3 min read

Who's Rules

What governs what you can/can’t do?

Who’s rules are you living by?

I wrestle with these questions daily, and it’s beginning to shift my worldview for the better.

We are happy to challenge others when we think they are trying to fool us, but why don’t we do the same to ourselves?

Limiting Beliefs

We tell ourselves a story about what we can/can’t do and should/shouldn’t be doing.

Where does this story come from?

Let’s take this blog as an example:

Why did I create it?

To create a body of work I can be proud of and share topics I find interesting.

Who am I to do so? Ghandi?

It may not seem like a big deal, but I had to overcome many internal barriers before putting it out into the world.

“Is it worth reading?”, “What will my friends think?”, “What will my colleagues think?”, “Am I wasting mine and my reader’s time?” the list goes on…

I’ve always wanted to do it, and when starting, I came up with so many excuses as to why I shouldn’t/can’t do it.

Look for the Fear

Humans are great at presenting themselves with evidence that affirms their beliefs, fears and predispositions.

This is where the self-deception happens.

We cherry-pick data that reinforces our beliefs because we fear what might happen if we:

  • Fail - “I knew I wasn’t capable…”
  • Succeed - “If this works, does that mean I actually have to do it? Maybe I should carry on doing what I'm doing...”
  • Are wrong - “I knew I had no good ideas…”
  • Are right - “Oh, whoops, that's not what I expected. I’m happy to stay in my comfort zone...”

So we continue to live our lives the same way we always have, hoping for change but doing little about it, reinforcing our beliefs and rarely challenging our assumptions.

Asking the Hard Questions

We all have things we want to do, but we can’t.

We can’t because of work, we can’t because of money, we can’t because of time, we can’t because we don’t have any good ideas, we can’t because we have to do x, we can’t because we need to do y.

In most cases, these are excuses.

Next time you have an idea or want to do something, and your immediate response is, “No, I can’t.”

Ask yourself, “Why not?” and sit with it.

Every excuse in the book will arise, but sit with it and keep asking, “Why not?”

Challenge yourself.

Uncomfortable Answers

The answers to “Why not?” often lead to an uncomfortable conclusion.

As you work through each of the excuses and challenge them by coming up with reasons why you can, you will realise you’ve been telling yourself a story based on superficial rules and/or obligations.

The only thing stopping you is you.

Once presented with the truth, you can no longer fool or convince yourself you are a victim of circumstance.

Now the onus is on you TO DECIDE whether to do it or not.

This is a challenging but rewarding process and a harsh reality to sit with.

When you understand the rules you impose on yourself versus those imposed on you in reality, you can move from living in a have-to/need-to state to a want-to/choose-to state.

Life then becomes a series of choices.

A good test is if the roadblock doesn’t affect everyone else; it’s not a roadblock, it’s an excuse.