At times the biggest battle for leaders is carried on between their ears; their mindset. The internal dialogue you have with yourself can move you ahead or hold you back. When you talk to yourself, watch your language. Dr. Zinsser, who teaches at West Point, shares some ideas from his book on limiting believes that will hold you back.

Originally published by Dan Rockwell

“Shut up Nate. You’re never going to be any good… We’re not good at wrestling and we never will be.” Nate Zinsser’s classmate.

By the time Nate became a junior in high school, the wrestling team had its first winning season in decades.

Today, Dr. Zinsser is the Director of the Performance Psychology Program at the United States Military Academy at West Point. This post is based on our conversation and his book, The Confident Mind.

Six limiting beliefs that hold you back:

#1. Remember your failures.

It’s better to focus on memories of effort, success, and progress and the vision of the future you really want.

“Put yourself in a position to be more confident about yourself.” Dr. Nate Zinsser

#2. Always be your own harshest critic.

It’s better to reserve self-judgement for times when you can calmly acknowledge your weaknesses without belittling yourself.

#3. Always be logical.

Logic throws out creativity, joy, and the discovery of the things that give life its greatest meaning.

#4. Become really good before you become confident.

Stop thinking, “What else could I have done?” There is ALWAYS more you could have done. Confidence is a choice that you make regardless of the situation.

#5. Worship the experts.

Beware the tendency to overestimate others and underestimate yourself.

#6. Above all else, don’t screw up.

“I have found that nothing erodes and destroys confidence more than the fear of making mistakes in performance.” Dr. Zinsser

(The above list is adapted from, The Confident Mind, by Dr. Nate Zinsser.)

Confidence begins with the first win:

Sun Tzu said, “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”

The first victory is in the mind.