Limiting Mindsets That Sabotage Your Success: Problem-Focused

limited beliefs about self (control/competence)
Limiting Mindsets That Sabotage Your Success: Problem-Focused

Every important decision you make in life comes with opportunities and potential challenges. When you allow your fear of failure to stop you from trying new things, it is because you focus on the problems that could hinder your ability to meet your goal rather than the benefits to your life when you do succeed. This type of limiting mindset is limiting your happiness and keeping you from challenging yourself in important ways. 


Signs of a Problem-Focused Mindset 


  • You see only obstacles, not opportunities.
  • Taking on new challenges frightening and unbearable. 
  • When you see obstacles, you assume you will fail, and many among us fear failure above all else. 
  • You stay inside your comfort zone for too long, stifling your ability to learn and grow. 


No matter what you are trying to accomplish in life, the chances are high that there will be challenges along your path. An essential part of growing and evolving as a human is tackling new challenges in order to learn, but when you see only obstacles in life, you are highly unlikely to want to face those challenges. 


Every new challenge in life presents many options. While on one side is a complete success, there is a whole continuum of struggle and failure that could also result. And if you have a problem-focused mindset, you likely only see all the ways you can stumble or fail, rather than all the ways you can succeed, learn, and grow. 


A problem-focused mindset can stifle your growth, leading to discomfort, anxiety, unhappiness, and dissatisfaction with life in general. When you fear obstacles instead of seeing opportunities for growth, you live to maintain the status quo, which keeps you from enjoying so much in life. 

Learning to see past obstacles to embrace opportunity doesn’t mean that the barriers no longer exist. It just says you are willing to do what it takes to get past them and enjoy the rewards. It means facing your fear to move on. 


How To Overcome a Problem-Focused Mindset


Learning to take on new challenges and embrace opportunities in life can help you to stretch, achieve your dreams, and lead the authentic life you want. Learning to accept your fears and also to accept challenges in spite of them is necessary for overcoming the barrier-focused mindset. 


  1. Start by taking small steps 
  2. Identify some new things you would like to try but that have always scared you just a bit. Do something every day that scares you just a little. Talk to a stranger, try a new activity, spend time doing something you’ve never done. Small experiences will build your confidence that there is little to actually fear. Plus, if it doesn’t go well, you’ll see that it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme. 
  3. When you start to see obstacles in life, stop and question your thinking. Changing your perspective about what it means for something to be a true obstacle can help you understand that most things you are placing in your path are easily tackled and overcome. 
  4. Visualize overcoming the worst-case scenario, and you’ll soon realize that you can, indeed, overcome even the most difficult of obstacles, if you really want something.
  5. Set goals to help you identify what it is you truly want in life. Once you are clear on your dreams, start devising a plan for making them happen. When you have something to work toward that excites you, it can help you to see that even facing obstacles is most often worth the risk.
  6. Develop a habit of asking questions rather than passing judgments. Being curious can help you allay fears as well as find new opportunities that can excite and energize you. 


Curiosity makes you ready to try new things, whereas judgment shuts down the exploration process. So, ask more questions, and you’ll start to notice how you see fewer obstacles in life.


Learning to overcome obstacles is the central reason for adopting an expansive mindset and moving past one that focused solely on problems in life. When you start to see challenges as opportunities, rather than obstacles, you can embrace the many experiences life has to offer and achieve goals you never even imagined before.



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