Everyone is Winning the Game They Are Playing:
Have you ever found yourself considering why you are successful in one thing but not another? The reason is that people work perfectly to produce the results they’re getting.
This begs the question, “Why am I working so perfectly to produce an unsuccessful outcome?” Why indeed. No one is broken and, consciously or unconsciously, we all succeed in winning our game. However. “winning” doesn’t always equate with our own version of success. This paradigm takes some time and effort to understand, so bear with me.
Behavior and Self-Sabotage:
Take the example of procrastination. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines procrastination as “to be slow or late about doing something that should be done; to delay doing something until a later time because you do not want to do it, because you are lazy, etc.” While this definition is on point, to my mind there is more to it than being “lazy,” but that’s a topic for another blog.
Some people may equate procrastination with self-sabotage, but the act of procrastination is just one of the behaviors that conflict with the part of you that wants to accomplish things in a timely fashion. Psychologist Dr. Ellen Hendriksen posits that “self-sabotage is any action that gets in the way of achieving your goals.”
When we play the game of self-sabotage, we are winning the game of distraction. Procrastination and perfectionism are distractions. When we allow procrastination and perfectionism to pull us away from our focus, those behaviors get in the way of us achieving our goals. We may be losing the game of goal achievement, but we are winning the game of distraction.
If we keep telling ourselves, “I don’t belong here,” then we focus on any and every evidence that proves the statement true, instead of focusing on the evidence that leads us to the opposite conclusion, that we do indeed belong.
Stuck in Your Critter Brain:
This next statement may be shocking… What someone is experiencing is what they want to be experiencing. Why would someone want to have an unpleasant experience? We always make the best choices available given our resources, environment, or conditioning at that time.
Choosing to have the unpleasant experience may be the choice our “critter brain” sends us. It’s the part of our brain that is concerned with safety and survival. That’s all well and good if our life is endangered when the experience we choose may be unpleasant but ultimately life-saving.
But our critter brain confuses sameness with safety, it thinks change equals potential danger. Rather than choosing (i.e. risking) an experience that may prove rewarding, the critter brain does everything it can to keep us in our comfort zone, and “safe.”
Greta Hill, of Greta Hill Wellness, has written, “Change takes us out of our comfort zone and we humans are wired to choose comfort over just about everything else… even when the comfortable place is not happy, or healthy, and sometimes not even safe. We would rather stay in an unhappy relationship than go through the pain of the breakup and having to seek love all over again. We would rather be a little overweight than go through the discomfort of giving up certain foods even if only for a little while. We would rather stay unhappy in a job we know well than go through the challenge of finding and learning an entirely new skill or career.”
Choices and Stretching:
If we want to win the change game then healing, growth, and success come not with getting rid of behaviors but rather acquiring more choices. If we want to win the change game, it means stretching beyond our comfort level and adding “what if” to our behavior choices. Having more choices gives us the freedom to be uncomfortable while we work to achieve our goals. Choices open up multiple paths of action.
What’s Your *B.A.G.?
I heard a phrase once by Neale Donald Walsch and I think it makes a great inspirational quote: “Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone.”
So, how big is your comfort zone? Are you willing to stretch beyond that edge to achieve those, *Big Audacious Goals?
You will never know how far you can go until you take that stretch to win the game you’re playing.