Do you feel like you can’t do anything right?
Right now it might seem like your life is one big series of failures — that you’ve never really accomplished anything you’ve set out to do.
But that’s not true.
In fact, what you’re experiencing isn’t some written-in-stone reality, but the flippant and sometimes ferocious firing of a particular set of neurons.
It’s just a mental block.
That is to say, you’re not as big of a failure as you currently feel like you are.
Let me explain why that is.
The Real Reason You Feel Like You Can’t Do Anything Right
There are a lot of different reasons you might be experiencing this negative “I can’t do anything right” mentality.
You’re probably reeling from a recent failure — or thinking about the ways that your life is a failure.
Or maybe you just woke up in a particularly depressing mood.
Whatever the case, the thoughts you’re experiencing aren’t accurate.
But why do they feel so true?
The reason why you feel like you can’t do anything right is actually because of a cognitive bias called the “Negative Halo Effect.”
This effect is what makes us think that if we screw up once, we’re likely to screw up again and again and again.
And it’s not just that we overestimate how likely we are to fail — we also start to see all of our other characteristics in a negative light.
This is a common human experience.
So you’re not alone.
In short, the Negative Halo Effect is when one mistake or failure taints our entire view of ourselves. We don’t just think we’re bad at one thing… all of the sudden, we think we’re bad at everything.
And it’s why you feel like you can’t do anything right.
The good news is that there are ways to break out of this negative mindset.
In fact, that’s what we’re talking about next.
How to Overcome The “I Can’t Do Anything Right” Feeling
Right now, you feel like you can’t do anything right.
So before we talk about preventative measures for avoiding this negative feeling, let’s talk about some ways you can start feeling better right now.
Accept Your Emotions
The first step is to accept your emotions.
You’re feeling down and that’s okay.
Allow yourself to experience these negative emotions without judgement.
Close your eyes and imagine yourself as being separate from your emotions. You can see them, feel them, and experience them. But you are not them.
Those feelings don’t define you.
Remind Yourself Of Your Past Wins
It’s easy to dwell on your failures, but don’t forget about your past successes!
Make a list of all the things you’ve done well in the past. This can be anything from getting a good grade on a test to finally quitting smoking.
Seeing your accomplishments written out in front of you will help you realize that you’re not just a failure — you’re also somebody who succeeds.
As with everyone else, your experience in life has been a mash-up of both wins and losses.
Don’t forget that.
Whenever you’re feeling down, it’s important to get your body moving.
Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. So go for a run, do some yoga, or dance around your living room!
You don’t have to go hard at the gym — just get your body moving and you’ll start to feel better.
Here are some awesome and free yoga videos to check out if you want to do some simple stretches. You’ll be amazing at how much better you feel afterward.
Talk To a Friend
It’s always helpful to talk to somebody who will understand and support you.
So if you’re feeling down about yourself, call up a friend or family member and vent. Get everything off your chest.
Sometimes, it helps to hear yourself say the words out loud. And it also feels good to know that somebody else is in your corner, cheering you on.
Repeat The Serenity Prayer
This prayer is all about accepting the things you cannot change and having the courage to change the things you can.
It’s a great reminder that there are some things beyond your control… but that doesn’t mean you’re powerless. You always have the ability to change your attitude and actions.
Here’s the full text of the Serenity Prayer:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
Take a Cold Shower
Cold showers have all sorts of benefits, including reducing anxiety and improving your mood.
So if you’re feeling down about yourself, try hopping in a cold shower! It’ll wake you up and help you feel more alert and alive.
And as an added bonus, it’ll also give your immune system a boost.
Do Something Productive
It can be hard to motivate yourself when you’re feeling down. But sometimes, the best way to get out of a funk is to just start doing something.
Set a small goal for yourself — like taking a walk around the block or cleaning your room — and then accomplish it.
You’ll feel better because you accomplished something, even if that “something” was small.
Meditation has all sorts of benefits, including reducing stress and improving your self-esteem.
So if you’re feeling down about yourself, try meditating for a few minutes each day.
You don’t need to sit in lotus position or chant “om.” Just find a comfortable place to sit or lie down, close your eyes, and focus on your breath.
Whenever your mind wanders, just bring it back to your breath.
You’ll be surprised at how much better you feel after even a single session of meditation.
How to Mitigate The “I Can’t Do Anything Right” Mentality Going Forward
Hopefully, you were able to take action on a few of the steps above. Now let’s talk about how you can improve your mindset going forward.
It might seem like you can’t do anything about the way you feel.
But that’s not true.
There are actually some really simple steps you can take to feeling better going forward and avoiding the “I Can’t do Anything Right” mentality.
Set Achievable Goals
One of the quickest ways to set yourself up for failure is to set goals that are too lofty.
If your goal is unattainable, you’re just setting yourself up to feel bad about yourself when you don’t meet it.
Instead, set small and achievable goals. Something you can realistically accomplish.
And then celebrate when you do achieve it!
Let’s admit it: the 21st century is weird.
For 99% of our species’ existence, we’ve lived in nature, with tribes of about 150 people. Now we live in cities, with smartphones, cars, and artificial lights.
It’s no wonder that our mental health is suffering. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans has a mental illness.
That’s why I personally believe that, as a society, we need to normalize going to therapy. We all could use someone to talk to every now and again.
A therapist can help you understand your thoughts and feelings, and give you tools to deal with them.
Build An Exercise Routine
Exercise is one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health. It releases endorphins — hormones that have mood-boosting effects.
So if you’re feeling down, try working out for at least 30 minutes a day.
Getting back in shape is sure to make you feel wonderful!
And if you don’t like going to the gym, that’s okay! There are plenty of other ways to get exercise, like walking, biking, hiking, swimming, dancing, etc.
Find what works for you and stick with it.
Get an Ongoing Source of Motivation
It can be hard to stay motivated all the time.
That’s why I recommend finding an ongoing source of motivation — something that will inspire you to keep going, even on your worst days.
This could be a friend or family member who believes in you, a therapist or coach, a list of quotes, a daily motivation video, or even a book or podcast that motivates you.
When you have something (or someone) to keep you going, it’s a lot easier to push through the tough times.
If you’ve tried all of the above and you’re still struggling, it might be time to consider medication.
I’m not a doctor, so I can’t prescribe anything. But I will say that, in my experience, medication has helped a lot of people who are struggling with mental illness.
If you’re feeling down, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about whether medication might be right for you.
Final Thoughts on Breaking The “I Can’t Do Anything Right” Mentality
If you’re stuck in the “I Can’t Do Anything Right” mentality, know that you’re not alone.
It’s a common problem, and one that is possible to overcome with just a bit of intentionality.
By taking some simple steps — like setting achievable goals, meditating, and working out — you can break free from this negative mindset and start living a happier, healthier life.
I hope this article was helpful for you. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. I’d love to hear from you!