Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sabotaging Success

Why do we do it? Why do we take actions that are in direct opposition to the things we want to accomplish?

Angie and I have been talking about that lately. It has come up in response to some of our own sabotaging and to others around us.

Here is an example of what I'm talking about. Recently, I posted about how Angie and I attended a Financial workshop, and coming out of that workshop, we decided on a course of action culminating in a budget. We decided, together, that we were going to get out of debt, save up to purchase her next vehicle in cash, go on vacation (paying with cash), and then start investing regularly. That budget started with the paycheck I received on Friday.

By Friday afternoon we were off plan. I mean it literally took a couple of hours and we were done. My purchase of some Wii equipment for the house was all it took.

Looking at my inability to stay on a diet would be another great example. Why is it I can rationalize the need to lose weight. I truly understand to the core of my (too large) being that I need to lose weight. My weight keeps me from enjoying time with the kids the way I should be, it keeps me from enjoying time with Angie the way I should be, and ultimately keeps me from doing some of the things I want to do - yet, I seem powerless to stop sabotaging the plan that I know would change things.

Since the confessions are flowing, I'll give one last example. Angie has complained about how I talk to her for years. And, for years, I've tried to address it. Although things are a little better in that not all of my reactions to negative things are harsh, they are still too harsh too often. I know this and yet have been mostly unable to change. Again, I am sabotaging the most important relationship I have on this earth.

So, the fundamental question I must ask myself is why. I know I'm not alone. Angie does it. The kids do it. Our friends do it. Our families do it. There are stories of people sabotaging success all around us, both in the news and within our circles of friends and family. Are we so flawed that we cannot help it? Are we so broken that we cannot abide by happiness? I don't believe either of these are true, but they sure seem so.

I think the answer lies in the fact that we do everything for a reason. A good bud of mine always asks me "what's the payoff?" By this, he is asking me why I did something. He explains that we do everything for a reason and often the reason we do things that we shouldn't are for a perceived payoff, or to put it plainly, because there is an expectation that we'll get something in return for doing it. Why over eat? Because the comfort value in food in the short-term is more desirable than losing weight in the long-term. Why purchase outside of plan? Because the return of good grace from the kids (short-term) is more important than getting out of debt (long-term).

Although the above analysis seems to make sense, it doesn't address the other main question - how to change the behavior. For this, I don't have the answers. If I did, I'd be at my ideal weight, out of debt, and have the perfect relationship - among other things. I do know, however, that these issues are mine. It's too easy to blame OTHERS for this...I don't know how many times I've said, I wouldn't be so harsh if she were so [[insert perceived failing]]. What a bunch of crap that is. Yes, I may run to the fridge after we fight, but that's still MY decision.

Ultimately, that may be the answer. Perhaps we have to focus on us within the process and "ignore" what's around us. It seems easy to allow excuses to creep in. Perhaps if we can just remain focused on our part, the others will come around. That's sort of the topic of my last post. Instead of going out and spending, just because Angie did and I feel "entitled", I can choose to break the cycle.

The cycle of sabotaging my success and ultimately my happiness.



Angie Lessard said...

Are you sure you were'nt sitting beside me in church today???

Love you!

Paul Lessard said...

maybe it's your definition of success that is sabotaged...

bobick said...

Good words Scott-we all learn and grow from your honesty.