Recognize and Avoid Self-Sabotage

By · November 16, 2009 · Filed in Awareness

One of the finest feelings is that state of satisfaction that accompanies accomplishment.

The feeling of pride you experience when you’ve managed to cross off those items on your “to do” list is amazingly rewarding.  But that having been said, why, do you suppose, do people not strive to replicate that feeling on a more regular basis?  Why do they settle for mediocrity and procrastination when accomplishment, and moreover, the fantastic feeling that goes hand-in-hand with it, is reasonably in reach?

The truth lies in a wise old saying:  “We are our own worst enemies.”  For some reason we sabotage our own success and enjoyment, settling instead for a life of uncertainty and only marginal happiness.  Make no mistake though, people want things to change.  They want more out of life but they convince themselves that they are not good enough or smart enough or pretty enough or rich enough.  Success and happiness, “they say”, is reserved for the few, the lucky.

This is hogwash!  Success and the happiness that accompanies it, is accessible to everyone, but first we have to “get out of our own way.”  We have to allow it to happen by eliminating self-sabotaging actions and beliefs and replace them with clearer objectives through which success can be achieved.  The first step is to recognize the various forms of self-sabotage.  Here are a few, recognize any?

1.  Procrastination

In simple terms, procrastination is putting things—things that could be reasonably accomplished now—off until another time.  For example, a high school senior who says she will start college in the fall is not procrastinating, but the person out of high school—the one lying around the house with goals that are undefined—is procrastinating.  The problem is that this “other time” is rarely measurable.  People say, “I’ll get to that tomorrow,” but when tomorrow comes they repeat the mantra and the process.

This procrastination is a major roadblock on the road to success.  Many continue to put things off for years with the notion that another time may be more suitable.  They wait and wait only to find out that the “more suitable” time never comes.

Make a list of the things you really want with clearly defined objectives on how you plan to achieve them.  Most importantly, give each objective a timeline and stick to it.  Even on the days you “don’t feel like it,” do it anyway.  You’ll be happy you did.  It sounds cliché, but there really is “no better time than the present.”

2.  “I’m Not ______________ Enough” (Smart, Good, Talented, Pretty)

Believe it or not, rocket scientists were not born rocket scientists.  They worked extremely hard to achieve their positions.  If they are happy as a result of their success, being smart had very little to do with that happiness.  They had a goal in mind, one that matched their abilities and interests, and they pursued it.  They didn’t allow doubt and the occasional setback define who they were.

If you think about it, inferiority—feeling as if you are somehow beneath another person—is truly imaginary.

Allowing setbacks to act as permanent barriers to success is detrimental and wholly unnecessary.  Just ask Michael Jordan.  The man many consider to be the greatest basketball player in the history of the game, Michael Jordan, was cut by his high school basketball team.  Some coach at a North Carolina high school believed he was not good enough, and sent him on his way.  The rest of the story is so famous that I need not repeat it, but you probably see my point.  Through hard work and an unshakeable belief in his own ability—his own dream—he was able to overcome an obstacle that, for some, would have stopped them in their tracks.

You can achieve anything you want if you are truly committed to it.    Eliminate self-sabotaging beliefs and turn setbacks into opportunities to grow.

3.  What will people think?

On a recent trip to the mall, I happened upon a mother and her very young daughter who were picking out clothes for a teddy bear they had purchased.  Yes, strange as it sounds, I said teddy bear.  Anyway, the young girl had selected a certain dress she really liked and I overheard her mother say, “Not that one honey.  What will people think? It doesn’t match your room.”  Naturally, the girl began to sob, but the mother did not relent.  Now I know I shouldn’t be eavesdropping, but I couldn’t help wondering why this mother would deny her child the happiness of choosing the teddy bear clothes she really wanted, based on some ridiculous and erroneous notion of what others might think.  Certainly the girl’s happiness—which will in turn create more happiness in the mother’s life—is more important than the way she might be perceived.  Isn’t it?

When we allow thoughts and perceptions, such as those described, impede our path to happiness and success, it may be time to evaluate what is truly important.  If you are acting in a positive and healthy manner, trying to improve your life and the life of your family, how could it possibly matter what others may think?  The truth is that most people are far too concerned about themselves, and the way they are perceived by others, to even notice what you are doing.   If you act according to your dreams, the people who really matter in this life will support you, and that, after all, is the only thing that matters.


Hey Russell!

It’s great to see your site!! I love it and the content is awesome!

I’ve been FB friends with you for a while and never had the opportunity to stop by for a visit. Great work.

I like this post a lot. Mainly because this is a common area many people struggle with. It’s great to see you help people.

Warm Regards,
–Ryan Yokome

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