What is key to success?
That’s a very subjective question. The answer really depends on what the term success means to you, and what your circumstances may be at any particular point in your life.
For somebody with insufficient income then success might be measured by having more money coming in than going out with a bit left over. For somebody else it might revolve around starting a business or respected for being a great employer or innovator.
Others have different success measures such as getting qualifications, being promoted, losing weight, running a marathon, overcoming a disability etc. etc.
Many more see success in material ways such as owning a big house, driving an expensive car or lots of possessions and holidays.
The list is as varied as there are people with ambitions.
For the purpose of this article, and possibly the reason why you are here, we are going to look at success in terms of beating alcohol depencence and living a life of sobriety, or more accurately getting over the self limiting beliefs that so often hold people back from even making a start.
The thrust of this article could actually apply to any area of your life where you are struggling to make progress, so it’s a powerful lesson to learn and one that will serve you well, irrespective of your current situation.
For many people alcohol dependence creeps up slowly, often over many years. It’s also a common belief shared by all heavy drinkers that we can just simply cut down or quit when we feel we need to.
The stark reality is that it’s near impossible to achieve a long term reduction or complete sobriety by just quitting when we want to.
Sure, some people might achieve some success through pure teeth gritted determination, but in truth it’s like stretching a rubber band between your thumb and forefinger. Eventually it will snap back to its original shape.
Before reaching out for professional help there is a mindset journey that all drinkers seem to have to go through. It’s a number of concerns or worries that are mostly useless but seem like a big deal at the time.
These include things like:
- Is there life after alcohol?
- Will my friends still like me?
- Will I still get invited out and have a social life?
- What will it be like going to a restaurant and not drinking?
- What can I drink instead?
- Alcohol free drinks are dreadful.
- My life will be so boring.
- I love getting home and opening the wine.
- How will I cope on holiday?
- I have no confidence without a drink.
- Drinking helps me relax and be more sociable.
To the alcohol dependent drinker, these are real problems, but they are also self limiting beliefs that hold many people back from reaching out for help, regaining control in their life and achieving the success that will ultimately change their lives for the better.
In reality, once the successful outcome has been achieved, what is in fact true is the following.
- There is a much more successful and productive life after alcohol.
- Your friends will still like you and most likely have total respect for what you’ve achieved. (In reality they are worried about the same things too.)
- You will still get invited to social events and people will be interested in you. Just be yourself. Don’t overcompensate.
- You will eventually go into a restaurant and appreciate the food you are paying for, rather than quaffing down as much over priced alcohol as you can before the starter has even been served.
- When you start to look around, there is an unimaginable array of drinks to be had that don’t contain alcohol. Some are very exotic and there is a whole industry of people dedicated to non-alcoholic drinks. Experiment and become an expert.
- Alcohol free wines, spirits and beers have come a long way from the early days. Some of the world’s most famous wine and beer makers produce their own ranges to cater for the growing market of non-drinkers. They are really good.
- Your life will only be boring if you sit around all day and evening bemoaning how tough it all is and weeping into your soup. The fact that you will very quickly gain more time and energy in your day means that you can actually go and do something productive and meaningful. Make a difference in your world and leave a legacy that people will respect you for.
- You’ll love getting home and engaging in your latest hobby, fitness plan or money making scheme etc. Getting home and popping open a bottle of wine is the thief of time and the driver of procrastination. It’s amazing how much more you can get done in your spare time without the control of alcohol.
- Holidays will be a different experience. One where you will actually get to see the sites of the country you have paid to visit, one where you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the culture and cuisine, and one where on getting home you’ll remember more than the bartenders name and how to order a beer in Spanish (even though you’ve visited Italy).
- You’ll have far more confidence in social situations without a drink because you will be thinking clearly while everybody else is talking total nonsense. Plus you’ll have the ability to drive away from the situation when enough is enough.
- Sure, it’s a fact that the odd glass of wine or beer in a social situation is very pleasant and calming. However, we can’t stop at an odd glass, and to be honest neither can most people. But think of it this way. Once you have conquered your dependence you will have real power and control over social situations and who you want to talk to. Not only that, everybody is interested in somebody who has done something outside of the norm, so your sobriety will be something of a conversation piece where the majority of people will be interested in how you achieved this higher level of being.
So what is key to a success outcome?
There is much written about the steps necessary to achieve success in life, and most of it is focused on achieving material success. However, my theory and the reason for this blog post is that you need to master success within first.
