Why Can’t We Do What We Know Is Good for Ourselves?
You're drowning in a sea of good intentions—telling yourself you have to break this lousy habit, change that rotten relationship, write that life-changing letter...so why don't you do it?
Do Discover The Power of Calm
People consistently offer me large sums of money just to say, "You'll be fine." They do this even though I tell them it works almost as well to say it to themselves. Kind self-talk is an incredibly effective way to calm fear and motivate action.
"After my divorce, I was 52 and penniless," my client Mara recalls. "But I'd gotten away from a frightening man, and I just decided to calm myself down. Every time I began to worry, I'd say, 'Mara, everything's fine. You've always been able to make your way, and you always will. There's no rush.' And I was right. Once I was calm, I felt drawn to do things that made me more friends and money than I thought possible."
It seems so simple, but I've seen this strategy work over and over. When people stop scaring themselves and start calming themselves, they become far more productive and successful in every aspect of their lives. Try it right now, so you can use it the next time you're scared. Silently tell yourself simple things like "It's okay." "You're all right." "There's no rush." "You can do this." You'll be amazed at the power of this humble mental-management technique to help you turn knowledge into action.
Don't Fight Yourself
When I met Sally, she was married to a wealthy banker who bought her everything she thought her heart desired—jewelry, clothes, furniture. These things, however, were what Sally's head desired, but her heart actually longed for the company of creative, bohemian people who had little concern for gobs of cash.
Sally had been at war with herself most of her life. Her socialized side was competing with her inner nature. In the corporate world, destructive internal competition widens companies' knowing-doing gaps. Individuals are just as susceptible: Holding two sets of competing beliefs paralyzes them.
Do Stop The Inner Arm Wrestle
If you feel stuck in some area of your life, it's because contradictory beliefs are competing for control of your behavior. The problem is that we're not always aware there is a private struggle going on. One way to figure out if you're in the middle of an inner conflict is to write down a basic belief that's driving behavior you want to change. For example, you may want to get out of a relationship but believe something like "I have to keep every commitment I ever made." After writing down the belief, write the polar opposite of that statement ("I don't have to keep every commitment"). Are there circumstances in which those opposing statements ring true?