Beware of seeking answers you want to hear
We're sneaky little creatures, us humans. We seem to always be looking for a way to solve our problems without changing our behavior.
And since prehistoric times, some have been able to use this weakness to sell everything from psychic readings to newspapers to those ab cruncher things from late night infomercials years ago.
And we also sell easy "solutions" to ourselves as well, not realizing we keep choosing the path of least resistance.
Remember that whether it's coming from yourself or outside of you, the long, hard road to success or happiness is a tough sell- and there are more enough people looking to get you in the door by selling you a shortcut or just reinforcing your view of the world.
"It wasn't me!"
None of us want to hear that our own choices have put us in a situation we don't like. People thrash around, grasping for every possible external factor they can think of. Parents, the government, McDonalds, genetics, bad luck, whatever.
Weight loss is probably the most obvious example- you'll notice you don't see many articles linking rising obesity to simple laziness, brought on by a culture obsessed with convenience and luxury. It is always something other than your own discipline and willingness to make sacrifices. It's always the fault of vague "allergies", wheat, dairy, etc. You don't see many of these types of articles, because they don't get as many clicks.
It's why it seems every fitness program promises rapid transformation in 90 days or less; nobody wants to hear that for most people, going from zero to hero in terms of fitness is probably going to take a year or two.
It's also my biggest criticism of most therapists and especially "life coaches"- I've had pretty extensive experience as a client, and I cannot think of a single time I was really confronted about my own behavior and agency in the problems in my life. Empathy is one thing, but at certain point, it becomes enabling.
You have to be brave and willing to seek out the answers that come from within and put you out of your comfort zone. Like many others, I spent years seeking out magic bullets that would change my life without me having to really change my behavior or take responsibility.
Advertisers and predatory self help products rely on the fact that most people will choose the path of least resistance. If you fall into this trap, you'll spend years nibbling around the edges of progress, constantly forking over cash for the proverbial rope to hang yourself with.
The world is more than happy to provide you with excuses to be unhappy or out of shape. Just look at the news! You have to learn to associate your own actions, or lack of actions with the pain you're feeling. The pain of not being who you want to be. As long as you associate that pain with external factors, you'll always struggle to get at the core of what's going on.
The biggest red flag that you've fallen into this trap is when hearing stuff like this gets you angry. Nothing used to piss me off more than the implication that I was just being lazy or greedy, but looking back now with a clear mind, it's painfully obvious that it was true. Go on Reddit or a FB thread and drop a comment implying laziness is the cause of people's problems, and you'll see this in action.
Find someone who can challenge you in a healthy way. We all have external factors that can limit our success, but very few of us ever get close to reaching our full potential and actually hitting those ceilings.
It's not the answer we want to hear, but we're usually the cause of our own problems. You mad, bro?
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