The Mental Traps of Succeeding

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College is the perfect place to discover your true passions and to understand more about yourself than ever before. Despite the freeing and exciting environment a college campus brings, pressure to succeed can easily take over a student’s mentality — trapping them.

Many students want to be so successful within their majors, they are constantly placing themselves under pressure to be the absolute best. Mental traps on the road to success develop when one doesn’t take care of themselves and allows the drive to succeed to consume their days and nights. The road to success can be obstructive if you allow the negative mental traps to block your route. Recognizing and accepting the thinking errors present in your life will allow you to take back control and revitalize your road to success.

Why You So Obsessed With Me?

Letting go of your fixation with perfectionism will allow for healthy growth in every corner of your life. Psychologist Gordon Flett says, “I think the reason for that is that socially prescribed perfectionism has an element of pressure combined with a sense of helplessness and hopelessness … the better I do, the better I’m expected to do.”

Being infatuated with perfectionism holds students back because it doesn’t allow them to be content with their current standings or be accepting of alternate ways of thinking. Rooted in fear of rejection and criticism, perfectionism prohibits positive self-improvement and the ability to appreciate the achievements you already have.

Modify, Modify, Modify

The fear of change traps many students since the outcomes cannot be anticipated. Many students feel safer to keep things the same like their studying routine or their go-to outline for research papers. Gustavo Razzetti, CEO of a change leadership consultancy, says, “On one hand, we are hardwired to resist uncertainty — our brain prefers a predictable negative outcome over an uncertain one. On the other hand, our mind is flexible and adaptive — it can be trained to thrive in change.”

Not evolving and changing because of fear traps you into dreading growth and takes away opportunities of development.  

Look Between the Lines

Black and white thinking can block the road to success by creating uncomfortability with ambiguity. If students simply categorize things as either good or bad, it limits the possibilities of beneficial experiences and growth. College is made up of a lot of gray area, adding to the freeing environment it offers many students. By polarizing your thinking, you become inflexible and biased. How can you possibly succeed if you aren’t open to new ideas and ways of thinking? Society is constantly changing and innovating, making polarized thinking the very last way you want to go out and see the world.

Hurdling the Roadblocks

“Psychology either makes or breaks you, so it’s imperative to have a robust system that enables you to stay on target,” says Tony Robbins, an author and entrepreneur.

So how exactly do you escape the mental traps on your road to success? One of the most important steps of knocking down those roadblocks is to participate in the process. Engaging in actions that will help you advance, is a step many overlook. Small efforts such as taking the time to de-stress or switch up your routine of studying can unfold new ideas and possibilities that were covered up before. Waking up each day and asking yourself what you can learn today will enable growth and allow you to pass the mental roadblocks in your route to success.

Escaping mental traps also means accepting change. Not allowing change to enter your life embodies a mental trap on its own, so to reverse this you have to be open and willing to adjusting different aspects in your life. Psychologist Jennice Vilhauer says, “Being willing to change means you are open to doing something different and learning a new way of being in the world. Doing what it takes often means you have to give up something that is comfortable and soothing but keeping you stuck.”

Revising your habits and ways of thinking will allow you to be challenged, creating opportunities to accept new ideas and perspectives. The changes in your day-to-day do not have to be monumental in themselves, but with little adjustments scattered throughout your week, the road to success is sure to be free of mental traps.


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