Once you’ve mastered success within then you can express it outwardly (if that’s your desire) and conquer those external demons, achieve material success, business success, career success, giving back to the community, helping those less privileged than you, or whatever it might be that you really want to do. Plus, once alcohol free, you will have reclaimed the time and the energy to do it.
In order to get to there – to achieve any level of success, my personal experience has shown me that there is one dark internal force that needs to be conquered above all else. This one demon is the absolute deal maker (or breaker) between success in anything (including giving up alcohol) or a life of mediocrity and dull resentment.
In fact, this malevolent force has so much control over people that It can destroy lives, keep people from reaching their dreams, even keep millions of people under servitude and slavery. It allows others with selfish and depraved intentions take control of unwary people, and even whole nations.
It is so powerful that we are conditioned to dismiss it, afraid to recognise it, and will start whistling in the dark if we feel we are close to it.
Its power confuses and blindsides people so that when it appears in your life your mind thinks it’s doing you a favour. Therefore, so that you can recognise it, I’m going to explain it in a short story which will hopefully help you realise that this demon controls your life and holds you back in unreasonable fear without you even knowing it.
A newspaper reporter once managed to get an exclusive interview with El Diablo (The Devil)
On entering the Devil’s lair he noticed a long corridor with lots of doors.
“What’s with all these doors” the reporter asked
“Come on in” beckoned the Beast with a flick of his tail and a curl of his willowed finger, “I’ll show you”.
The reporter warily followed the half man – half lizard creature to the first door where he revealed scenes of narcotic manufacturing on mass scale, trafficking of drugs by people ruthlessly forced to be mules, and the death and misery it inflicts on addicts, families and society through crime and suffering.
On showing the reporter these scenes, a malevolent grin stretched across the beast’s reptile like face and he beamed with pride.
A second door showed scenes of war, artillery and nuclear weapons. The Devil let out a piercing high-pitched shriek that sent the rats and filth ridden creatures around his feet scuttling for cover “I’m so thrilled” he exclaimed.
Through another opening there were scenes of greed, tyranny and slothfulness coupled with famine, disease and starvation.
The Devil could hardly contain himself.
And so the tour went on. Door after door revealing his control over misery and mayhem throughout the world.
Finally, they came to the last door.
“I’ve saved this one for last” said the Devil in a low menacing growl.
“Up to now I’ve shown you what I am capable of and the misery, hopelessness and destruction I can cause. But even I have to admit that nothing I’ve shown you up to now compares with the destructive power of what lies behind this door”.
At this point the reporter who had eagerly been writing everything down was now frozen with fear at what he might witness as the Devil slowly pushed on the heavy door.
As the door slowly creaked open the reporter squinted his eyes and peered into the darkness. In the dimly lit room his gaze fell upon a gleaming white marble pedestal.
His eyes slowly moved up the pedestal, almost afraid to see what creature or carnage would be perched on top of it.
As his gaze reached the top he could only hold his breath in anticipation of the horror to be revealed, but instead all that was there was a carefully placed wedge shaped piece of wood!
“What’s all this”? the reporter demanded.
“You show me all these scenes of horror throughout the world and end it all with a stupid wedge of wood?
I just don’t get it”
The Devil slowly turned to face the reporter, and in the faint glow of the pedestal hissed “This my friend is the most destructive force known to mankind”
“What you are witnessing freezes millions of people every day with fear. It can bring governments down and cause strong economies to crash to their knees”.
“The best part is, I don’t even have to do anything” the Devil laughed joyfully. “The force works all by itself. For this is no ordinary wedge of wood – THIS MY FRIEND IS THE WEDGE OF DOUBT“
The wedge of doubt
And so it is… Doubt, especially self-doubt is the biggest reason why people live a life of mediocrity and dull resentment, grumbling about the bad breaks’ life has dealt them and wondering where it all went wrong.
Earlier in this article I gave a bullet point list of concerns that all drinkers have as reasons for not attempting to give up alcohol and leading a life of sobriety. In reality, these concerns are all elements of self-doubt. They are just cleverly wrapped up as concerns, but they will stop you dead in your tracks – 100% every time!
That’s how clever self-doubt is and why you need to recognise it. It cleverly and sneakily pretends it’s on your side, doing you a favour. But in reality it’s just destroying your chance of success – holding you back. That innocent looking little concern leads to procrastination, which is another term for over thinking something. Overthinking leads to self-doubt, and self-doubt leads to changing nothing.
