Self sabotage is the actions with consequences inflicted upon your Self that cause you a painful present and/or future.
Take the time today to recognize examples of self sabotage in your life so you can stop them from now into the future.
Self sabotage is one of the seven causes of short & long term failure.
It’s often the most embarrassing because it’s consequences are self induced.
You do some of these behaviors yourself and you observe many more of them when you look at your friends, family and co-workers. One thing is for sure, if you begin fixing these acts of sabotage now, life gets better quickly.
Fortunately no matter how stupid someone behaves today, there is a pretty good chance that the problems caused by self sabotage can be repaired. But avoidance of the disease is the best choice of all.
The first form of self sabotage is Time Sabotage. This one is simple. Someone begins a brilliantly planned project today. They work very hard for a week or a month or six months and they are so shocked at the end of six months that they have earned no money or worse. Often have lost thousands then they walk away.
There is a big difference between working with a carefully constructed plan vs. no plan. The project with no strategic plan simply can’t happen in the first place. But when you’ve taken the time, troubleshooter the trek and execute flawlessly and then walk away that is also indicative of a Fear of Success.
Note 1 – [The first 40-45 hours per week, most non-service entrepreneurs works simply can’t pay off. The hours after 40-45 tend to pay off in gold nuggets.]
[Service businesses like lawn mowing, snow plowing, landscaping, gardening can pay off handsomely in days or weeks; while brilliantly planned businesses relying on sales of products far more often require 6 – 18 months to pay off.]
The second type of self sabotage is Explosive Sabotage.
This is also very simple. People who decide with their emotions and feelings without evaluating all the information available are sabotaging their future. The impact of decisions made today and how they impact you/them 1, 3, or even 5 years later are too explosive to be allowed to be made in the heat of a moment.
These people not only can’t succeed, they can bring their world down into a host of financial problems or worse. All decisions made with only one’s feelings, instead of bias free thinking are at massive risk for destruction.
The third type of self sabotage is Key under the Doormat Sabotage.
Giving the wrong person the keys to your house/car/bank account/trust fund/children happens every day. Most people wouldn’t give a stranger the keys to their house as they leave town. But people will give people the keys to their lives, their savings, their possessions to people who have no track record for behaving responsibly in similar situations. This sabotage is also referred to as (or overlaps with) Misidentification of Character Sabotage.
The fourth type of self sabotage is Cart before the Horse Sabotage. This person buys a car (or a piece of art which is a “great investment” or they make an “investment” into a new deal a friend is working on, because it is a “really good deal.”
They do this before they can afford with certainty to have money for car insurance, maintenance, gasoline, calculated resale of the vehicle after payments are made, and mistreatment of the asset (in this case a car).
Imagine you give someone a grenade who has never seen a grenade. They begin to look at the grenade and become curious and then 20 minutes later the end is very messy. The person needed to LEARN what the item was they were holding and how to treat it. (Read and have the “manual” available and I don’t mean online.)
A lot of clients I’ve worked with over the years have done this in their personal life, their business projects, or both.
Here are the statements I hear that reinforce the diagnosis of Cart before the Horse Sabotage.
“Kev, I bought this car. It was a really good deal.” You know there is a 99% chance the person is doing something foolish. Products sell for what the person who is willing to spend the MOST money are willing to pay for the product.
“Kev, I bought into this mutual fund/investment… bank/investment…broker/investment… with agent/investment with God…and…it’s a really good deal.” Again, 99% chance the person has done something foolish. Again, products are sold for what the person willing to spend the MOST money are willing to pay for the product.
“Kev, I bought new furniture (a new bed, a new set of drapes, a kitchen table, coffee table…whatever) that will hold it’s value and maybe even be worth a lot of money someday.”
Yeah…no. If Marilyn Monroe didn’t sit in it, there is a 99.99% chance this person has committed a foolish act. [I live in a community of wealthy people who are constantly selling used furniture they paid THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS for, for 10 cents on the dollar… if they are lucky.
“I bought a new house and it was a bargain!”
Yes it is, you were robbed. 99% chance person has screwed up for believing they got a “good deal.” If it could sell for $25,000; more why didn’t the seller sell it for $25,000 more?
I read a book this week that suggested putting all your eggs in one basket. He used a different metaphor with the same point. What do you think? Good idea?
The fifth type of self sabotage is putting all of your eggs in one basket.
Basket Sabotage. People who take their assets and put them into 1 or 2 baskets vs. 9 or 10 baskets are begging for a simple gust of wind to come and blow down their basket of eggs.
One gust of wind in a decade or two decades is all that is required to take this person’s life work and watch it evaporate to theft or mismanagement.
