You Are Sabotaging Your Potential
"Walking home with no one left, speak softly underneath my breath 'Hey world, you ain't seen nothing yet', great now it's raining" - John Mayer
This lyric, taken from John Mayer's 'Whiskey, Whiskey, Whiskey' on his album 'Born and Raised' (my favorite album start to finish across any genre of all time) basically sums up life as I most of us know it.
We are all accustom to loneliness to a certain extent. We all understand what it is like to be "walking home with no one left", so I won't dive too deeply into how that line applies to our lives. However, I do believe we've yet to adequately explore the real causation of our "speaking softly underneath our breath" moments. We've yet to acknowledge that we are addicted to self sabotage and pity.
Every great epiphany and event of history was a solution to a problem. We live in a world innately swimming with problems. Both internal and external, each and every one of us experience a share of problems. The greats among us have found it in themselves to endure enough loneliness to find themselves speaking underneath their breath, "Hey world, you ain't seen nothing yet!" and then acting upon it with a spirit of tenacity and fearlessness.
Finding yourself in a moment of desperation is a feeling we are all familiar with. You have been there before, right? Feeling disenchanted with your job or relationships - feeling cheated and unfairly ignored and undervalued. We have all found ourselves at the end of our ability to tolerate something unjust. So we decide we'll change. We decide we'll read the self help books, eat our greens, hit the gym, and go to therapy.
It's an exhilarating experience to be on the fringes of change. It's euphoric to taste the summer beach air, as you throw out all the junk food in your house, sign up for a gym membership and imagine your future toned body walking sea side. It's beautiful to think about leaving an abusive partner and imagine the loving touch of the one who will treat you right someday. It's fun to dream. And there's no better time to dream than when you find yourself putting your current way of life to bed, reopening your possibilities.
Everybody has found themselves in this position. It's an innately idealistic state of mind. It rarely considers the depths of hard work it takes to maintain commitment to a new diet and exercise regimen. It hardly gives enough credit to the power that loneliness will have over you when your former partner is no longer in the picture.
If these realities do happen to occur to us though, we usually end up fearful and ultimately decide to stay put in our current situation. If not that, we'll find ourselves a couple days, weeks, or months into the process of change, unprepared for the difficulty, and we ultimately quit and come back crawling to the temporary pleasures of fast food and the touch of an abusive ex. Then, the cycle repeats.
We are addicted to epiphanies. Most of us, who claim to want to change, actually just want the euphoria of the 'speak softly underneath my breath' moment. So in a sort of strange, twisted way, we will pull tricks on ourselves, inadvertently placing ourselves back in situations we hate, so that we can break again, so that we can feel the rush of deciding to reinvent ourselves once more. We put up blinders. We forget the lessons we have learned, and hurt ourselves in the same way over and over again, so that we can heal ourselves in the same way over and over again because, well.... it feels good to heal.
We don't realize it, but we are setting ourselves up for failure. It's easy and it feels good to be pitied. So we give ourselves reasons to feel victimized. We act upon epiphanies until things get too hard, blame systemic injustice, mental health, and family members, go back to where we started, and work back up to our next big revelation, which is the same revelation disguised as something new. This cycle is endless until we become aware of it.
The difference between success and non success is not who had the best idea. We have all had our moments of clarity, where we know what needs to get done. We have all had our 'speaking softly underneath my breathe' moment. The difference between success and non success is the reaction to the 'great, now it's raining' moment.
This is the inevitable obstacle, hurling toward anybody trying to accomplish anything. Real, lasting change happens when it rains, and we fight like to hell to maintain our enthusiasm. Real, lasting change happens when we don't see results, yet we press on. Most of us would rather cut our losses when hardship strikes, start over, and work for our next moment of clarity.
There is very real work involved in change. The desire to change, despite being so brilliantly exhilarating, and albeit hard to work yourself up to, is still only step one in accomplishing anything. Nothing great has ever been accomplished by an epiphany alone. All great accomplishments are accompanied by great deals of consistency and hard work. If you have an epiphany, resist the temptation to give up on it. Act on your wishful thinking. Breathe life into your dreams. Don't accept failure and hope for another epiphany.