Humans lie to themselves all the time. It often leads to negative attitude, fear and self doubt. These are three common lies people tell themselves and the truth about each.
It took ten years to send one email.
Sabotage is the act of destroying, damaging or obstructing. It can focus on a person or a group but the recurring theme is that all these acts are deliberate.
But what about internal sabotage?
For close to a decade I didn’t have what it takes to earn a living as a writer. How did I know? I didn’t but that’s what I told myself every time the thought crossed my mind. I’d sit at my desk working at a job I hated and talked myself out of becoming a writer because I didn’t have what it takes even though I HAD NO IDEA WHAT IT TOOK BECAUSE I HADN’T TRIED. The most ironic part of the situation was that I was afraid to fail at doing something I loved even though I was continuously failing (getting laid off) doing things I hated.
Lying to myself about the things I could and couldn’t do held me back for years. Eventually I stopped listen to the negative voice in my skull.
You’re sabotaging yourself right now. You’re lying to yourself every day. Here are the three most common lies and the truth that will kill each.
Lie #1 –Everyone is watching and waiting for me to fail
There’s this feeling that creeps into the psyche around grade school. It’s the “up at the chalkboard and all eyes on the back of the head” feeling that never goes away.
The feeling intensifies the older a person grows. It feels as though an entire faceless audience is burning a hole into your back. Watching especially closely are enemies, exes, bitter family members, old bosses and anyone who’d relish the fact that you’ve tried and failed.
Truth: The good news is you’re not as important to others as you think. There is no bad news.
You’re not that important to people. That revelation might sting for a moment but it’s absolutely true. Most people are too busy entrenched in their own lives to take notice of your ups and downs.
Think about the person you’d love to see fail. (Note — it’s not exactly healthy to find happiness in the failure of others, but I get it, we’ve all got arch enemies. I’m sure even Superman relished in the failures of Lex Luthor that he had nothing to do with) How do you find out about your enemy’s failure? Probably second hand but if you’re not actively checking information and news can easily pass you by.
Unless the people who want to see you fail are actively tracking your progress, they won’t know or care or even remember who the hell you are because everyone is too busy living their own lives.
No one is charting your progress or regression except the invisible people in your mind. Stop letting faceless foes stop you from taking chances.
Lie #2 — Life will be easier when…
It took a long time to stop lying to myself about “the unfinishable marathon.”
All races have a finish line. Even the 26 mile marathon has a designated end. When a competitor crosses that line all of the adrenaline, anxiousness, excitement, worry, and pain dissipates. It might take ample time to recover but, eventually, the body returns to base level. It gets better.
In the unfinishable race of life there appears to be a finish line but no matter how long, far or fast a person runs a competitor never gets any closer to the end. But oh how good it will feel to finish. Life will be so different! As soon as a person reaches the “finish” and gets a better job, a bigger house, more money in savings ONLY THEN will life be easy.
Truth: To quote the prophet Christopher Wallace (better know as The Notorious Big) “the mo’ money, the mo’ problems.”
Life will never, EVER get easier. I’m going to repeat and bold that statement. Life will never, EVER get easier. Life will get BETTER…IF you put in the effort.
Did life get easier for Biggie after he was done selling drugs on street corners? Nope. It got better after becoming a rap superstar but hardly easier. And oh yeah, that new and better life actually got him shot and killed.
Life might get easier with a higher salary but with more money at work comes more responsibility, longer hours and stress. Those years of working on a book might finally lead to a published novel and a little recognition but not worldwide notoriety and the ability to quit your job.
Another reason this common lie is so damaging is because a person tends to take their current position in life for granted when is not so bad. Sure you’re not in the corner office making over $100k a year but you’ve got a solid job and make more money than some people will earn in a decade of working.
Lie #3 — It’s all about luck
I’m a disciple of the Marc Maron podcast. WTF with Marc Maron has influenced my life in countless ways. There’s only been a few occasions when an episode of the show pissed me off and it always has to do with a guest a similar story shared by many of the people who’ve sat down to talk to Marc in the garage.
The story usually goes like this — super successful person got their start in their profession by just making a phone call or writing a letter. The two most recent guests to share this story were super producer Brian Grazer and writer Adam Resnick.
Grazer was in his early twenties and working for a lawyer when he randomly called the legal department at Paramount Pictures looking for work. It just so happened the department had a young associate quit the day before and had Grazer in for an interview. He was hired and within a week was rubbing elbows with Hollywood elite.
Adam Resnick’s career is the envy of every comedy writer. He’s written for David Letterman, SNL and The Larry Sanders Show. Resnick first saw Letterman in the early days of his Late Show on NBC. He was so enamored with the young host and the bizarre but hilarious segments, he called the NBC office the next day to ask about internship possibilities. They never considered getting an intern, but a week later, Resnick was working for The Late Show a week later.
Truth: Both stories immediately pissed me off.
I wasn’t angry at Grazer or Resnick, good for both on taking initiative and just making a phone call. My ire was at the luck of both situations. There are countless stories about famous and successful people having that one lucky moment that changed their life.
But the more I thought about luck the more I realized I was an idiot. Luck is great but it only gets a person so far. Luck got Grazer and Resnick in the door but talent turned that luck into successful careers.
Luck is a bonus. It’s not everything. Luck opens doors but initiative, talent, desire, drive THOSE are the attributes that lead to climbing ladders and kicking down doors. Luck is good. Luck runs out. Then you’re left with nothing but what you’re willing to do and how far you’re willing to push.
The Lies Stop Here
It’s tough to get the negative voices out of your head. It’s going to take time to retrain your thinking and squash the negativity. Once you learn to stop telling these three common lies to yourself, getting to the place you want to be in life will be even easier.
Thanks for reading.