- October 6, 2020
Do you ever feel like you have these fatal flaws?
You think about building a better future but you always run into the same pattern over and over again. You start to feel like you’re just not built for this path — like you’re not cut out for it.
Well, you are, but it is hard to understand that. To make your life easier, you have to have a few mental shortcuts. So when you are caught in the cycle, your mind is going to find that little mental movie that applies based on the things that have happened in your past.
Our stories feel real. They feel like destiny. But they are not. We can change them whenever we want. On the other hand, they often do become our destiny because the patterns are so strong.
So, how do you break them?
First, you have to understand this truth. Your behaviour tells you who you are. If you act a certain way, you’ll be a certain way. Most people think they have to conjure up this image of themselves first before they act, but the actions create the beliefs.
If you’re shy, no amount of intellectualizing about your shyness is going to make it easier for you to talk to people. If you are a procrastinator or someone who quits every project they start, no amount of planning or searching for the perfect idea is going to help you finish the job.
This puts you in a weird bind because you feel so stuck in your current self-image that taking the new actions feels difficult to impossible. Is there some sort of answer I can give you that is more potent and powerful than ‘just do it’?
Understand this important truth about yourself
I’ve never personally come across someone in life who had nothing going for them. Usually, people are a mixture. They are motivated at times, not at others. They have certain talents and lack others.
But when it comes to these mental movies we pull up when it is time to face a challenge, we only think about the negative movies. Why? We’re just wired for pessimism because it helps us survive.
How much time do you spend thinking about the positive moments in your life? Or even just the moments that show your competency, even if you don’t think they’re all that special? (I’ll explain in a minute.)
Let’s go back to those examples earlier. Are shy people shy all the time? No. Usually, they’re shy around new people. But when they’re with their close friends and family, they can open up, have a conversation, tell stories, be witty, etc. Yes, some people are shyer than others, some debilitatingly shy, but you get the point. Is it that this person is shy? Or do they add a different context to different situations?
Let’s say you procrastinate when trying to do something like build a side project. Well, you have no problem going to work, do you? Even when you don’t want to go, you go? Why? Because the context changed. You need money, so working no longer becomes a choice. If you acted the same way toward your side project as you did your real job, you would get your side project off the ground.
Both of these examples help you understand that you become a different ‘you’ and pull up different mental movies based on the context of the situation. In practice, simply start thinking about all the times you’ve been confident, the times you’ve worked hard without quitting, and the accomplishments you do have.
Do this to remind yourself that you can develop new positive mental movies when trying new challenges. Like I said earlier, you’re still just going to have to take the actions first. You initially have to just trick yourself into right action, and that’s where this little visualization technique comes in.
Commit the right actions, long enough, though, and your default sense of who you are will change entirely.
The fallacy you must remove to grow
There is no concrete concept of you. You have strengths and weaknesses. Somethings do come more naturally to you than others. But few things actually fall under the blanket statement of “This is just the way I am.”
If you’re 5 foot 2, sure, you’ll probably never be able to teach yourself how to dunk. But beyond feats impeded by actual physical limitations, you can radically transform the concept of ‘you.’
I have. In five years I went from someone who started everything and finished nothing to someone coming up on his sixth anniversary of starting his writing career. I struggled with extreme levels of procrastination and laziness prior to learning personal development and growing my writing career. I thought it was my fatal flaw, but it wasn’t.
It was just a story I was telling myself. Slowly but surely, I eradicated that story.
You can eradicate your old story. I’m not telling you the odds of it are high at all. Of course not. If they were, everybody would do it. But I am telling you it’s more than possible.
I try to think of what truly motivated me back then. I try to think about how I really pulled it off so I can pass on that wisdom to you without sugar coating or romanticizing the story.
Even though I had recurring negative patterns, I never looked at them as fatal. I always had hope. Always.
Never lose hope. Don’t become one of those people who resigns themselves to their situation because once you do that, the game really is over. Whatever story you are telling yourself, no matter how strong you think is it, is a lie.
You’re 50 years old and think you wasted too much time? Oh well, don’t waste another 30 crying over spilt milk?
You always try and fail? So did I, dozens of times. But one day, I got the process to work.
You don’t have all the talent in the world? You do not need it.
I always add the caveat to almost every single one of my articles, essays, even programs that no one, not even me, can fill that gap between thought and action. Ultimately the answer does come down to just do it.
But I can tell you from experience that, looking backwards, the process will not be as difficult as you thought it would be. It will seem very hard when you are just starting or when you are in the middle of it, but when you do reach the other side, the entire concept of what is normal to you will change.
You will re-write your story to the point that the ‘old you’ is unrecognizable. I hope you reach that point one day.
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