In India, when training elephants, handlers begin by sturdily chaining one of the elephant's hind legs to a tree. Over time, they gradually decrease the size of the chain until it takes just a flimsy string to hold the elephant. It's not the string that restrains him. It's his belief that he is stuck.
Similarly, your mind can help you pursue and succeed in your dream job, have healthy relationships, and stay on the sunny side of life.
On the other hand, you can mercilessly criticize every move you make, sabotage your relationships, and hold yourself back, like the elephant's string.
Think about it. At the most basic level, your reality is constructed by your brain. Your brain makes sense of the world and its happenings by interpreting the signals it receives as you go about your days and interact with your environment. Each of us experiences the world uniquely (meaning, your perception of reality is fundamentally different from everyone else's) because every human possesses a different combination of physical brain function, memories, beliefs, and attitudes about him- or herself, others, and the world.
These subjective influences—family, religion, school, culture, and life experiences past, present, and future—are typically subconscious. That makes them no less influential than your conscious biases and perceptions in determining how you respond to the world, behave in relationships, and perceive yourself.
These subconscious, deeply ingrained perceptions are the source of what I call "mind traps"—negative thought patterns that cause stress, anxiety, and depression.