Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mental Principle #4: Leave your shortcomings in the past, they are not who you are

By shortcomings I am addressing those things about you that are holding you back from being more successful and I don't mean being slower than most or smaller or something physical, I mean behavioral shortcomings such as lack of discipline, fear, emotional eating, etc. Denial is like quick sand, the more you resist and defend your shortcomings, the more stuck you get in them and the less people want to help you pull out of them. There is also another profound saying we should all memorize, "Whatever you resist will persist". Even when we are trying to change a behavior or somebody else's we often start by resisting it first because we don't like it, but that only brings more negative emotion to it. When you know someone who is stuck they probably are not opening up and admitting to the deeper behavioral reasons for their shortcomings.

The first step towards overcoming shortcomings is admittance to the shortcomings, which for many "proud" guys can be their real breakthrough. Usually the behaviors that hold us back are obvious to others, so a tough but powerful exercise is to simply ask people you deal with often and care about you, what the top 1-2 things are and don't deny them. For other people they will easily and frequently tell you all the intricacies of their many shortcomings (self sabotaging behavior), so much so that these sad, often humor laced "victim stories" seem to be all twisted up in their identity. We've all heard phrases like, "I am a late night eater" "I just hate working out" "My body just doesn't loose weight easily" "I'm a drinker, I have to drink" "I always start off good and then drop out in a month" and on and on to infinity. I am always taken back by the matter of fact, concrete tone of these phrases, as if they are part of their genetic coding.
dark brown logo

These issues are not who you are. I'll say it again, these shortcomings and stories you have embedded in your head as part of your identity are not who you are, this is only how you have been in the past and you can change it at any moment you choose. The successful approach to dealing with our shortcomings is to completely admit to and accept our past short-comings, but then you must truly let them go from your identity and leave them in the past as who you were being, not who you are. When you can make that separation and let go of the past, you can decide right now in the present how you want to be to have more success and start being that way. This is the often unseen and unused power of now. The power to realize the past is over and has nothing to do with the present or the future. That you can take on a new persona, new beliefs, new thoughts and actions right now!

As humans we have a major tie to this concept of identity, but we are not solid or unchanging, we are given a new opportunity every second to choose to be however we want to be, so drop the false beliefs about who you are, i.e. were, and take back the controls to start being who you want to be and you'll find success.
"I used to think I was just innately a lazy non athletic person, at least that was my story I told people when I was asked to do active stuff. I was inspired to try to train for a short race and when I completed it something finally clicked. Now I have completed several triathlons and I realize it was only how I saw myself that was holding me back."

dark brown logo"The past is history, the future is a mystery, and today is a gift, that's why they call it the present."
- Eleanor Roosevelt

Let go of the past and be positively in the present. Decide how you want to be and start being. Look at the ways of thinking, talking, acting and more generally just "being" about your goal that led to your failures or shortcomings in the past. Once you've got that nailed down, work on doing the exact opposite. First it will feel awkward to try out this new way of being, the words will be new it won't feel like "you" but with practice it will feel more comfortable and when the positive feedback and success starts rolling in you'll have turned the tide.

Remember: Shifting our language (our connection to meaning) can help to shift our mindset, thoughts, beliefs and eventually actions.

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