How to Discover Mental Blocks that Prevent Your Success

It is no secret that Steve Jobs was utterly serious about meditation. He called this exercise a “discipline,” which helped him to enhance his intuition and expand his mind. His biographer Walter Isaacson quoted him saying:

"If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there's room to hear more subtle things--that's when your intuition starts to blossom, and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before."


It is easy to see how Steve Jobs worked on creating a mental atmosphere where his creativity and intuition would unfold and lead him to visions that changed the world forever.

What makes successful people successful?

Is it in their genes? Or is it a family heritage? Or could it be just sheer luck?

More and more people recognize that success is created by is a particular mindset and an ability to use the brain in a specific way.

There are many articles out on the internet that give an over-simplistic picture of how “success works”; like “you just need to believe in success” or “you just have to visualize your goal regularly.” For example, if you visualize every day that you get a million dollars, one day you will get it. You hear inspiring stories of broke people who made a fortune in an instant merely because they believed in their success. If they did it, you could do it, too.

Now, how many times have you heard things like that?

How many times have you tried these techniques, listened to webinars or joined different lists?

What were your results?

I had zero.

Only after studying hypnosis in great depth, did I start to understand why.

To be able to create a successful mindset we need to know how our mind works.

Many success methods prefer to only look at the bright side of the coin, at that delicious picture that we want to implant in our minds. But they fail to mention the shadow-side of the subconscious, that is the things that are already there.

7 Things that Block Our Success

Now, we can, of course, continue bombing our brain with visualizations of wealth and abundance. We can jump from one “success method” to another, but most probably we will be wasting our time and money unless we dig deeper than that. (There is a spreadsheet with a test attached to this post that helps you to discover the mental blocks that prevent success. Click here for download.)

So what do we need to do to ensure our way to success?

First, we need to get rid of the mental blocks. It is like clearing up a highway so that the traffic of our creative energies has free space.

Mental blocks?

Yes, most of us have some mental blocks concerning success.

Let’s see an overview of the most typical ones.

1. Stress

A small amount of temporary pressure can be useful; it narrows down our focus to the problem at hand and mobilizes our energies.

As the stress level rises above the optimum for peak performance, we get impaired by our anxiety.
What is even worse, we are often unaware of the fact that our stress has taken over control.

To illustrate that let me tell the tragic story of TransAsia Flight 235.

The airplane took off on Feb. 4, 2015, from Taipei Airport. As the plane started climbing above the capital of Taiwan, one of its engines failed. That was indeed a nerve-wracking situation, but airplanes are designed to stay in the air even with only one engine running. Pilots learn that in such cases they need to throttle back the damaged engine to reduce the risk of fire, maneuver to the nearest airport and put down the plane safely.

What happened though, was that the pilots experienced a phenomenon called “cognitive tunneling.” It is a state in which the mind narrows down its focus to the problem so much that it loses the ability to see the whole picture and think complex thoughts.

As a result, the pilot made a mistake; he switched off the wrong engine and failed to recognize his error in time. Within seconds the airplane crashed into the Keelung River.

“The tragedy of TransAsia 235 is a reflection of the pitfalls of being a human in a complex and stressful environment.” Jeff Wise / Author of “Fear in the Cockpit.”

That is an extreme example, but we experience something similar to a varying degree on a daily basis. As stress has become our “normal” state, we become oblivious to the ways it narrows our thinking and decreases our ability to find new solutions, hear the voice of our intuition and turn to new possibilities.

How stress affects our thinking

  • Under pressure, our problem-solving ability, and intelligence drastically decrease. We might think we are smart, which can be very true under any other circumstances, but under the influence of chronic stress, we lose a significant part of our cognitive capacity.
  • Our focus narrows down.
  • We are more prone to reacting automatically, giving routine responses. That is when we stick to our old ways that have proven not to solve the problem, at best they manage to compensate a bit, but they provide us a false sense of security.
  • We fail to see many possible solutions. Our choices narrow down together with our focus.
  • Our creativity and intuition decrease significantly. We go from proactive to being reactive. Those who studied martial arts know what happens if we slip into that state.
  • Our evaluation of the situation and our options become distorted, filtered through the narrow lens of the problem.
  • We become rigid in our thinking.
  • We lose our mindfulness and become stress-controlled.

The problem is that while in extreme situations we can expect this to happen and we can train our minds to recognize the signs immediately, under more common, subtly stressful conditions the harmful changes in our thinking are hard to catch.

2. Beliefs

Our subconscious mind is filled with ideas and emotions that create a complex belief system.

