Self-sabotage: we are all very good at it

Asked of me on Quora today: Have you ever sabotaged your own life? Knowingly or unknowingly?

Though it’s hard for people to do it knowingly, but then there are all types of people. And how did you recover from that? Also, if it’s not you and you have witnessed someone close doing the same, you can share their experience too.

My answer:

On average, people do something to sabotage their own lives at least once every waking hour or so – and that’s only when they’re alone. The number goes up steeply when they are interacting with other people.

The amount of time you actually spend acting in alignment with your conscious intentions is a small fraction of the story you are telling yourself. Your attention is really like a pinball being bounced around by constant instinctive reactions to stimuli that momentarily distract you from following through on your intentions.

Don’t believe me? Sit down, close your eyes and try to concentrate on feeling your lips (without moving them) for just 20 seconds.

Did you do that? You didn’t succeed though, did you? How often did your attention wander away from your lips? (Something triggered that each time.) For how many seconds did you manage to actually sustain concentration on that single simple physical location? I bet it was less than 10.

That level of distractability is going on all … of … the … time … while you are making your way through life … every minute of every day.

What do you think would happen if you could extend your ability to stay purely focused where you want to by just 10%? How many points higher would your IQ be? How much more would you accomplish?

Your distractability is a product of two things: 1) how good you are at concentrating (not obsessing), and b) how many instinctive triggerings are happening to interrupt that concentration.

Practising meditation or mindfulness will improve ‘1’ – my favourite technique is this: Attitude First Aid. And learning how to harness your instincts (rather than fighting them) and morph those reactions into more useful responses will permanently improve ‘2’. For more info on the latter, see my other answers about instincts on Quora , my website and my blog.

_    _    _

Aha! So you need more convincing, do you? You think I’m exaggerating when I equate these little moments of distraction to self-sabotage. You know you’ve got your shit together much better than that, do you?

Ok, try this on for size – ask yourself this: What’s stopping me from making my ________ more successful? 

Put whatever you like in the blank space: career, business, job, marriage, financial life, family, community, fitness, health, social life, sex life, you name it. Then answer the question honestly.

Whatever your answer, you are avoiding doing that or avoiding dealing with it. No, it’s not lack of knowhow that’s stopping you. I said: be honest – at least with yourself. You do know what needs to be done, and you’ve known it for a long time. But you are simply …not … getting … it … done.

In other words, you are self-sabotaging.

Enough with the denial and laying blame – wear it – do something about it.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
Posted October 6, 2016 at 2:39 pm by Gus Griffin · Permalink
In: Misc