The Fine Art of Self-Sabotage

Human beings are excellent at finding reasons to not do things. It’s part of our nature, part of the reason we have been so successful at long life spans. We are programmed to not take chances, to not extend beyond our comfort zone.

Step out of the cave = get eaten by a sabertooth tiger.
Try a different material to make a tool = risk the end result not performing as well.
Move to someplace new = risk having to obtain resources differently.
I have two major things happening in my life currently; relocating to a new city without a job and starting a creative venture with a friend. Both should fill me with excitement, but mostly they leave me paralyzed with fear.
Since I can’t see the ways in which these things are going to succeed and help me grow, I, of course, can only see the ways in which these endeavors will fail. I am programmed, in fact, to see these things as dangerous. Moving without a guaranteed source of income and perhaps…I never get a paycheck again? This sends my life into a downward spiral of destitution, naturally. Although, I’ve never had trouble obtaining a job if I wanted one, and yet my brain is telling me that if I have to get a new one, it will never happen. This flies in the face of over 22 years (2/3 of my life) of verifiable experience, but my brain still seems to in panic mode.
Even though I know that my current position is not for me and the current city we live in is not for us, in fact both are rather detrimental to our health, happiness, and the pursuit of fulfilling lives, I’m still desperately struggling with the idea of leaving either for the possibility of something not guaranteed.
One of the worst things we can do when we set our minds to something new is spending too much time researching all the hurdles and pitfalls that will inevitably befall us as soon as we take one step in a different direction. The world is filled with people who are “experts” and now that they have broken through the barriers separating amateurs and professionals they have decided to bless us with lists of all the things that we could do wrong that will undoubtedly destroy our who endeavor.
One of the most common trains of thought that I constantly come across from these people is this: sure, I did this when I first started, but it was wrong, and even though I succeeded after doing this thing wrong, you will fail if you try the same thing.
Where exactly is the logic in this idea? The thought that early failure that led to later success can only be executed by a single individual and everyone else following in their wake will be destined to disaster. The problem is we read these things and believe them. They are, after all, just validating all the fears that were already brewing inside of us.
I knew I would fail and here this person just proved it to me!
If nothing else, every human being is an expert and sabotaging themselves, at stopping a new line of thinking in its tracks that has the potential to reformulate our concept of what is possible.
After all, what thought could be more disturbing than this? That the only thing keeping you from potential happiness and success isn’t the world and all its perceived obstacles, in fact it’s just you.
Our comfort zones are tiny things, infinitesimal in all reality, while the world of possibilities is seemingly endless, no end point has ever been discovered, nor ever will be.

2 Responses to “The Fine Art of Self-Sabotage

  • Terrific post — I think we can all relate to the fear of failure. However, I know that you will succeed in whatever you put your mind to, so try not to worry. Take your own amazing advice!

    Also… More posts! More cartoons!

  • Great post! I have to agree with the self sabotage part. Getting up every day and doing something is the most important part. Incremental steps, every day. Make the habit, and the results slowly come. I live in a large city and the days I will continue living in it are numbered. Good luck with the new ventures!

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