We are all our own worst enemy. Before we start looking around for people to blame for our failures or finding excuses for why we aren't where we want to be let's address this.
We all practice habits everyday that do nothing but detract from our success and happiness.
And I'll guarantee that if you can find them in one area of your life you can find them in all the others. Shit like this just isn't compartmentalized. It bleeds over. It may have started in one aspect, but it metastasized and spread to others.
But if we want to be happy, find success, and have functional relationships we have to address these self-defeating habits.
There are way to many to take on all at once, but I want to start with the big five I see the most often and I think do the most harm.
1. Doubting yourself.
This one is by far the closest one to my heart because I struggle with it constantly.
It is that feeling that you don't have the skill or the talent to compete with "those people." It is the words you say about not being good enough or deserving enough. It is the things you have always wanted to do, but have never do.
It is fear.
Fear of failing. Fear of coming up short. Fear of not measuring up.
I can't tell you how much I have struggled through this professionally as a coach. I tell myself there is no way I will have a gym as successful as Cressey Performance or as fun and community oriented as Mark Fisher Fitness. There is just something special about them that I don't have.
And no doubt Eric Cressey and Mark Fisher are definitely one of a kind human beings, but logically this kind of thinking makes no sense. There is nothing secret about what they did. They matched great training with a great atmosphere. This isn't outside of my "do-ability" zone.
But I allow that doubt to creep up inside of me and scare me away from making the moves and taking the action necessary to achieve similar success.
I am sure you can think of an example yourself that demonstrates this habit in your own life, but we have both got to stop it.
We have to rid our selves of the doubt.
An interesting thing to keep in mind about this is the psychological phenomenon of the confirmation bias. Which essentially means that consciously or unconsciously we will see and notice things only if they confirm our already held beliefs. Therefore if you doubt your abilities or looks and believe they are not up to par then you will only see things as confirmation of this belief and bias. Regardless of whether that is actual reality or not.
Believe like a motherfucking lunatic in yourself.
Trust me you deserve at least that much.
2. Lying to yourself.
This one follows up self doubt perfectly because this is right where self doubt brings you too, self-delusion central.
You doubt so you don't believe so you have to tell yourself a narrative to understand why you are the way you are and why you can't have or be the things you want. They call this the "Narrative Identify" in psychological terms.
We have an innate desire to have consistency so we have to have a story that gives our personality and character traits an explanation regardless of whether the personality and character traits or narrative is actually true.
These lies you then tell yourself create a kind of super imposed reality on what is really happening around you and what you are truly capable of. Almost like a mental prison sort of thing.
You create limitations and barriers for yourself that don't really exist.
Stop this! Stop it now.
You can be strong. You can be graceful. You can be honest and truthful. You are beautiful. Your life does have meaning. Your partner does want you and isn't going to leave you.
Stop feeding yourself a bunch of bullshit.
Get honest and get real with yourself.
Tear down those damn imaginary barriers, get to the truth, and start doing work to build the life you want and can have.
3. Making yourself into a joke.
You aren't a joke.
Your insecurities and struggles aren't trivial and meaningless.
They matter. You matter. Your shit matters!
Stop playing it off as a joke so you and others can have a good laugh and forget about it. Stop turning yourself into the clown so you can beat others to the punch. We all have crap we struggle with and instead of laughing at each other about it why don't we be human to one another and offer help, encouragement, and support.
I know it is just so damn hard to you know be human, but that is what we have got to start doing.
Don't poke fun at others or your own flaws. We all have them and I guarantee we are all highly aware of what they are and how they impact us, but don't use comedy to shield yourself and wall them away.
Share your struggles and talk about what you are trying to do to get through them. Chances are the other person is yearning to be related to and have some to empathize with them.
Plus joking about your own issues just makes everyone around you so damn uncomfortable. They are never sure whether they should laugh along with you or if they should reassure you and console you. Most of the time they settle for an awkward laugh and quick change of the topic.
4. Being overly self critical of yourself.
Okay sit down I have got to tell you something that you need to hear.
NO ONE IS PERFECT. NO ONE IS EVER GOING TO BE PERFECT. PERFECT IS UNREALISTIC.
I know your world has probably just changed forever.
On a more serious note, I know you know this, but yet I never see people speaking and acting as if they do.
We get pissed off and crazy whenever we make a mistake regardless of what kind of impact the mistake has. I mean really what do we expect that we are going to get shit right every single time? It just ain't going to happen.
Accept it and be better for it.
You are going to miss a workout. You are going to eat a bag of chips instead of the carrot sticks. You are going to forget to separate the whites from the colors. You are going to forget that really important thing for that really important appointment. You are going to be late.
It is okay. Don't beat yourself up about it.
Control yourself. Control your thoughts and actions. Simply forgive yourself and resolve to do better next time.
The key is progression not perfection.
5. Loosing perspective.
I haven't really struggled with this one at all for a while, but that is what you get when you work in a place every weekend where the possibility of witnessing someone pass from this world are rather high.
I think we all get focused on crap that doesn't matter. Things that are of trivial importance in the grade scheme of things.
We get pissed off because someone didn't fill out the interdepartmental mail form correctly. We get upset because someone got to work 5 minutes later than we did, but left before us. We fly off the handle about someone eating our lunch that had our name on it.
Yes, granted these are all irritating, but really our they worth all the energy and power over us we give them.
You can always fill out another form. There will be another time when we run late to getting to work and get to leave early also. And we could probably all stand to skip a few meals here and there.
The point is that we have to keep the bigger picture in mind.
For me I think the bigger picture revolves around two things: love and relationships.
Keep yourself focused on demonstrating love to and for others and developing strong relationships. All that other stuff really won't matter much at the end of your days.
If you can stop doing these five things I think you'll find life becomes a lot more enjoyable and full of a lot more possibilities.
Happy moving and heavy lifting!
Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training