divorce, being broke? Maybe the loss of a friend, your job, your money, your reputation, your youth?

These were all temporary, and no matter how painful or challenging, you survived them. You are still here, and you have the time and the resources to achieve greatness.

You Have the Ability to Create Your Life

Once you believe you deserve better and that you DO have the ability to achieve greatness, your confidence will begin to soar. You will do whatever it takes – one step at a time – to create the ideal life for yourself.

I want to leave you with a bit of homework. Identify one of your limitations, and make a change. See how much further you’ll go toward greatness.


As the beloved originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, Jack Canfield fostered the emergence of inspirational anthologies as a genre—and watched it grow to a billion dollar market. As the driving force behind the development and delivery of over 100 million books sold through the Chicken Soup for the Soul® franchise, Jack Canfield is uniquely qualified to talk about success. Jack is America’s #1 Success Coach and wrote the life-changing book The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be and Jack speaks around the world on this subject. Check out his newest book The 30-Day Sobriety Solution: How to Cut Back or Quit Drinking in the Privacy of Your Own Home. Follow Jack at www.jackcanfield.com and sign up for his free resources today!

Image courtesy of frank mckenna.

May 10, 2017