How To Spot Self-Sabotaging Your Success & Happiness

I don’t believe in laziness and procrastination. I don’t believe there are stupid people or that that negative people don’t want to be happy. I believe that every person wants more from life, but that they don’t always have the best tactics to achieve their desires.

Personally, since the moment I started writing my book I was excited to finish it. I would talk about it with everyone who would listen to me and I would constantly day dream about all opportunities it will bring to my life. Everyday after one year of writing I was convinced that it would only take me another 2-3 month to finish it. It took me around 4,5 years. What happened?

Looking back I realize that often I was overwhelmed by the size, complexity, and unexpected setbacks of the task. These were great reasons to constantly postpone my writing and essentially to procrastinate. I had fantasies, expectations, and desires about how I wanted things to be, but real world operated in completely different.

Indeed, if we are not failing we aren’t pushing ourselves hard enough, as Ellon Must would say it. Similarly, we often think that we want something until we try to get it. This is when we realize something new about ourselves, about the project, and the world that may not have been obvious from the start.

Personally, writing my book made me realize that I had conflicting believes and fear which kept me from achieving success. I desired success but I was also afraid of achieving it. I knew that this book would change my life, but I’ve wasted more time wondering, worrying, and escaping than writing. Finally, after confronting my fears my productivity increased and the rest is history.

You Are Not Your Fear

Indeed, fear is one of the biggest reasons for inaction. And while most fears are irrational they have real life implications, as they are limiting our lives from achieving our fullest potential.

Indeed, while swimming on paradise beaches of Thailand, I caught myself not able to swim out far from the shore, periodically look around, and constantly wanting to return to the shore. I soon realized the reason for this behavior, which was irrational fear of sharks. I was afraid afraid possibility of being attached and harmed by a shark, yet never seen a single shark life in my life. Thinking back to this incident, the place I got my fear was most probably TV. I shared my fear with many people, and they all convinced me that sharks did not like warm waters, they did not swim near the shore, and they were more afraid of us than we were of them. Indeed, looking at all these people bathing around on the beach and realized that I never have heard of a single accident or warning about sharks. I armed myself with many rational facts and I put them to the test. I went snorkeling to a “shark point”. This is a place next to a Koh Phi Phi island in Thailands, where sharks come periodically to feed on corals to feel on small fishes and they never harmed a singly human being. I knew that because there were constantly dozens of tourists that would come to see sharks and none of them ever got hurt because of it. This is when I saw my own one meter long shark for about ten seconds and after I came back to the shore I never was afraid to go into the water or to swim far into the ocean. This is to say that I dealt with irrational fear rationally.

Still, if we are not aware of our fears, we can often subconsciously sabotage ourselves from achieving it because of our fears. We will do something that will prevent us from having what we want or to lose what we have achieved. As such, we can never truly have more than we think we deserve, such as to earning more money or have a better relationships than we think we deserve. This is in line with previously seen example of lottery winners that eventually lose everything, because subconsciously they don’t believe that they deserve that they deserve it. Indeed, it seems that the only best way to earn all these money, fame, and glory is to deserve it.

Attracting Happiness and Success

This sort of thinking goes in line with the Law of attraction that states that we attract what we focus on. So assuming that almost everyone wants more from life, such as better relationships, more money, better health and to be happier, why aren’t there more people getting it? Again, while we want all these things we have other inner conflicts that prevent us from achieving our desires.

Of course, we could claim that we are just asking for what they want wrongly. Indeed, even if goal setting, we are suggested to write our goals in a positive rather than negative voice, such as “I want to pass my exams” opposite to “I don’t want to fail my exams”. Indeed, what we focus on is what we will receive. In first case, we are focusing on achieving passing the example, while in second on avoiding failure. Key worlds are pass and fail. So in first case are much likely to attract success, while in later failure.

Indeed, if we are to say “my boss is annoying” we will focus is on every instance when he is annoying often ignoring every instance where he is positive and forthcoming. Instead by saying “my boss is positive and forthcoming” we focus on the positive and start to react more positively to our boss, which he may subconsciously notice and become more positive to people who are positive to him.

