The great American thinker, Ralph Waldo Emerson, is credited with saying:
“As long as a man stands in his own way, everything seems to be in his way.”
There may indeed be truer statements but, if so, I can’t think of any.
Those who constantly fail — or, even fail to achieve at least a reasonable degree of their potential — tend to operate out of a premise or belief system that says, “I’m not worthy of (I don’t deserve) success.”
With that as their foundational thought, they either fail to see the opportunities in front of them or…when they are in the act of succeeding, sabotage themselves or the situation.
To draw from President Calvin Coolidge’s famous poem, though they have the “talent, genius and education” to achieve magnificent success, they stand (or even move) in their own way, ensuring the unlikeliness of it ever happening.
Please know I’ve been there and done that. For many years I — more than anyone — stood in my own way. I would have small victories but, once I got close to the grand prize, I stepped right in front of myself. How often did I snatch defeat right out of the hands of victory? Too many times to mention.
It was all unconscious. For me — as many have heard me say — things began to change after first reading the book, “Psycho-Cybernetics” by Dr. Maxwell Maltz. First published in 1960, I still believe it is one of the best books ever written for learning how to move from unconsciously getting in one’s own way and, instead, consciously create a context for success and achievement.
I believe the first step is awareness.
There is a person I’ve gotten to know, mostly in passing, but with whom I’ve had several conversations. Mostly, these involve her telling me how awful her life is. She is — as the saying goes — broke, busted and disgusted. She lives in “victim mode.” Yes, she’s had bad breaks. Yes, unfortunate things happen that keep her down. And, it’s also obvious to me that she so stands in her own way she can hardly see what’s in front of her in order to know when to move.
My goal is to — with tact, of course — help her to first become aware of the wisdom of Mr. Emerson’s wise saying. She needs to first consciously see what she is doing as well as have the desire to make that first change; to move…not far; just out of her own way.
Let’s see what happens.
Like me, did you ever need to move out of your own way?