Going back to that bullet point list, you will also notice underneath is another bulleted list. This second list takes every single one of those negative points of concern, or self-doubt, and turns them into positives, thereby knocking self-doubt out of the ball park and leaving no reason why you can’t do this.
Don’t let this destructive force rob you of your future, instead have BELIEF.
Throughout time and history it’s been proven and illustrated over and over again that it’s impossible to achieve anything that lies beyond what you believe yourself capable of doing.
We’ve heard it as far back as Greek mythology, from the Babylonians, inventors, great thinkers. Names such as Socrates, Galileo, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Michelangelo, Beethoven to name a few.
They all knew about and understood the controlling of the mind, the power behind harnessing self-doubt and fostering strong self-belief. How else would they have achieved what they achieved?
Take Thomas Edison for example. He didn’t actually invent the filament light bulb as we know it today. He discovered 1000 ways that it wouldn’t work. In other words he FAILED 1000 TIMES to invent a working electric light bulb before he finally broke through. His teachers said he was too stupid to learn anything, and he was fired from his first two jobs for being lazy and non-productive.
If that doesn’t make you doubt yourself then I don’t know what would, but Edison knew that he had to conquer self-doubt in order to reach his beliefs. He believed he could bring instant clean light to mankind, and so he did.
Other latter-day thinkers and achievers include Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Henry Ford, and Winston Churchill for example.
While Gandhi and King had massive prejudice stacked against them, their power of belief was so great that they knew they could break through, even though they were both fully aware that it could one day cost them their lives. But they conquered self-doubt to believe and achieve their dreams.
Ford built a motoring empire that changed the world. He knew nothing about building cars but believed he could harness the expertise of others to achieve this dream. He didn’t give self-doubt one inch to knock his belief. And Winston Churchill believed that he had to outsmart the Nazis in order to win WW2. He knew it couldn’t be done with firepower alone, but he believed he could win by causing Hitler and his generals to doubt their own superiority. Despite suffering continual depression (his black dog as he termed it), he managed to foster a self belief system so strong it gelled a nation that was standing alone in Europe against the mighty Nazi war machine and defeated it.
Belief – The Three Pillars
Like most things worth having in life, developing a robust belief mindset requires work. But that doesn’t mean your wandering or failing belief system can’t be harnessed and developed into your own personal powerhouse.
To develop your belief system, it’s important that you understand the three founding pillars of self belief.
1) Belief about yourself comes from your internal thinking. Thought will determine every choice you’ll ever make in life. Fortunately, you have control over your thinking and patterns of thought.
2) Your thoughts are influenced by what you choose to allow into your conscious.
If your thinking determines your belief, then it stands to reason that what you choose to be influenced by, or what you are conscious of around you will direct your thoughts and belief. This could include the type of people you choose to have a conversation with, what you read, what you listen to, who you allow your influencers to be. It’s a fact that successful people hang out with other successful people. They don’t stand around the coffee machine bemoaning the bad breaks’ and being all negative. Their self belief tells them they are better than that and blocks it all out.
3) You must be the protector of your own thinking. As Anubis was the protector of the gates to the underworld in ancient Egyptian mythology, you must be the protector of the gate to your conscious, and ultimately sub-conscious mind. You must stop and reject people, things, or activities that will negatively influence your thinking. Whatever slips into your consciousness and you give thought to will ultimately drip down into your subconscious and influence your self belief without you even knowing about it. It’s your personal responsibility to set the boundaries for what you will and will not accept into your mind.
Belief will conquer doubt every time, so surround yourself by people who believe in themselves. Only watch, read and listen to things that have a positive outcome. Immerse yourself in stories, events and learning that fosters self belief, and in a very short time you will notice that life seems a bit brighter and more optimistic.
Then you will know that you are becoming the master over Self-Doubt.
1) Every choice you make is determined by what you think, how you think, and how long you think about it.
2) If you learn how to direct and guard your thoughts, you can
ultimately take control of your thinking and increase your level of
3). Self belief is the master over self-doubt and the gateway to a life of new opportunity and fulfillment.
If you have any thoughts on this subject, or wish to share your story where self belief (or self-doubt) has influenced your alcohol journey, then please leave your comments below. Your real name isn’t necessary and your email address is not displayed.
World-renowned Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology David Nutt breaks down the science and effect of alcohol on our health, mood, sleep and productivity and how it travels through our bodies and brains and explains on a practical level how we can make changes to positively impact our relationship with it and understanding of it, thereby improving our quality of life for the long-term.