  • Some of our beliefs can be limiting concerning our success.

For example:
“I’m a loser.”
“Our family has always been doomed.”
“I have never had any luck.”
“Money is evil.” etc.

These beliefs can be apparent which makes our work easier or disguised as positive ideas, like “I’m a highly spiritual person. In my view wishing for abundance is nothing else than a euphemism for wanting to be dirty rich.”

  • Sometimes the problem is that we haven’t trained our brain to accept a broader reality.

Wallace D. Wattles told a story in his book called “The Science of Getting Rich” about a man who was so poor that his ideas of abundance could not stretch beyond having a new rug in his room. When he finally got his new rug, he was able to widen his perspective bit by bit, until he was able to embrace the reality of owning a house.

The mind is like the muscles in a sense; we need to stretch it.

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” — Napoleon Hill

3. Rigidity of thinking

Rigidity is most often caused by fear or stress, at other times it is a habit. That is when we slip out of mindfulness and get stuck in our ideas. We lose touch with the reality around us because we are afraid of what we might see.

Whatever that is that we don’t want to face, we need to understand that it is our ideas (interpretation) we attach to it that makes us fear.

We can let go of rigidity by realizing that our mistakes are not who we are. And that is one of the greatest lessons we can learn.

“[I]t wasn’t so much the mistakes that people made but how flexible they were in their aftermath that made all the difference in how their lives turned out.”
Naomi Jackson, The Star Side of Bird Hill

  • Not being honest with ourselves

A typical sign of rigidity is when we fail to be honest with ourselves. Honesty about our mistakes and the possibly wrong paths we hit helps us to take off the burden of fear of failure. With that out of the way, we will have the flexibility to readjust and move closer to real success instead of an imaginary one.

“The truth may hurt, but fooling yourself will enslave you.”
Charles F. Glassman,

  • Failing to learn

Success always comes through a process of expansion and learning.


Rigid thinking makes us sluggish when we need to internalize new experiences. We might completely block out any information that doesn’t fit into our established view. As if it didn’t exist. The rigid part of our mind becomes sort of a dictator; it starts to distort all information that contradicts or doesn’t support the status-quo. It becomes self-centered and loses its connection to any other aspects of life. That is when we forget to learn with our heart.

Learning requires humbleness, flexibility and guess what! Courage!

It is because we cannot learn unless we are willing to make mistakes and face failure. Avoiding failure won’t bring us success, it can only take us into a  downward spiral of fear and avoidance until we start to feel helpless and powerless.

We need to

  • challenge ourselves,
  • make mistakes,
  • adapt,
  • and learn.

4. Hidden emotions

Our emotions are the greatest enemies of our success. They are the hidden resistance within us. Those feelings form a cobweb, and with time we get entangled in it. On the one hand we might experience relief, because we fall for a false sense of security, on the other hand we feel increasingly lost and disempowered.

  • Fear

That is the most prevalent feeling that thwarts our attempts to “do our thing.”

We start generating doubts, which disguise themselves as helping and protecting ideas, but in fact, they become limiting and thus destructive.

Steve Jobs gives us an incredible insight into how he transformed his fears into the most creative and fruitful energy one can become:

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Almost everything -- all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure--these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart." / Steve Jobs


How many faces does fear have? Innumerable.

Some of the most common ones:

  • Fear of criticism
  • Fear of failure: overthinking, over-calculating
  • Fear of stepping out of our comfort zone
  • Fear of taking responsibility
  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of being unlovable etc.

Fear is the perfect nutrition for procrastination.

  • Feeling not worthy

“I don’t deserve it.”

Just how many times therapists hear these words!

We deny ourselves success, happiness or love because deep down in our hearts we are convinced that we don’t deserve any better.
In this case, it is not the creation of success that we fail at, but receiving it.

That is a feeling we need to address in the first place if we are serious about bringing a meaningful change into our lives.

  • Self-punishment

Feeling unworthy, shameful or guilty can lead to self-punishment in that we deny ourselves specific forms of success.

  • “I’m not good enough.”

That is a very limiting and destructive thought, yet, it is incredibly common.

It leads to

– rejecting ourselves
– ignoring our true needs
– trying to be someone we are not
– compensating through overachieving or
– becoming passive etc.

  • Feeling powerless or helpless.

There is an expression, called “learned helplessness.” Remember the story of the elephant who was tethered to a pole when he was a baby? When he grew up he was still standing within that circle unable to break free, even though he had all the strength he needed.
This is exactly what happens to us, we learn to feel helpless and powerless.