It sounds like EVERY expenditure is a fools purchase. That can not be correct can it?
It’s the qualifying illusion that the individual needs to justify to themselves and the world that they got a “good deal” or “got in early” or “got lucky.”
I bought a brand new king size bed this winter as I anticipated a celebrity guest at my home and I wanted the best experience possible for them. The bed cost an insane amount of money and I know I will get 10% when I sell it…. 10%. To think otherwise would qualify me to be an idiot.
I knew all of this going in, which means I am either a) an idiot or b) the purchase had a more than sensible outcome involved that was worth far more than the cost of the bed itself.
Now THINK: If you buy (or lease) a new automobile in 2017 you will likely be making one of the worst purchases you will make in your life. The auto resale market in 2017 and for the foreseeable future is an absolute disaster. In other words there are so many cars on the market for sale that when you go to sell yours or “trade it in” you will get crushed in the deal.
When I bought my Toyota Sequoia in 2010 it was ONLY with the knowledge I could depreciate the purchase in ONE YEAR, (Thank you President Obama) that year on my taxes, and that it would then be driven into the ground for the next 10 – 20 years. Otherwise you know you need better medication…
There is obviously good news on the other side of this coin. Buying a car from a trusted private party is now a decent response to the market conditions if you need that transportation.
Divisional Sabotage is simple. Two people can live for almost the same cost as one, if they live in the same house/apartment. Living in two locations is begging for paying dearly. You can always get a second or even third place to live but do it when money is easily available and the purchase doesn’t impact your lifestyle in any significant way.
Most people who live with 3 cars or even 2 cars, typically don’t need the second or third automobile. And because automobiles are not just incredibly expensive but insanely expensive to own, you ask for the impossible with Multiple Wounds Sabotage.
Some acts of self sabotage don’t just carry one price. Without Multiple Wounds Sabotage you pay a price many times. A little forethought can save a lot of pain and a lot of domino effect problems.
Hiring inadequate advisors is Madness Sabotage. Never do it. Never. Ever.
While we are on the subject of Madness Sabotage… you should hire ONE mentor UNTIL you have success then ADD a second mentor that possesses the skills the first one doesn’t. Perhaps your first mentor will guide you to success then your second mentor will get you to spiritual enlightenment 5 years later. (Do this in the reverse order and you will go broke and not be enlightened either)
Signature Sabotage. Anytime you are going to sign your name to something, be certain a) you have read the document CAREFULLY and always ask for answers to your questions like “what the hell is that?” I was asked to sign a contract this week citing legal codes. I can google those codes but if I have to sign a document with legal codes entered in…what does that tell you? Do not enter into Signature Sabotage.
Once you sign your name you are in a relationship. Until you sign your name, you probably aren’t. b) before you sign something, understand the GIST of the document in addition to technical hair splits. Specifically?
Is it friendly or hostile? Friendly means you are trying to help each other out. Hostile means you are watching one person preparing to take advantage of another.
Cultural Sabotage (Nationalism) – aka Ignorance Sabotage – If you really believe your stock market, your cars or your houses are better because they are yours take up space in your country you are ….well you know. Yeah.
“Made in China” used to mean… really bad. Today it is unusual because China buys stuff now. Their stock market is actually viable for the next few decades.
Similarly the idea that my country is safer/better/cooler/whatever is a self imposed arrogance. It might be! But did you test? Did you actually think about it? Cultural Sabotage takes you away from EVERY other opportunity on the planet and limits you to what you are FAMILIAR with.
I spent time in Italy last year. I never dreamed I could live there until I went to Bellagio. I made a couple of trips to Bulgaria in the last year. Bulgaria is a very different culture from any American subculture.
I went into the pharmacy and I can wrote my own prescriptions. (This is a plus.) But when the medication is not available the pharmacist is convinced that the herbs she sells…are on a par with the medication as far as impact. (And they might be, I simply need persuasive evidence.)
Point is, you figure out what you like, what you don’t, and know that other people like their culture because they are familiar with it and they think your culture is inferior because they aren’t really familiar with it.
Clue: I learned from my experience in Bulgaria.
Most common non-personal questions when I got home from Bulgaria were what didn’t I like about it. I said, “Corruption” and care of the disabled and disadvantaged. People wanted to know about corruption. My first gut response was, “it’s worse,” my second was “they actually suck at it compared to U.S. Banks and our Federal Reserve. Maybe the U.S. is better at everything after all…
Ignorance Sabotage is bad stuff because you can never be intelligent when you are ignorant…
Opportunity Sabotage. If you get a chance to spend the day with Warren Buffet or Paul McCartney, you should probably take it, right?
