The human ego is a very powerful little tool. It likes to jump in front of us, like some kind of invisible shield to protect our frail minds from the big bad world. One of the methods our ego likes to use is to convince us that there are legitimately good reasons why we do stupid stuff.
It’s so good at this that it begins to believe its own lies. We become deluded, oblivious to the weaknesses that are infesting our day to day lives. The truth gets pushed deeper into our subconscious until eventually we engage our inner autopilot feature and we become zombies, wandering aimlessly through life, barely stopping to question who we are, where we are going and how we even arrived there.
The only way to remove the ego from this decision making process is to embrace your core values and allow your subconscious to guide you on the right path.
The following 4 lies are created as a means to protect us from the unknown, from the possibility of failure and thus a damaged ego. Recognise them, challenge them and ultimately remove them.
1. I’m just waiting for the right time
Almost 4 years ago I was stuck in one of my many dead end jobs and life was punching me in the balls. It does that occasionally.
For some unknown reason I had the brilliant idea of embracing my inner nomad and to get started with this travelling the world nonsense that everyone seems to do these days. I had no reason to stick around. My job sucked, I was single and I had no real ties other than to my bed.
I love my bed.
Honestly, this idea excited me to such an extent that I started to learn German. Who the hell learns German as a second language? Only two countries speak the damned thing (I don’t count the Swiss) and the grammar still makes me cry like a little girl.
I had planned it all out in my mind – the countries I would visit and the route I would take. It was to be an awesome adventure. I would take on the role of Jean Claude Van Damme from one of his mid-90’s action fests – venturing into some unnamed town to order whiskey at the local saloon, kick some redneck’s ass and romance the ladies. Not necessarily in that order either.
It didn’t quite work out like that I’m afraid to say.
I had enough money to go away for a couple of months and literally no excuses apart from the lack of clean underwear. I thought I needed more money and more time to plan my adventure. In reality I was just a wimp who lacked the courage to do something crazy. I was scared to lose my job, even though I hated it and I was even more terrified of leaving my cess pit of a country for pastures new.
I suppose I took solace from the knowledge that I wasn’t alone here. We all do this; we all make excuses and blame our lack of action on the misguided belief that it’s just not the right time. The reality is that there is no such thing as the right time, well scrap that, there is and that time is anything other than that vague point in future where your underwear will remain full of crap and nothing exciting happens at all.
2. I’m too old for this shit
One of the greatest myths in this crazy little thing called life is the idea that everything has a finite lifespan. Society wants us to believe that we have to get stuff done by a certain age and if we somehow fail to achieve this then there is no point in even trying.
It’s all too easy to become influenced by these expectations. Such numbers create a crushing pressure on our very being and the nearer these arbitrary deadlines get, the worse we feel. Who says that we have to get married and have kids by the age of 30 or that we must have our career sorted out by the age of 25? It’s madness. I believe all this does is actually force us into lives that we can end up hating, and decisions that ultimately conflict with who we are.
A lot of people actually give up on improving themselves after they have reached a certain age and accept that this is their lot. I was never one of these people. I refuse to believe that age is anything but a number.
Last year, at the grand old age of 31, I enrolled on a university degree that I currently do in my spare time. There is nothing wrong with this, of course, but I am now in my thirties and a lot of people have actually told me that I should have done it 10 years ago. I had my doubts, I admit, but the way I see it is that in 2 years I will look back and be so thankful that I had the strength to follow through with my goals.
Roger Murtaugh, Danny Glover’s character in the Lethal Weapon series probably spoke for all of us when he proclaimed that he was indeed ‘too old for this shit’, whilst eyeing up retirement and simultaneously having to put up with a mullet wearing Mel Gibson. No wonder he was exasperated beyond belief. Yet he kept going, even though he ‘should’ have retired long ago.
That is the truth of the matter. There is no age limit, for anything. Who cares if you’re going grey and your hip doesn’t work properly? Go travelling, get those qualifications or change your career.
It’s never too later to go for it. Time will continue to pass no matter what path you choose for yourself, so don’t become that person that looks back on their life with regret and a million excuses. There are far too many of those around and their club doesn’t need another member.
3. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me
We all know someone who casually strolls around with that smug as hell look on their face as they try to convince the world just how confident they really are and how little they care. They are pretty easy to spot; they’ll be the people that you want to slap for being so goddamn annoying.
I knew a woman like this. Everything I did or said was either wrong or totally unfathomable for her to comprehend. She could speak fairly fluent German but on the odd occasion when I was able to test out my poor language skills, she would just openly mock my admittedly pathetic attempts at forming sentences.
“Haha, that’s not how it should be”.
Yes thanks for that missy. I’m well aware it wasn’t correct but I admire your unorthodox attempts at boosting my confidence.
She even told me that my English was poor! I am bloody English you crazy woman, what the hell are you talking about?
“I don’t understand you, so your English is not good”.
You have to love how blunt these Europeans are… to a certain extent.
