You tell yourself a staggering amount of lies every day just to cope with living. In a sense, self-deception is a useful survival tool. If you had to spend your entire day being objective about everything in your life, you’d probably be miserable.
So, on the one hand, your emotions help you. But, on the other hand, if you lie to yourself too much, you won’t end up with the outcomes you want in your life.
You’ll function, but you’ll function at that ‘treading water’ level for the rest of your life.
You know what I’m talking about. You keep thinking to yourself that one day you’re going to snap out of it and do the deep self-reflection it takes to push ahead and reach a major goal.
But then those damn rationalizations get in the way. You know they’re lies, but you also deeply believe them at the same time. Weird right?
There’s no such thing as true objectivity outside of the laws of physics on earth. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t proven and tested ways to live, attitudes to hold, and frameworks for success.
There are. And you already know what they are, but you have a hard time facing and embracing them.
“People are strange: They are constantly angered by trivial things, but on a major matter like totally wasting their lives, they hardly seem to notice.” – Charles Bukowski
If you want to start being honest with yourself about the areas of your life you need to change to make it better, you need to dispel the biggest lie you tell yourself.
What lie? The lie that you’re doing a good job of taking care of yourself when you’re not. This isn’t about shaming yourself, it’s about being honest about the level of guidance and direction you’re giving yourself so you can, you know, change it and do a better job in the future.
Again, not that you need to be perfect, but how can you claim you’re taking good care of yourself when:
So the lie you’ll tell yourself is that it’s okay to just get by. Again, I don’t look down on people for doing what they have to do in this life. Not at all. It is, in a sense, admirable. But when it comes down to the way you feel about yourself, you know whether or not you’re meeting your standards in these areas.
Most people know they’re not, but they won’t tell themselves the truth. Why? Because who wants to admit they’re mismanaging their own life? That’s quite the admission to make. It hurts. You feel like you betrayed yourself. You had one job, to take care of you first and foremost, and you suck at it.
Or maybe not. I don’t know your exact situation. But I do know that you won’t be able to make positive changes in your life until you accurately assess where you’re at.
Are you doing that right now? Yes or no.
“Here’s the key: I’m not going to tell you how to change. People don’t change. I want you to trust who you already are, and get to that Zone where you can shut out all the noise, all the negativity and fear and distractions and lies, and achieve whatever you want, in whatever you do.” – Tim Grover
The results you get in life depend on how you weigh things.
Take my life for example. There was a point in my life where I flat out admitted to myself that my life sucked. I literally said it out loud. So I went looking for answers, discovered self-improvement, started implementing it in my life, then started writing about it, and now I’m here.
That process involved doing a lot of work, sometimes, often, work I didn’t want to do at all. But, I followed the mental equation that leads to success — I weighed my long-term goals more heavily than my short term emotions.
Being honest with yourself about your current situations means you’ll have to weigh your long-term goals over your current sense of self. I talked about this in my second book, You 2.0. The process of reinventing yourself is a lot like losing a loved one. You have to kill your old self and grieve over him or her.
Think about it, most people won’t change because they need to cling to a sense of who they are no matter what. You lie to yourself to preserve that sense of self.
You’re the ‘content’ person who ‘doesn’t care about money’ yet your bills are stressing you the hell out.
You’re the martyr who does everything for everyone but yourself when in reality you do this because you’re scared to take responsibility for yourself.
You tell yourself politicians are going to come down from the heavens and save you when you know they’re not, but like any other religion, outsourcing your fate to someone else feels good.
For me, I guess I just saw things so clearly that putting more weight on my future self made a ton of sense. I was dead broke, a convicted felon, college dropout — nowhere to go but up, really. Some people are caught in less obvious traps — golden handcuffs, the middle-class nightmare, the ‘good is the enemy of great’ state of limbo.
The main equation you make that keeps you from being honest with yourself is weighing pain vs love. You fear pain more than you want love, so you avoid challenges. Yet, in the long-run, you suffer a greater sense of cumulative pain when you let your life waste away 24 hours at a time.
Realize this, and understand you’re actually doing yourself a favor by ripping the band-aid, experiencing discomfort upfront, so you can live the rest of your life doing what you want to do.
“When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” – Thomas Sowell
If you know anything about me, you know I don’t provide cures.
To this day, I spend more time lying to myself than I do being radically honest. I come from the position that you’re already at a major deficit, and even getting a bit better can move the needle in your life.
So use the concept of radical honesty, with yourself and with others, to fight the uphill battle needed to change your life.
Be honest with yourself about who you are, want you want, and what you need to do to stay true to both. Throw societal conventions to the side.
What do you want? If you’re driven by money, admit it. I am. If you have a bit of arrogance to you, admit it. I do. If you care too much about money and status, admit that. Understand where your fears and aspirations truly come from. You have altruistic desires as well as petty vain ones. You have a lighthearted side and a dark shadow. Integrate them.
You see how this works? It’s a never-ending process of trying to get close to the truth, but never reaching it, trying to be as honest with yourself and others at the same time, but never getting there, being as authentic as you possibly can be, while knowing true authenticity doesn’t exist.
It’s not that you never BS yourself, rather it’s the fact you understand just how large your propensity to BS yourself is. You keep going through your life with this understanding and simply try to grow in the process. That’s all.
My end goal is always to help you figure out what you want. Again, I don’t know you, so you have to decide whether or not the shoe fits.
I have a tendency to provoke and share harsh realities so that I can trigger you into having those honest conversations with yourself. I could make more money and build a better life for myself off your back by selling you BS dreams, but that’s just not my style.
I make my observations, share them with you, and let you do what you please.
Am I right about you? Are you full of you know what? Are you painting this elaborate house of cards built with rationalizations so you can cope with life instead of thriving? Do you really believe the narratives in your head, from the media, from your family, from your peers? Really? Are you sure?
I get it, radical honesty with yourself can be brutal. But, you’re better off in the long-run and you know it.
Which do you choose? Convenient and comfortable lies? Or the harsh yet liberating truth?