Hey guys, welcome back to the Total Danarchy lifestyle podcast. It’s been a while, and for that I apologize. So what do we have here? My goal with this podcast is to help you become the person you want to be. Today, we’re going to be talking about the most common obstacle to success and what you can do about it.
As usual, I don’t have any sponsors, so if you want to support this podcast, subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher, and definitely like me on Facebook, Twitter, etc. That’s it for the self-promotion? Pretty painless, right?
I’m all about streamlining. Making things easier, faster, more efficient. That’s why I try to use the 80-20 rule whenever possible. I won’t get into that right now, but just understand it’s the ultimate in honing in on the most effective stuff. Because of this, I’m always looking for the little things that provide the biggest returns.
These often lead me to the answer to questions like, “What’s the single most important thing…” or “If you could only teach one thing about…” or even “What’s the biggest obstacle in…”
That’s what today’s episode is about. We go to the mailbag for this one, and the question comes from Jarc in the Abyss forums. Jarc writes:
“What’s the single biggest obstacle to success? If you had to pick just one thing that keeps people from success, what would it be?”
Well, Jarc, that is a very good question. Because everything is connected. It all starts and ends in the mind. You have to have the right mindset, one that isn’t paralyzed with fear. (Check out Episode 4: Fear is Fiction).
So what are we seeing here? The mindset, the fear, bad habits, poor decisions. These are all inhibitors of success. But all of those are direct offspring of mindset. So what are some of the reasons people like to give? I don’t have time. I don’t have the money. I don’t know how to do it. I’m not talented. It’s too hard. I’m waiting for the right moment. I’m too old. I’m too young. What will everyone else think?
These are all excuses. None of them are legitimate reasons for not accomplishing your goals. Do you wanna know why? Because they’re not the real reason. They’re symptoms of the real reason. You have to treat the cure here. The real reason is you. You are the only obstacle between you and success. Everything else is just justification for not doing what you gotta do to get where you want to be. Each excuse is a buffer so you can avoid the pain of rejection or failure.
Because it hurts.
You tell yourself that thing you’re doing wasn’t going to work out. And you’re right. Because you just made it a self-fulfilling prophecy.
But you know what? Every excuse you come up with is you rejecting yourself. It’s a guaranteed fail. You just stepped on your own dick. So why doesn’t that hurt? Why aren’t you pissed at yourself? If anyone else came and told you the same bullshit you tell yourself, you would be livid. I would be. It’s easy to sit here and say to someone else, “You don’t talk to me like that. You better watch your mouth.”
So why do we do it to ourselves? Because we’re scared. We’re afraid to fail. So we do mental acrobatics to get out of even having to try. But those are all lies. We ask ourselves why aren’t we getting anywhere? What’s going on? There’s a great Zen proverb that says, “Man stands in his own shadow and wonders why it’s dark.”
That's about as apt as it gets.
The truth is, we start to believe the excuses. We may even get past the fear of starting, only to sabotage any of our efforts. Why do we sabotage our plans? We do it because then it doesn’t hurt as bad. Because you still get to feel like you tried without having to experience the pain of failure. You can come out feeling like it was your decision somehow. You can half-ass it. People often do this with relationships. It’s not just fear of failure that inhibits people, there is fear of success.
Fear of success is common.
Sometimes the fear of success stems from a subconscious belief that you don’t deserve it. Like the relationships example. People sabotage good relationships because they have such low self-esteem that they don’t believe they deserve it. So they sabotage the relationship earlier on to avoid having the other person “discover” their unworthiness later on down the road. They think they will save the other person the trouble. Which is pure bullshit by the way. All this does is ensure that you keep ending up with the same types of people over and over and over.
Because there are patterns. Don’t keep doing the same things and keep wondering why everyone you date sucks. “Man stands in his own shadow and wonders why it’s dark.” Being able to recognize when you’re contributing to the issue is the key to solving it, the key to change.
