Estimated Lesson Time: 4 minutes
I will never forget the cold day in December 1997 when I heard news that deeply shocked and saddened me. My comedic hero, Chris Farley, was dead at the young age of 33. The first reports suspected Farley died of a heart attack since he had an obvious weight problem. However, subsequent reports would reveal that his death was the result of his own self-sabotage, like John Belushi, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and countless other unnecessary tragedies before him. More toward the middle of the spectrum, millions of people, both famous and non-famous, destroy their happiness and success by self-sabotage.
Self-sabotage is a combination of thoughts, feelings, and actions that create a roadblock to success by working against your own self-interests. It is when we consciously want something but subconsciously we make sure we don’t get it. In extreme cases, self-sabotage acts as a self-fulfilling internalized death wish. Self-sabotage is linked to the lack of self-esteem, self-worth, and self-confidence.
In the high profile world of fame and stardom, self-sabotage is known to result in destructive behavior, even leading to death. In the eyes of most people, these celebrities appear to have it all: money, fame, and admiration of millions of people. So where do things go wrong? Celebrities are, after all, still human, and have the same emotional issues to deal with as the rest of us. Each one of us is a manager of our own state of mind. The emotional issues of those living in the spotlight are often magnified, as are life’s pressures. Those who cannot manage their state turn to drug or alcohol abuse as a quick and easy alternative, which eventually leads to their demise, or at least some time in Hollywood’s second home—the Betty Ford Clinic.
Back in the real world, self-sabotage is much more common in its milder form. In this form, self-sabotage usually takes away one’s success or kicks in before one can even reach any level of success. Here are some of the more common reasons for self-sabotage:
- Fear of success. Deep inside, there can be numerous reasons you do not want to succeed. These are referred to as limiting beliefs. You must overcome these limiting beliefs and break free from your fear of success.
- Unworthiness. Unworthiness is the belief or feeling that you do not deserve success. This is due to low self-esteem and or a poor self-image. Build your self-esteem and realize that you are not only worthy of success, but it is your right to live in abundance and pursue happiness.
- Lack of belief in abilities. Do you not believe that you have what it takes to succeed? Do you think your goals are too far-fetched or unrealistic? Rather than lower your goals, increase your self-confidence and convince yourself that you will do what it takes, and you will succeed.
- Working against true desires. Unfortunate are those who never figure out what their true desires in life are. These are the people who think they know what they want, but never end up getting it due to self-sabotage. Well-known examples are college drop-outs who choose majors based on what a parent wants them to do or employees who work for paychecks rather than the love of the work. Take the time to find out what you really want out of life and write it down.
Basically, self-sabotage is like a game of mental tug-of-war. It is the conscious mind versus the subconscious mind where the subconscious mind eventually wins. The conscious mind can carry out actions and work toward a goal, but it will not be long before the subconscious mind reveals the true feelings and beliefs and takes control over actions. The key to eliminating self-sabotage is making sure that your conscious and subconscious mind are in harmony. You may get away with lying to others, but you can’t get away with lying to yourself. Believe in and have faith in yourself, and eliminate self-sabotage from your life for good.
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)