Indeed saying what we don’t want doesn’t automatically mean what we want. Therefore, we have to be specific about what we want as a desired outcome of our goals is, as otherwise we can just attract whole new level of wrongness.

This is of course a big claim saying that all we need to do is believe, as in the beginning of this book we were talking about how believe in a higher power was in many cases wrong. So here is a difference. People often get surprised that I speak languages, but if you ask me, or any other polyglot, about how we learned all these languages we will say that one of the main reasons to learn these languages was a positive attitude towards learning these languages overall. It is like mathematics. If we have positive attitude towards math, when we are presented with a problem to which we don’t know the answer we will at least try to answer it. A person who is closed to math and believes that for some reason he is not gifted, able, or smart enough, will never try to solve the problem and will never learn the answer. Thus, the believe plays a big role in our ability to transcend difficult situation and succeed in any goals that we put towards life.

In case of my book, partially, I did not believe that it would be any good, that people will like it, that information would be good enough, and a bunch of other reasons. I needed to constantly remind myself that this is not the case and that in fact that it will be a success that people will love it and they will be happy to even recommend it to other people.

Thus, one of the practical exercises we can do right now in any and all areas of their lives is to write down all our reservations real and imaginary that we can think of for the goals we want to achieve and to see which ones are real or not. Most of the time we realize that most of our worries are not true and the only person keeping us from achieving anything we want from life is us.

In last case, we can always “fake it till you make it”. We do so by acting as if we already had that something that we want and eventually get enough confidence to achieve desired outcome. This is similar to standing straight that we talked about in previous chapters, whereas by standing straight we get confidence even in situations where we are not confident. Indeed, one of the suggestions I specially like is to do things we are not confident, qualified, or for some other reason can’t do anyway, as in life there are plenty of cases where it is true, but where people excel anyway.

Why We Should Fail More Than Once

As such, Brian Tracy, a success coach famously estimated that an average number of time people try to achieve what they want in life is less than 1 (source). This is, when majority of people don’t think they can’t something, they don’t even try to do that. As such, they may try to do something and as soon as they fail they proclaim that they knew it all along and they cannot do it.

But here we should all take a lesson from one of the most successful people in history. His name is Thomas Edison and he is famous for many thing including inventing a light bolt. But success did not come without failure and Edison famously failed over a 1000 times before he had his first working light bolt prototype. But, according to him he wasn’t failing. Instead he was discovering new ways that didn’t work. He framed his failures in a positive light, which only gave him more and more strength to achieve his vision. And while in the beginning of his career he was a joke of scientific community he died one of the richest man in the world responsible shaping it to a great extent into a world that we know it to be today.

And we shouldn’t even worry to lose what we got. If we put in the work, the new reality will be always better, higher, and superior to what we had before so what we had will become obsolete.

We should not underestimate our capacity to grow. When we were toddlers and didn’t know how to walk or talk. Back then the effort to learn these things could be perceived as overwhelming and yet almost everyone knows how to walks and talks today. In similar ways, whatever we may want to achieve tomorrow can look overwhelming today, but with enough persistence we can reach it. This is, we shouldn’t hold so much to our today situation because tomorrow we are only expected to have it better.

The lesson here is to take action and to do the most correct thing no matter what is the cost as many times as necessary. Even if we have been on the wrong pass for a long time and that getting back will take great deal of work, the effort will always be ultimately worth it. Even if “how” may not be clear today, just having a strong enough “why” will always help us to find a way. Indeed there is no stopping a person on a mission. They don’t have time, opportunity, or will power to stop and think what how other people are feeling and what they thing of them. If social standards don’t fit their reality they will simply reinvent them.

Article by Roman Russo

Author, Blogger & Happiness Coach. Just published my first book called - HOW TO ACT NORMAL !!! It is about how Marketing failing to make us Happy and what we can do about it. Indeed, we are surrounded my marketing every day, but we seldom think what is an accumulative effect of all these ads does to our Psychology and Happiness. Still, happiness today and forever is possible. The only thing we need it to change the way we think! The goal is to make this world a happier place for everyone to live, as happier world will be a better place to live in. Do you agree? Please help me spread this cause!

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