In all of these cases, you are the obstacle. You are the ONLY obstacle between yourself and success. Something may seem like a legitimate obstacle, but it’s not the true obstacle. Let me explain. Say the obstacle is you don’t think you have the time for learning a new language. You’re busy. You know that learning a new language requires dedication, discipline. Time would appear to be a legitimate logistical issue. But that’s not the issue.
The issue is that once you identify a hindrance — real or imagined — your decision to allow that hindrance to be a deal-breaker becomes the real obstacle. Let’s look at one more example to illustrate this concept.
Lets say your significant other texts you but you can’t text back because your phone dies right after. That’s a legitimate issue. But what if you decided to never charge your phone? That kind of puts it into perspective. You chose not to handle the issue, which is a clear indicator that there is a different issue.
“Welp, guess I can’t text her back. My phone’s dead.” Only like, forever. Your significant other would be right to say that it had nothing to do with the dead battery. The issue is you.
You are getting in your own way. You are hindering you. By finding excuses, you are choosing to fail right out of the gate. This is the principle for everything. You see a hot person you want to meet, but you talk yourself out of it. You just rejected yourself. You did that. Not the other person. You. You’re the asshole.
“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” -Benjamin Franklin
Learn to recognize this and then you can start the process of respecting yourself enough that you don’t put up with it. You see? If you can respect yourself enough not to take any bullshit from other people, you can learn to start being straight with yourself. And that means being able to admit when you’re making excuses.
Don’t let yourself get away with it. Being able to call yourself out on this will also teach you to quit finding blame only in external sources. By pushing blame onto something outside ourselves, we rid ourselves of all responsibility. It’s always something else’s fault. Never our own.
Stop that right now. Development the mindset that enables you to see how you contribute to every situation, and shore up any weaknesses you have that may be making a situation unfavorable. Others will often refuse to do this, as they cannot handle the pain of feeling like they are at fault in any way. Develop the confidence to withstand such discomfort. In doing so, you’ll be in a better place to overcome yourself as an obstacle and you’ll attain more goals along the way.
And these are just the obvious things (and even they aren’t so obvious). When you look hard enough you can start seeing the excuses. Here’s a great example about what we’re talking about. I’ve been watching the show Ink Master on Hulu. It’s a tattoo competition, where they do challenges and their tattoos are critiqued until one of them is the winner. It’s a cool show. On season three is this guy, Joshua. Everyone hates him because he’s an instigator. He’s an antagonist. They have this thing where the winner of the preliminary “flash” challenge gets to match up the other artists with their clients for the elimination challenge. Naturally, they give the people they don’t like the harder tattoos in hopes that they get eliminated.
All season long everyone is gunning for Joshua. He thinks it’s because he’s the best tattoo artist, but the truth is everything hates him because he’s an asshole. In his mind, he’s there to win, which is fair, but he says it’s part of his strategy. He’s just playing the game. And he thinks that’s why everyone hates him. The problem with that, though, is that they’re all playing the game. They all give the harder tattoos to the people they want eliminated. Everyone does that. They even admit it. But yet Joshua still thinks they hate him because he plays this game.
He cannot see that they hate him because he’s annoying and a dick. He also cannot see that he can still play the same game that everyone else is playing WITHOUT being a dick, and he’d get much farther.
He could not see that he was the obstacle for himself. He could not see his contribution to the problem. He just blamed everyone else. It became their issue. They’re jealous. They are intimidated. Every excuse he could think of as long as it wasn’t him.
Don’t be like that. Always look to see how you might be contributing to any situation, be it interactions with others, your relationship, your job, or your goals. How are you obstructing yourself from getting what you want? What role are you playing? What can you do to fix it?
I hope that answers your question, Jarc. Until next time, please subscribe to this podcast, find me on social media, and check out the Abyss forums at totaldanarchy.com/abyss. We need you! Come talk with us, it’s a cool place to hang out. And if you have a question, hit me up on Twitter, the official FB page, or on the forums (there’s a forum specifically for this podcast). That’s enough outta me, guys, so stay cool, stay sexy, stay reasonable. Alright, I’m outta here.