I live in New York City and it’s noisy. For months after I moved into this apartment I was woken at 5am on Tuesdays when the recycling truck came. The guys on the truck throw dozens of giant bags containing hundreds of bottles, jars, cans and containers, as loudly as they possibly can, into the back of the truck. I guess they figure if they have to be up we should be too, but with repetition, blessedly, I now sleep through the truck.
I’m in the process of transforming my life—after 30+ years as an Art Director I am building a Life Coaching business. Sometimes I’ll have an amazing opportunity as a result of the efforts I’ve put in, and I’ll find myself in what Joe Dispenza refers to as the labyrinth of the unknown where, he tells us, it’s tempting to go back through the same door you came through because we’ve conditioned ourselves to crave the familiar.
In other words: Maybe this isn’t such a good idea, how do I go back?
The desire to retreat happens right when we’re on the edge of a breakthrough. Just when we’re close enough to touch what we’ve been working for we’re flooded with thoughts and ‘reasons’ why it’s not a good idea, and the urge to turn back, now. What feels like protection from a looming fall is actually self sabotage.
Self sabotage sounds like this: I’m not really sure this is what I want to do; This won’t work; I’ve never done this before; I’m not good at [fill in the blank]; I don’t know how; This is overwhelming; This isn’t right for me; They’re probably asking me to be nice; They probably couldn’t get anyone else; I’m too old; I’m too young; This is a mistake.
Most of us aren’t even aware we’re doing it because it’s so automatic, we just think we’re giving ourselves some hard truth. But what we’re actually doing is sleeping through the recycling truck. We’ve gotten so used to the noise in our heads we’re not even conscious of the thoughts—but on a subconscious level they seep in, and we step back from the discomfort of the unknown without realizing how it happened.
Then, when we give in to the fear and don’t follow through, we use it as proof that we were right, we are too young, or too old, or don’t know enough, or aren’t ready. That is the familiar place we crave. That is self sabotage.
This is why you don’t stick to your diet; don’t follow through on that business idea; don’t exercise consistently; didn’t apply for that job; because you give yourself an excuse to quit—or you don’t even try, you fail before you start.
Now that you have this great bit of information how can you use it to change your life?
Understand that your brain is a super efficient organ and it’s going to reach for the fastest, most accessible thought—and that’s going to be one you’ve thought so many times before that you think it’s true, the one that tells you why it’s smart to quit. So you have to put in extra effort and reach around those thoughts to access ones that aren’t as developed. It takes practice, it’s like going to the gym, you’re building mental muscles.
And though our default is to crave the familiar, Joe D. reminds us that we can fulfill our dreams: …the person who is truly committed to the greatest expression of themselves is fearless, because they trust the experiences they’re going to have along the way—and they trust that each experience is going to reveal something greater.
I trust. Do you?
This is what my work is about. I’d love to hear about your dreams, and help you realize them.
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