The Hardest Thing About Changing Your Life Is… Accepting It
Think back to the last girl who dumped you. Remember how miserable and upset you were? Remember how much you wished she’d come back? Remember that?
Why did you get so upset then and yet, when you think about it now, it’s not as upsetting? The answer to that question has a lot more to do with your ex-girlfriend, relationships, and even women in general.
The answer explains why changing your life is damn hard. Keep that ex-girlfriend in mind, we’ll get back to her. First, however, let’s discuss the mind-fuck of self-improvement (as well as self-non-improvement).
If you’re reading this article that means you probably have some interest in making a positive change in your life. Most likely, you’ve been trying to make positive change for a while. Whether it was improving your dating life, your fitness, your finances… you simply want things to get better.
But consider this: how about when things suddenly gets worse? Maybe tragedy strikes: an unexpected death, an accident, someone or something fucks you over. Maybe you make your own mistakes: you get too emotionally invested in something, you take a risk that doesn’t pan out, etc.
How do you react then?
Whether you’re going up or going down—improving or declining—your reality is changing. And how you react says a lot about you. In fact, the way you handle the hard times will mirror the way you conduct yourself in the good times.
In other words, if you have trouble handling stress in your life (even if the stress isn’t your own doing), then you probably won’t be able to handle positive improvement either. As much as it pains me to admit it, there’s a concept in self-help called “success barriers” and it’s pretty spot-on in describing this human-chimp behavior pattern.
If you’re into self-help, you’ve probably heard of the concept of “success barriers” —- which are self-sabotaging behaviors that keep people from achieving success. An example of a “success barrier” would be a guy who always seems to say something stupid on a date, and so never dates really attractive women. It’s almost as if an unconscious mental mechanism surfaces and derails him from succeeding in dating.
To be honest, when I first heard of “success barriers” it sounded retarded to me. To me, it was just more cultish mumbo-jumbo got people feeling guilty that their failures were their own fault. Though recent events in my own life got me to rethinking success barriers….
If you can’t tell from the somber tone of my recent articles, or the (sometimes) dreary Facebook fan page posts, I recently encountered some tragedy in my life (and, no, it doesn’t have to do with a girl or a breakup). During the days I first received the bad news…and more bad news…and then even worse news…I can’t say I was proud of the way I handled it.
I lashed out on the people who were trying to help me, and, like an ostrich, stuck my head into the sand. I remember one day, I just curled up in my bed and screamed at anyone who contacted me. It’s embarrassing to even write those details out…
I wasn’t lashing out at the tragedy itself; rather I was lashing out because I didn’t want my reality to change. Just like anyone can think back to past tragedies that seemed impossible to deal with at the time, and yet now don’t seem that bad, we all resist the idea that our reality is changing.
Remember your ex-girlfriend? Remember how much you thought you missed her when you broke up, and yet now, you don’t miss her nearly as much (or even at all)? Hopefully you’re seeing that you never missed “her”… you just missed your old reality.
Now, take that lesson in tragedy, and apply it to success…
When I think back to the three major improvements I made in my life (1. Getting better with women, 2. Creating a successful business, 3. Getting myself in shape), I now also see glaring success barriers that stunted my growth. Just like I acted like a diva when I was recently upset, I also pulled some “diva-like” stunts when I was first seeing success.
When I think back to becoming success with women, how many times did I feel the need to “show off” a girl I was dating, or “impress” my friends by picking up girls in front of them? When I think back to my business, how many times did I feel the need to tell people how well-off I was, and even waste my money on some “conspicuous consumption” luxury items? When I was getting myself in shape, how many times did I post shirtless pics on the internet, etc.?
And, as I look deeper, I can see myself committing mistakes that seem obvious to me now: getting sexual too fast with women, partnering with the wrong people, eating the wrong foods. To become successful, I had to take the long way because of my own…(I hate to say it)…“success barriers.”
But the thing was: it wasn’t that I didn’t want to be successful; I didn’t want my reality to change. That’s probably why I hated the idea of “success barriers”: I never thought I was creating “barriers” to my “successful.” I simply didn’t like the idea that my reality was changing.
So now I turn the focus on you: how do you react during times of tragedy? During times of success? Much as I hate turning success with women into a spiritual exercise, it helps to adopt an “even-keel” attitude. If you’re bitching and moaning when things go wrong, then you may have problems when things start going right.
Remember: everything you want is outside your comfort zone. To achieve the success you’ve come here for, you need to be ready to alter your reality. Embrace change rather than mourn it.
About Rob J. Rob J. is a writer and dating instructor in New York City. Themes that resonate in both his teaching and writing are masculinity, genuineness, rational self-interest, and general awesomeness.