How You Sabotage Your Attempts to Be Successful and How to Stop

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Monday I laid in bed face-up towards the ceiling. I was in my existentialist depression again. The lack of sunlight and frigid temperatures that awaited me outside only exacerbated the desire to stay where I lay. Where it was warm. Is it worth getting up? Is it worth the 15 minute hike to the train station so I can get to work? Is it worth it to study for the LSATs? Should I bother trying to get into law school? This isn’t the existentialism I’m referring to. Unfortunately, it’s only the instigator. When my existentialism kicks in it’s final boss form it’s as if I’m a collection of meaningless matter in a dark cloud of uncertainty and insignificance. What is the point of anything we do? Why do we have goals? Why do we bother when there is always someone who will be better than us? That is when I stopped myself. I realized that my fit of existentialist contemplation was merely a manifestation of my inner insecurities. What I finally realized about myself is that I do want to achieve those lofty goals but I was letting something else stop me. Myself.

We may have lofy goals and aspire to do great things, but many of us are pretty myopic. We only want to see success, so when we fail we blame other people/factors. As a self-defense mechanism, humans like to prove themselves right. To prove yourself right, other people or situations have to wrong. So we blame others for messing up our chances because they did something better than you or you blame a situation for hindering you. Sometimes these are valid excuses, but most of the time they are you lying to yourself in a cheap attempt to preserve your confidence and validation even though you may have actually been the entity sabotaging you the most.

So why do we sabotage ourselves? We know deep down in our hearts that we want to graduate from college, get a promotion, lose weight, etc but part of us doesn’t and these two subconscious entities fight each other every day. The entity that is sabotaging you the most operates on fear. Perhaps deep down you are afraid that you will end up failing miserably, or that you will make a fool of yourself somehow, or that you will not reach the standards that either you or someone else has set up. Your fear can turn into envy as you shoot mental daggers at the people who are accomplishing the goals you think are set specifically for you. Perhaps we have a sense of entitlement over our goals and aspirations. We think, “my aspirations are mine and other people can’t have them!”

We also shoot ourselves in the foot by relying on chance. A lot of us believe that if things don’t work out a certain way, the universe must be warning us that the path we’ve chosen is incorrect or that we won’t pursue a goal until we have been given a sign. This over reliance on chance or luck can be severely detrimental to our well-being. It caters to the idea that I deserve to have things placed into my lap instead of working towards it. We have all felt this way before and it is a VERY dangerous mentality to fall into.

I work at a university and I see TONS of emails everyday with students who can’t be bothered to actually submit an application. They are under the notion that if they simply email a random general email address with their credentials, they will simply be given a spot. It baffles me! Yet every day the same emails fill up my inbox. Day in and day out. We prefer for things to be handed to us instead of working towards it because it sounds a lot more impressive to us. We allow ourselves to believe that our story would be much more interesting if amazing things just sort of happen to us instead of working hard for it. Well it’s time to put the fairy tales away and take a good look at the real world.

Want to accomplish your goals? 1. Accept that there may be competition. Always strive to be your best no matter how good your competition is. 2. Address your fears. You are afraid of something. What are you afraid of happening? Address your fear, put it in the lime light then brainstorm ways to deal with it.

The world is not the kind of place where stuff just falls into your lap. If it was everyone would be like a celebrity who, for many of them, achieved fame by 10% talent 90% luck.

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