- December 17, 2020
You know the frustrating part about wanting to make a major change in your life?
You really do want it.
I’m sure there are a lot of things in your life you’d like to change right now. You probably want to find more meaningful work, be more confident, level up your finances, get in shape, build more connections with people, feel more joy in your life, etc. Maybe you don’t want all of those things, but you probably want some of them.
And this idea that you “don’t want it bad enough” doesn’t really ring true, does it?
So many people find themselves in situations they don’t want to be in, situations they really want to get out of. Basically, they find themselves in situations that are the opposite of many of the things I listed above. And when you try to solve these problems and level up, there’s always some sort of mental stumbling block you run into.
It’s maddening, isn’t it?
You tell yourself, “OK. THIS IS IT. I’M GOING TO DO THE THING NOW!” Maybe you try for a little bit and you quit. Often, you have that glimmer of hope that you will get started and almost instantly fall into a loop of procrastination. These loops occur over and over again. That hesitation creates even more anxiety which makes it harder for you to start which creates more anxiety and makes it even harder for you to start.
Part of the reason why I write so much, and why I often drill the same concepts into your head over and over, is because I know just how hard it is to get something you want.
It’s hard to get something you want, not because you don’t want it, but because you also want something else at the same time.
Let me explain.
The elephant and the rider
The elephant and the rider is an analogy to describe your conscious and rational mind vs your subconscious mind that’s driven by a lot of deep-seated emotions and automatic responses.
Compared to the rider, the elephant is huge. Compared to your conscious mind that logically knows what to do, you have to overcome the deep foundation of your mind that wants something else.
Say you want to start a business and make more money. Of course, you’d love to make more money. So many people are in dire straits or just getting by financially that you’d think we’d all be doing whatever we can to make more. But, many people stay stuck in situations they don’t want because even though they want that business and money, they’re subconscious wants other things more:
- Safety and certainty – You can add this underlying subconscious want to basically every problem you deal with. Yes, you want more money, but you also want to avoid psychologically painful situations like losing money, getting rejected trying to pitch a product, embarrassment if you fail and all your friends find out about it.
- The need to fit in – This is a subset of the need for safety that runs deep in human beings. Almost more than anything, you want approval and you want other people to like you. By definition, you will run into people who don’t approve of you and don’t like you on your way to building a business.
- The need for familiarity – Even though you want to level up your situation, you want to remain who you currently are because making sense of the world makes you feel good on a subconscious level even though you don’t actually like the situation you’re in,
I could go on here. All of the things we tend to want usually come through the process of somehow getting our higher nature, our true wants, to win the battle against our lower nature, the subconscious wants.
Not only do you have to win this battle once, but you have to win the battle over and over again until you get what you want.
There’s no magic trick that can help you close the gap between your thoughts and actions, but there are some reminders and strategies you can try to implement.
Strategies and frameworks for overcoming your lower nature
So you want to walk through the fire and make it past the psychological pain it takes to change your life in a major way. The good news? You will get better at this process over time. I don’t really have to force myself to write. I’ve been doing it for years and my confidence level is much much higher than when I started.
Once you have a foundation built, it’s easier to build on top of it. The initial period, the short term, is where you’ll struggle the most. The rest of the path you’re on is literally a matter of time.
Here are some things to remember, insights you can use while you’re on your way:
- Action cures anxiety – It’s crazy, once you get into the act of doing something, it’s not nearly as hard as you thought it’d be. Back in the day, when I’d struggle to write something, I’d just start typing gibberish. The literal act of starting made it easier to keep going. I’d always end up deleting the gibberish and writing a solid post. Always remember, thinking about doing something makes the anxiety worse.
- Fear = go – Instead of looking at fear as a sign to hesitate, look at it as a trigger that you must follow through with the action. Nothing worth having comes without feeling afraid first. You wouldn’t feel good about the accomplishment unless you felt some trepidation to start with.
- Allow emotions to flow, don’t repress them – Dr David Hawkins teaches a method called letting go. In short, instead of not wanting to feel a certain emotion, e.g., anxiety, allow yourself to feel it fully. If you do that, it can pass. Instead, most of us continue to repress our emotions, which just makes them stronger.
- Rituals and habits are crucial – Doing something at the same time, in the same spot, for the same duration, can make something that was once difficult extremely easy. Time-blocking is one of the most basic yet foundational principles I’ve ever learned. I built a six-figure business from a 1-2 hour time block repeated over years.
- Always remember this – You’re going to die. If anything, 2020 has further accelerated what I plan to do. I thought I was moving at a decent pace, but faced with death, I’m never moving fast enough.
Look, I know you know these things already. I know it’s hard. I know words can only do so much. This is why I’m here to remind you again, and again, and again.
Until it works.
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