You learn a lot from hanging out with smart, talented and wise people.
When you do NOT take advantage of REAL opportunities (not to be confused with “great deals”) you are committing Opportunity Sabotage. REAL opportunities don’t come around every day in life. In fact, REAL opportunities don’t come around often at all because they are snatched up by the wise.
When you have a chance, a real opportunity, SEIZE it.
He/she may never come around again. Snap up excellence and excellent futures. You may not get another great chance.
Advice Sabotage. Some people simply ask the wrong people for advice. In general, depressed people give MUCH better advice than “happy” or “optimistic” people. Similarly, people who are skilled at what you are asking advice about are good choices. People in particularly good OR bad moods are lousy people to ask for advice.
Your life can literally cease to exist if you ask advice of the wrong people.
Make damn sure you have a good reason to ask the people you ask.
I have a handful of people in my world I ask advice from. One is Gary Moon. Gary thinks fast about things from 5 different directions. Most decisions that are facing me need quick decisions.
(Successful people make 100 decisions in a month. Normal people make 100 decisions in one year.)
I have found myself asking him for advice a number of times and never once did I go wrong. Same is true for Scott Bell. Ask questions in their wheel house and you get gold. The best people to ask for advice are people in my Inner Circle. I only accept people who I would want their advice.
(A few that come to mind are Dan Young, Rhonda Johnson, George Athan, et al.) I love to have access to the best brains and hearts in the world. If you are surrounded by brilliance, take advantage of it. I do.
Cessation Sabotage. You have the right girl or guy. You have the right group, the right team. And you intentionally (it seems) go and say something to push them away. Cessation Sabotage is a serious challenge because it is NON-conscious.
Cessation Sabotage is worth a BOOK but in simple terms, when you are with someone you want in your life, slow your thinking process down so you don’t let your unconscious mind blurt out Sigmund’s Freud. I see it all the time. It’s fascinating and painfully real.
Believer Sabotage. I could listen to conservative talk radio or read the Huff Post. They’re the same thing for my purposes. I like to know what people are being programmed to believe. If you read or listen closely, you can figure out what the other side is saying. That means you know what people passionately believe.
Humans are believers of whoever and whatever (herbs, medicine, soft drinks, exercise, you name it) and you simply ask, “how do you know?” until you get the answer.
Believer Sabotage happens when someone becomes part of ANY group and they are all in the group because of reason X. For example: I like whales. So I am cool to save the whales.
I REALLY like dolphins…I’m not convinced I’m smarter than dolphins. (check it out sometime, it’s pretty amazing how smart they are!) So I want them “saved” too. They are conscious and more awake than humans in their decision making.
This is not the problematic element. The problem begins when the dolphin group starts talking about food or dog training or religion or something that has some strong belief attached to that issue that seems to fit with saving dolphins.
Believer Sabotage happens when you discover A is correct but then presume that B, C, D are also correct because the same group said so. It’s impossible to overstate how foolish people become when they begin to believe B, C, D because A was correct.
There are two DOZEN more types of self sabotage but you can begin to see what people do to themselves.
Why is it that people can get something going, then all of a sudden they stop doing something that would have been OBVIOUSLY successful?
- What is it that causes some astute people to RECOGNIZE when opportunity knocks, then they fail to say, “YES!”
- Why can we KNOW all the right things to do…and still blow it?
- Do you know someone who met their quota by Wednesday and took the rest of the week off?
- Have you ever heard of someone have a job interview Thursday but seemed to feel sick on Wednesday so canceled the interview?
- A man doesn’t ask a woman out because he thinks she is too pretty for him.
- You know as well as I do that the first 40 hours of work you perform each week pays your bills and keeps your employer in business. How many people do you know who actually have another venture they are dedicating their life to outside that 45? Right…not many.
- You know as well as I do that the most important thing you can do every month is invest in your SELF. How many people do you know who actually invest in themSELF every month by investing in an IRA or something that will grow (ie your own business) that will take care of YOU when you no longer can?
We’ve all been there. I have. Yes. On many occasions I have had the gold in my hands and failed to close my palms and keep it. It happens a lot less often in 2017 than it did in 1992 though, and here’s the story…
The answer is in the brain…
[For another useful take on self sabotage, check out our friends over at inlpcenter.org for their thoughts.]
The Emotional Brain and the Thinking Brain
Without getting too darned sophisticated…the older animal part of the brain, also thought of as the emotional brain, is prewired at birth. As the first couple of years of human life happen, most of the connections in the brain atrophy while those regularly used strengthen. (This is true of the evolutionarily newer brain on the top of the older brain but we’ll get to this in a moment.)