Now, if we can learn to feel it that means we can also learn to feel powerful and in control.

As a first step we need to become aware that that is a feeling and NOT reality.

  • Feeling incompetent

As with most feelings, here we also have to be able to distiguish between the feeling and our reality. That is we need to see it for what it is: an emotional energy which we turned into an attribute we labelled ourselves with.

Become aware in what ways does that feeling help you and in what ways does it hold you back?

It can motivate you to learn or it can block you, filling your head with thoughts of being criticized or “debunked”.

Do you feel you need to know “everything” to be rid of that tension?

If so, turn your attention to the underlying feeling of – not being good enough. Yes, perfectionism is a sure sign that we are subconsciously afraid that we are not good enough.

5. Secondary gains.

Secondary gains are a tricky thing because they are mostly hidden in the subconscious mind. Most of the time we are entirely unaware of their existence.

What is a secondary gain?

That is some benefit or gain we have when we continue a behavior which we consciously consider as harmful. We subconsciously get “rewarded” for NOT reaching our goal or NOT solving our problem.

Remember ever getting sick as a child, just to be able to stay at home and not go to school?

As children, we were adept at producing symptoms that helped us avoid a test or a dull day at school. But it doesn’t mean that we “forget” this capability as we grow up. Our subconscious has subtle ways of manipulation to fill some need that we failed to meet otherwise.

We can, for example, sabotage our efforts for success to get more care and attention from our partner, or to avoid taking responsibility for our actions.
We may sabotage our attempts at weight-loss, to keep away the fear of intimacy and “protect” ourselves from relationships.

Whatever is the reason for our secondary gain, our subconscious is there to protect us. The problem is that we unknowingly program it to do that in a harmful way. It is, in fact, a trap.

It is crucial for us to realize there is ALWAYS a higher gain from facing our real needs than the one we get from harming ourselves.

If you want to find out what your secondary gain might be, ask yourself the following question:

“What would happen if I reached my goal?”

“What do I lose if I reach my goal?”

And again, be honest with yourself.

6. Issues with our goals and focus

Most successful people have learned to keep a clear focus on their goal.

One goal.

Not a handful.

This way they concentrate all their energy on reaching that one goal.

What are the most common mistakes we make?

  • We have no goals at all.
  • Focusing on general ideas, we set our goals incorrectly, like “I want a lot of money.”
  • Our goals are hazy, which results in fuzzy focus.
  • We set goals that are not in line with our subconscious ideas and feelings.

7. Lack of action

Creating success requires effort. It is a common misbelief that by meditating a lot about the beautiful life, we want we can make our dreams come true.

If so, the world would be full of spiritually-focused rich people. I’m not saying that there are no such people. On the contrary. But they are the people who took a step beyond visualizing Feng-shui gardens and houses on the coast, and took serious actions to fulfill their dreams.

That means, we need to

– take creative action,
– put our energies into motion,
– go through some steps of trial and error
– and stretch our boundaries
– in the firm belief that our actions bring us closer, bit by bit, to our purpose.


“If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up.”


Procrastination is the best example of a lack of meaningful and creative action. It comes either from a subconscious resistance that we feel when we are supposed to do something that does not follow our inner purpose or from being thwarted by fear, doubt, and other limiting emotions.


The essence of procrastination lies in not doing what you think you should be doing, a mental contortion that surely accounts for the great psychic toll the habit takes on people. This is the perplexing thing about procrastination: although it seems to involve avoiding unpleasant tasks, indulging in it doesn’t make people happy.

How can you get rid of mental blocks that prevent your success?

By having an overview of what can prevent success you also have a map for creating it.

Now you can use self-hypnosis to

  • become aware of your blocks,
  • transform the feelings that hold you back
  • by changing your belief system and reframing your limiting ideas (giving them a new meaning, in other words),
  • set the proper goal the proper way,
  • increase your intuition and creativity,
  • reduce stress,
  • and create new choices and possibilities.

To help you I have created a spreadsheet (call it a test) that will help you to become aware of the blocks.

Do the following:

1. Download the spreadsheet “Discover Mental Blocks that Prevent Your Success.”
2. Evaluate yourself according to that.
To get more in-depth answers use the finger answer technique to get answers from your subconscious.
3. Start changing the ideas that lie in the roots of your negative emotions.

If you want faster and more profound results, apply for the Becoming Successful with Hypnosis coaching program, where we work on letting go of the mental blocks and programming the subconscious mind to achieve success.

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