In the Arab world, young people seem to be living on auto-pilot. We study what people expect us to study, we work where people expect us to work, we say what people expect us to say and so on and so forth. We live in constant fear of the elusive “they.” What will THEY say? What will THEY think? What will THEY feel? Forever fogetting that no matter how much we love, respect or care about the people around us, that WE must live with the decisions that we make, or the decisions that are made for us.

But here’s the honest truth, dear Arab entrepreneurs, the world of entrepreneurship isn’t for people who live their lives on auto-pilot. Running a start up requires a lot of positivity, passion, but most importantly, self-awareness. If you don’t know yourself, you can’t be a successful ‘trep, because you need to know how to control your behavior and your “self-speak.”

Why is it important to control your “self-speak” you ask? Before, I answer that, what is “self-speak?”

You know when you’re about to make a scary decision and you hear yourself think “you can’t do this, you’re not experienced enough, smart enough or rich enough to do this.” That is “self-speak.” It is the incessant dialogue that goes on in your head with out your permission. It is the voice that can propel you forward or hold you back. So, why do you need to control it?

3 Ways to Beat Your Auto-Pilot

1) You will always face fear in your life

If you want to become an entrepreneur, you need to learn how to hack your mind, so you can overcome the fears that you will inevitably face as you pursue your dreams. There will always be set backs. A lack of funding, a lack of qualified help, a lack of community support etc. But the greater barrier to your success will be your own internal dialogue, which is almost always set on negative auto-pilot, unless you take control of it and “change the setting.”

How can you confront the fear and take control of the dialogue? 

Simple. Say the dialogue outloud and write it down. Most of the time, when you say things outloud, you realize how crazy or ridiculous they sound and you snap back to reality. So, when you’re alone, say your fears outloud and really listen to what you’re saying, because you might just realize how silly they are. Alternatively, you can ask yourself why you’re afraid of something. If there is a legitimate reason behind your fear, find out how you can fix it. If your fear stems from your own insecurities, dismiss it and move on.

2) Success is not a linear journey 

I don’t think there is one entrepreneur in the world who has “found” success easily. there are a lot of ups and a lot of downs. Most of the time, the success that you will encounter will not be the success that you envisioned, but that is just a part of the journey. If you aren’t in control of your “self-speak” you will talk yourself into a courner and out of business. So, don’t waste any time trying to avoid the voice, because it will reign free until you’re ready to take control of it.

How can you talk your way to success? 

Every building has an escape plan, so as the architect of your mind, you should create an escape route from negative “self speak.” Create a script, or several scripts, you must follow when you get trapped in your vicious cycle of negativity. Anytime you find yourself saying or thinking destructive things, just recite your script until the negative thoughts go away.

3) Positivity is a habit you have to cultivate

Anyone who says that positivity “comes” naturally has no idea how much positive people struggle to stay positive. There might be some people who have a pre-disposition to being positive, but for the rest of us, positivity is a choice that we make everyday. It is a choice to see the silver lining, no matter how dark the clouds in our lives may be. Positivity is a habit you have to cultivate to keep moving forward, no matter what challenges come your way.

How can you cultivate a positive attitude? 

You need to stop blaming the world for your misfortunes and take control of your life, the decisions you make and the consequences of those decisions. You have to choose to see the opportunity in every problem, instead of seeing the problem in every opportunity. Slow down the chatter in your head and choose to focus on what you can do in the present, because what has been done can’t be undone and what must be done has yet to be decided. Smile even when you don’t want to and it will become a habit.

Bottom line: Sometimes you need to fake it until you make it. “Waiting” for things to change isn’t really an option!


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