I told her that she shouldn’t openly criticise someone to their face over something so trivial. There was no need to laugh or to point out my mistakes when trying to speak German, let alone to criticise my own native language speaking capabilities.
Her response was “I don’t care, I like to be honest”.
I was angry with her, but I soon realised something. I knew a guy who had a similar way of communicating – always pointing out flaws and ‘correcting’ someone whilst telling everyone that he doesn’t care if he comes across as annoying.
I realised that these people are incredibly insecure and their ‘screw the world’ attitude is a way to cover up their own lack of confidence. Everyone cares what people think of them, it’s one of the things that make us human. Again most of us do this from time to time, usually when we receive negative feedback.
When I told a friend about this woman I even uttered the words, “I don’t care what she thinks; she’s just crazy”. Of course by virtue of telling this story I DO care what she thinks. If I didn’t care then I wouldn’t have mentioned it to anyone. Instead of trying to push our emotions, insecurities and confidence issues away, we should be accepting everything as only once we do that can we really move on.
Oh and if you ever meet someone who tells you that “people either love me or hate me” then you have my permission to poke them in the eye.
4. It wasn’t my fault
We are taught from an early age that the best way to get out of any sticky situation is to blindly deny that it had anything to do with us. Kids are the best at this. Your chocolate cake goes missing and little Johnny will sit there with half of it covering his face whilst shaking his head and refusing to admit his involvement.
Occasionally the little psychopaths will go one step further and flat out blame something on their brother or sister. Who gives a shit if someone else gets in trouble? As long as they get away with it then all is good in their world. They can go back to destroying ants with a magnifying glass and a totally clear conscience.
This is why it’s so important to teach our future world leaders how to properly behave in social situations, unless you want to raise the next great dictator. Habits form and we carry this blaming game into our adult lives.
Pretty much every argument is followed by the belief that the other person is being completely unreasonable. We all know that every failed marriage or relationship is the fault of the other person, right?
“Yes I cheated but it’s not my fault, she keeps burning my waffles”, nothing to do with his inability to turn down new boobs then…
The blame culture we live in has a knock on effect. With the whole world seemingly innocent, who then takes responsibility for their actions? If you trip up on a banana peel was it someone else’s fault for dropping it in the first place or your fault for not looking where you are going? Take it a little further; if someone punches you in the face, are they being unreasonably violent or did you do something to provoke them?
Generally speaking any time that you blame someone or something else for your behaviour take a look closer to home. Was it really their fault? Or are you just refusing to man up and admit your involvement?
Question – So what lies do you keep telling yourself? Do you know the reasons behind these? Are they harmless? Let me know in the comments!
especially number 4
Lady Bren recently posted..Royalty May Not Be Enough for My Delusions
Thanks, number 4 is probably the hardest one to admit to!
The lie that I’ve been telling myself and more recently began calling bs on is “I don’t want to.” Oh, I didn’t want to do that anyway. Oh, I didn’t really feel like it. It goes on and on.
Lately, I’ve been better about admitting to myself that I’m scared. I know I want to and it’s much better to call myself out on my own bs than to lie.
Vincent recently posted..Using “The Halo Effect” To Make a Good First Impression
You know, I considered adding that as a number 5 but it’s so difficult to work out if our ‘I don’t want to’ is rooted in fear or a genuine lack of interest. It’s not as simple as the others in my opinion. There are times when I have tried to analyse a decision only to find that I am none the wiser as to my reasons.
#1 and #2 really resonates with me. I’m so glad I’ve discovered your website as it doesn’t have a lot of all those positive thinking and magical wishing.
Thanks a lot for your comment Ilsa. I’m glad you found the post inspiring!
No. 2 was something I was very guilty of, so after being made redundant last year I signed up for a Access course (because my GCSE’s are too old!) and will be off to University this September. While I may be old enough to be some of the student’s mum, I am going for it! I’m not old, I’m 18 with 18 years extra experience!
Haha I like it, 36 isn’t too old anyway, I’ll be there in 3 and a bit years! Embrace your inner student and make sure that you start sleeping in, party a lot and have fun with it! You can use those extra 18 years experience to do it properly! 🙂
“I don’t care what people think”, well, I think most of us mean “I don’t care what ‘certain’ people think”.
There is an obvious difference. There are a lot of times my wife used to say something about the way I dress before I go to the store at 11pm to get milk. My hair might be crazy or I’m wearing tartan pj bottoms during the winter. Honestly, it doesn’t bother me and it doesn’t even phase me to think about it.. I really don’t care. The only reason I may stop to think is because she might have said something, but, my pace does stop.. I just keep doing what I’m doing.
However, the point that we do care what people think, in general, I don’t think so but in terms of “people that matter to us in our daily lives” well then, yes of course.
Good thoughts, thanks
Nerf grade introspection
This is such a great resource that you are providing. I love seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource.
Thank you very much and looking forward for more informative articles in the future. Bookmarked!
Every time I read your article, I will laugh and laugh. It is hilarious and yet it is so true. Bravo! I will keep on reading every piece of your work 🙂