The emotional brain is an almost instinctive and “unconscious part” of the total brain network. It simply does stuff and reacts in ways that seem to be survival oriented for the self and for the future gene pool of the self. Not too much conscious “thought” goes on. It just happens…
The newer part of the brain is the stuff on top. We’ll call it the cortex. The stuff on top developed last in the history of evolution and it develops last as the baby grows in the womb and ultimately continues growing after birth. This part of the brain loves to be inspired to do new things, to change, to consider possibilities, is moral, thoughtful and wants to do the right thing. It actually can be a pretty “conscious” part of who you are as a person.
The connections from the emotional brain to the thinking brain are very strong and many.
The connections leading back down to the emotional brain from the thinking brain are weaker and fewer.
This causes a problem in humans: We can get lots of good ideas but whatever is programmed both from nature and particularly the first couple of years of nurture will usually “run” the person. Significant change is very unlikely in the average person because our environments generally discourage change. Let’s look at an example:
- Why don’t people invest more in themselves as far as education and less in entertainment? The reason is simple. It takes mental effort to learn anything more than currently fits into our current beliefs (all of which were programmed in by others and nature long ago). Therefore it’s much easier to simply go with the flow and be in the moment…doing what feels good now instead of learning new information that could change our lives. The instant reward of food, drink, anything that feels pleasant is far more compelling to the human animal than to save for the future, educate for future. KEY: Learning anything NEW that conflicts with current programming or significantly modifies it is generally rejected in favor of doing that which is familiar and has instantly predictable results.
- Why don’t people go apply for the new job? Why don’t they ask the girl for a date? The answer is the same. There are no neural connections for these new experiences. In other words, the brain has no familiarity with the unfamiliar environments. I’ve talked with prisoners inside of penal institutions and do you know what they fear? That’s right: Leaving. Years of new neural connections have re-wired the brain to where getting OUT of jail becomes unattractive at the limbic/emotional level. The person KNOWS that getting out SHOULD be a GOOD thing but the emotional brain has gone through years of rewiring to make it a fearful event. KEY: (REPEAT) Learning ANYTHING new that conflicts with current programming or significantly modifies it is generally rejected in favor of doing that which is familiar and has INSTANTLY predictable results.
Self-sabotage is most often the conscious/unconscious acts of the limbic brain overcoming the wiser, more thoughtful thinking brain.
Starting Steps to Stop Self Sabotage Now! Forever!
The critical element, as you have already discovered, in self-sabotage is that in order to overcome self defeating behaviors, you must rewire the hard drive of your brain. Here is where you can begin right now…
- Take out a sheet of paper and write about your ideal life. In other words, 5 years from now, what would you like your life to be… in a very specific fashion.You must create explicit mental images (including as many senses as possible) first. Take up as many sheets of paper as possible writing about your desired, ideal life. This is the critical step that creates the foundation for change to be permanent. On a neurological level this exercise accomplishes the communication of neurons that haven’t communicated before. You are literally introducing neurons to each other like neighbors that haven’t ever met. It’s a bit awkward and uncomfortable but the beginnings of bonding have begun.
- You must take your current mental picture of who you are and your current behavior, which isn’t necessarily your “fault” and thoroughly write about that. This is your current self.
- Earthquake: Hopefully this will create the earthquake effect. One of two things will happen. You will find what scientists call: Information Gap Theory. The gap is too wide to bridge and you will simply give up and return to your old behaviors. OR You will have an earthquake in your brain that will cause you to see what you can start doing NOW to get you to where you REALLY want to go in life. The earth quakes, it resettles, some damage is done…and then it stops. You forge new trails and create a plan to achieve/acquire/meet the life you want to live at the “thinking brain” level.
Do this ONE TIME and do it as instructed.
Imagine yourself performing NEW behaviors that will overcome the self sabotaging emotional brain. Know that the physical act of overcoming will ultimately rewire the emotional brain and after six months or one year, the old behaviors will be as foreign to you as the freedom of the outside is to a prisoner!
Note: No matter what anyone tells you – this process of rewiring takes massive EFFORT every day to physically do and install these new behaviors. It will take an enormous amount of self-discipline and dramatic planning to overcome the more challenging behaviors of self-sabotage. In addition you can’t simply do this as mental rehearsal and have long term success. You must actually get out and DO those behaviors regardless of inertia. You must begin to link up the behaviors to the thoughts of the thinking brain so you can begin to experience new emotions and feelings about yourself.
Self-sabotage is NOT easy to overcome but this plan works and if you implement it now you will change your life and life the life you dream.
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