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?
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Did I? More often than I can count! In fact, I’m working on “moving” as we speak!
Worthiness is a BIG issue that robs a LOT of people from reaching their true potential! (hand raised:)
Ironically, I just wrote a post on responsibility/blame ( http://heathero.com/2011/07/what-if-it-is-all-your-fault/) and one of the comments really stood out. The lady was beating herself up. I encouraged her to start every day saying:
“I am safe, deserving and worthy” 🙂
Ahhh, Bob, you ask, “Like me, did you ever need to move out of your own way?” and my answer is more times than I care to count.
You are so right, our biggest obstacle is most often ourselves. Now when I get stuck or frustrated my question is not why or how, it is what am I doing to create this and what do I need to do differently. But it also takes me a little work to not waste more time giving myself a hard time for creating the obstacle since I had the awareness, another pitfall.
As always, “Psycho-Cybernetics” is a book worth reading and applying and re-reading again.
Excellent post Bob and good luck helping others with this issue, you do a tremendous job!
I tell the signs are stacking up ..lol.. I went to the library just recently with my children decided to grab a couple of books for myself and one was “”stop self sabotaging” by pat pearson … I have been reading it the last few days (two weeks after booking it out) and I am nodding my head at most of it .. I know the lovely HeatherO has tried to tell me this fact many a time to ..lol.. I do stand in my own way .. I know I do … and yes the knowing is the first step .. now to try and move those few inches each day to reach a new successful position .. onward and upward .. thank you for the extra sign to keep pushing 🙂
Coralie, thank you for your note, and for sharing yourself with us. Great that you have HeatherO as a friend and mentor. One thing you said that will be terrific advice for you to take is moving just a few inches at a time. In other words, build on your small successes. Don’t try and eat the entire elephant in one bite; it’s too daunting a task. Small successes. Or, like the name of the book in the great movie, “What About Bob?”…”Baby Steps.” 🙂
Thank you, Heather O’Heather. Always enjoy hearing from you. I read your blog post. Terrific job, as always. Thank you for putting your heart into helping out the person who wrote to you. The cool thing is that she can turn it around beginning today. Notice she said she would “try.” That’s too bad. Hopefully she can move from “I will try it” to “I will do it.” But, just the fact that she is tuned into it is certainly a great start. Thank you for all you do!
Edie, that’s such great advice you provided in the second paragraph. Those shift in questions can make *all* the difference. And, yes, making sure not to be too hard on ourselves once we realize our mistake is another challenge. Of course, once we’re aware of that……. 🙂
Yes, I also agree with you about Psycho-Cybernetics. We’ve had discussions about that book and how valuable its teachings are. And, as always, thank you for your kind words!
Thanks Bob. Yes, I have been in my own way a few times. What helps me is to get in “Gratitude”. When we are grateful, we are open to many and (any)thing we choose.
Also, when we are wrapped up in self, it is a good idea to go help someone else. It really helps us “get out of our own way”, focus on being of service and back to being grateful.
Positive change is possible, but we have to work at it. We have the amazing power of CHOICE.
Thanks again for another great post.
Knowing that we’re in our own way is a very rich awareness, my friend. It makes it possible to ask for support ♥
Thank you for touching on this awesome daily-life subject. I personally have felt the need to get-out of my way several times. I feel, we need to remind ourselves every morning to not stand in our own way as really getting into “comfort zone” causes this many times…at least for me.
I am going to get hold of the book, “Psycho-Cybernetics” that you recommended. Thank you.
I am convinced you have spy cams! I did a self-audit & realized the only thing standing in my way is ME! I am packing up & moving out of my way right now. I have experienced tremendous internal growth & success that is not measured in incremental growth visible to others. I realize I had to accomplish the internal first as it will be a rock-steady, firm foundation. I am ready for the external significance!
Thank you Bob for this gentle push in the right direction!
I think it has taken me years to actually reach a confidence level in the things that I do.
Feeling like others are better, so why would someone need me?
SO NOT THE CASE!
We all are special to the people we connect with. We all have skills and talents that can help those we come into contact with. If we don’t make an effort, than those ‘contacts’ will just find someone else. WHY NOT BE THAT SOMEONE ELSE?
Great post BOB!
Excellent thoughts and feedback, Jeff. Thank you for sharing with us!
Just as I was beating myself up for wondering “who do I think I am to deserve more?”, I ran across this blog. We met a couple years ago with Brian Tracy. Boy, do I stay in my own way when it comes to myself, while boldly giving to others. Even though I always choose to live in Joy and take full responsibility, I’m still stuck. Hmmmm. Thank you for being that voice of encouragement we all need.
Blessings to you. CA
Hi Charla, GREAT to hear from you. Now you can start tapping into the Law of Receptivity, which says, “The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.” I’m rooting for you, and KNOW that you can do it!
Loving all the comments. Its a deep topic that covers so many different areas of our prosperity. From self confidence to the things that fill our heads daily.
Hi, Al, yes – gratitude is a great cure for pretty much anything that ails us, it seems. 🙂
Susan, great point, as well. That’s one cool benefit!
Snigdha, what a great thing to remind ourselves of every day, and nothing like first-thing in the morning. A terrific habit to develop. Thank you for sharing! And, enjoy Psycho-Cybernetics. Please let us know your thoughts on it.
Thank you, Geneva; what a nice compliment. I think it’s simply that I write about things that we are pretty much “all” working with (or, perhaps, through) on a continual basis. And, knowing you as I do, I have total confidence in your accomplishing whatever external significance (already very high) that you desire!
What a great topic for discussion. Is there anyone who has not stood in his or her own way? I know I have. Lately I have given my permission to notice that if I am in the way, it is OK. It is the beginning of me realizing that I am not clear about what I want! When I notice that, and am able to relax about it, I sometimes am blessed with new clarity! Then- whoosh! everything starts moving.
The good new is,(for me anyway) I love being able to be satisfied and happy with small things as well as big things! Oh yes! The law of receptivity…bring it on!
Thanks Bob, so much,
I’m not sure if there is anyone or not who has never experienced that but, if there is, I’ve never met that person. I think the key is how long one stays there and lives in that spot. Sounds like you’re doing the right things and enjoying yourself a lot as you do so. Awesome!
I agree. We have awesome commentators in this community. Thank you, Jeff!
I may not notice consciously when I am in my own way, but the thing that makes me stop and pay attention is overwhelm. I keep myself stuck in little decisions sometimes, and that creates a backlog – and then overwhelm. Whenever I start to feel that I ask myself “what am I not looking at” and i can usually pull myself back on track by getting into my Givers Gain mode. Getting “there” faster has been the work for me. I notice I can waste alot of time ‘negotiating’ with myself, rather than just doing it. Thank you Bob for the reminder…. Rem
Hope all is great with you.
I just love this – so true. I know a few people who seem to be standing in their own way! The sort who’s default setting is one of negativity.
You know the type – “Oh well, it was always going to happen to me.” “Just the kind of bad luck I get”
I know that thoughts become things and it’s so important that we listen to that little voice in our head. I know from past experience that the voice can be switched from one of negative to positive and it doesn’t take much effort either.
Its incredible what can happen when you do begin to think more positively and you begin to set yourself up to succeed. But people need help, and I love that about you Bob. You are such a great helper!
I too love people and helping people and I spend my life trying to make a positive difference to those around me.
Thanks for sharing this Bob. I know a few more people will be having better days, weeks and months thanks to you. 🙂