Life is a constant game of playing hide and seek with the truth.
It’s just too difficult to live in a completely honest world; the world without rationalizations, white lies, and half-truths. We can’t live in that world because it would be too painful. No one would get along with each other and most wouldn’t be able to cope with their own lives.
Today I want to talk about the lies we tell ourselves.
In my book, I refer to the “mask of rationalization” that blinds us to a better future. It blinds us to a better future because a better future requires discomfort. Regardless of your definition of success, it won’t happen for you until you’re honest with yourself. You’ll never be honest with yourself one hundred percent of the time because it’s too painful. But if you find enough glimpses of honesty to act, you’ll move closer to whatever it is you’re looking for.
People who “make it” have that tough dialogue in their minds, expose the rationalizations, lies, and half-truths they tell to themselves.
Like I’ve said before, I don’t know what a better future means for you, but if you’re feeling stuck right now, my best bet is that you’re avoiding the truth in some shape or form. You haven’t examined your life and had that tough conversation. You haven’t stood squarely at the fork in the road. Instead, you’re pretending like it’s not there.
Here are some of the common lies we tell ourselves to feel better in the present while at the same time sacrificing our futures.
I Need “X” to Feel “Y”
It’s hard to believe you already have everything you need to be happy. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking the next accomplishment or milestone will make you feel better. It doesn’t.
I thought when I wrote my first book I’d be content forever because I finally crossed it off my bucket list. The euphoria lasted a solid hour. Then, I started worrying about how many copies it’d sell. The more I succeed the less full I feel, which is why I constantly remind myself that who I am right now and what I do in this moment is all I can hold onto.
When I create from a source of joy instead of neediness, my work does well. Each and every single time I push to make my work “popular” it fails. When I remember I write because I love to write, I just write. It doesn’t matter what happens after that, as long as I put the words on the page for the day.
Success comes as a bi-product of being content and doing what you enjoy. It almost never happens the other way around. It’s one of the great paradoxes of life.
When it comes to your life, you’re probably thinking it needs to be fixed. You think something outside of you needs to happen to make you feel a certain way. Even if it does happen that way, the change still happened inside of you.
I wrote the book about changing from the inside out. Sure, there aresections about actions you can take, but for the most part, change happens when you change the way you view yourself and what you need to be happy, which is nothing…but your own permission.
The World Owes Me Something
When you question why you deserve something, sometimes it’s hard to come up with great answers.
You think you deserve success and wealth — why? What have you done to warrant either? How long have you worked for them? Have you worked for them?
You think you deserve great relationships — why? How well are you treating people? How much have you been working on yourself as opposed to wishing people fit into your definition of a good person?
We’re all self-centered. We want success, happiness, money, freedom, love, great health — we want it all. Wanting these things isn’t bad. It’s inescapable. But thinking they’re owed to you causes misery when you don’t get them.
You wouldn’t expect to make returns in the stock market without investing first, right?
Why would you expect a great return on your desires without a significant investment? Becuase you’re a human being — imperfect, hopeful, and forever flawed.
I’ve stopped trying to fight my humanness and my flaws. Instead, I try to be more aware of them.
When the success I want doesn’t happen when I want it to, I ask myself.
“Have I done all I can?” “Did I take shortcuts?” “Should I be patient and let things develop?”
This awareness centers me and calms me down — for about 5 seconds, a minute, an hour, or a day — then it’s back into the anxiety loop.
That’s okay. I’m not trying to cure myself. I’m trying to understand myself.
Change is a process of self-awareness.
If you want to increase your awareness, think about whether or not you truly deserve what you think is owed to you.
There’s Nothing I Can Do
Yesterday a woman reached out to me. She told me she wondered if changing was still possible in her life at the age of 49.
It’s a legitimate question.
When you live a certain way for a long period of time, you have a mountain of evidence against your case for change.
When you’ve been told over and over again in subtle ways that there’s a ceiling to what you’re capable of, it’s hard to believe you can do more.
I don’t know what happened to you or where you’re headed.
But I do know this.
Your past doesn’t have to dictate your future.
I spent the first five years of my 20’s getting in trouble and massively underachieving. I’ve spent the last three years living out my dream of becoming a writer, finding stability and sanity, and working harder than I’ve ever thought was possible for me.
The rock bottom moment is very real. I’ve had many of them. You can get fed up with living a certain way and change.
You can do something about your situation.
In fact, one of you will.
If one percent of people are truly ‘successful’ odds are at least one person who reads this is going to decide, “you know what, I’m ready. I can’t live like this anymore.”
Is it you?
I hope it’s you…
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Originally published at journal.thriveglobal.com