Getting in your own way

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We are all the world's best liars when it comes to that little voice in our heads, aren't we? We convince ourselves it's ok to do what we know we shouldn't. Then we convince ourselves it's ok to resist new ideas, put off till tomorrow what we want to do, lie to ourselves about how it's ok to not lose that weight, put off getting our systems in order, trying that new recording, stepping out on that limb or convincing ourselves it's ok to do something we know we shouldn't. How many times have you said "Oh, just this once"? We tell ourselves it's scary, or it's fine and won't be bad for us, or we watch others and wait to see if it's safe. We scour the forums to see what others think before we commit. We routinely lie to ourselves. Our nature is to either resist getting what we want or convincing ourselves to get what we know we shouldn't have.

Just this past weekend I was in the Newark airport waiting for a plane back to Denver when a man collapsed at one of the gates. Plenty of folks went to help. Calls for a doctor went out. I just watched figuring they had enough help. One of the flight attendants started CPR, or at least a half hearted attempt at it. My first impulse was to stay away even though I knew she wasn't getting it right. Why get involved?

I didn't want to let my natural resistance convince me to sit still despite the fact it was trying awfully hard, telling me every good reason not to get involved. But what if that were me? In my heart I knew I should help. I decided to battle my internal resistance and step out on a limb.

I jumped up, found the defibrillator on the wall,opened the case and grabbed the unit (they are everywhere in airports and planes). Would I embarrass myself? Would they tell me to go away? My internal resistance machine was hard at work filling my head with doubts and I was ignoring them.

Two people helping out saw me coming, realized what I had and immediately took the collapsed man's shirt off. I connected the pads according to the diagram and pressed the on button. These machines will never hurt anyone, they are idiot proof and talk you through what to do. These machines assess the patient automatically and decide to shock or not shock. You simply cannot make a mistake. The only mistake you can make is not using one.

"No shock required" said the machine. He was ok. I accomplished nothing that helped the man but did learn yet another valuable lesson of beating back my internal convincing mechanism. And as for being possibly embarrassed? It occurred to me afterwards that all of us helping out had the same doubts, the same fears and it was just my built in resistance machine hard at work that made me think twice.

Every time you want to do something be aware your internal naysayer is going to come forward front and center. It has a life of its own. It does not discriminate for better or worse. It will always try to convince you not to step out, not to take a chance, to do what you know you shouldn't. Not to do what you want or know you should be doing. You don't have to be impulsive but we all need to work on silencing our built in resistance mechanism day after day, minute after minute.

That sound room you've always wanted to build? The AC power you've always wanted to get right? The speakers you wished to own? The chocolate sunday you know you shouldn't eat? You're your own worst enemy when it comes to holding yourself back or convincing yourself you should do what you know is wrong.

It's hard to stand up to this little fellow inside you, but you can do it. I promise.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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