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Over weeks, months, years, you are and you become unknowingly obsessed with doing the things that lead you to failure.
You’ve been brainwashed to accept your circumstances – to blend in with what’s around you and what’s expected of you.
If you’re a football fan, you’ve probably seen the passionate post-game speech from Chuck Pagano, coach of the Indianapolis Colts, after a recent win.
Now, I don’t know if Coach Pagano is going to be doing the waltz with the Lombardi trophy this year. But he makes a very powerful point.
You can’t accept your circumstances.
You can’t let it dictate your vision for the future.
We are surrounded by brainwashing that tells us to do just that.
Take just five seconds and think about the situation the Colts were in. They play in a league where 30 percent of games have been decided by 3 points or less this year. Margins are everything, and a tiny adjustment in one direction or another can hugely impact whether you win or lose.
You don’t think being brainwashed to fail and accept failure makes that .01% difference?
If any of those guys turned on ESPN, they’d find themselves under assault.
Lowered expectations. Poisonous.
The idea that they should accept or even be grateful for them. Even worse.
You’ll deal with the same thing from family and friends around you. I read a lot about dealing people who don’t support you, but the “soft bigotry of low expectations” is just as dangerous.
If the people and things around you are not actively pushing for you to better yourself, and they are not doing those things themselves, they are not helping you achieve.
So what can you do to remove the urge to accept your circumstances?
And the most terrifying thing of all is that… it’s perfectly normal to do so.
The human mind is an internalizing MACHINE. It’s normal to fit in to our environment. Millions of years of evolution have made blending in about as easy as breathing. And almost all of us are in an environment of failure.
When you’re in an environment where failure is normal, you have to be abnormal to succeed. And if you want to become abnormal, you have to embrace being uncomfortable.
Kinda pithy, but true.
If you’re in a bad situaion and you’re acting “normally”…
If you’re fitting in socially…
If you AREN’T drawing resistance from the people around you, and asking yourself if you’ve gone a little crazy late at night…
Chances are you’re not doing enough to transform your circumstances. That can be a painful process. We’re obsessed with comfort, addicted to it so much that we barely notice how much we prioritize it over the things we NEED for long term success.
Constantly ask yourself whether you’re doing the most comfortable thing… or the most useful and profitable thing.
ESTABLISH A PATTERN
Success is NOT about sentimentality. Andy Reid, the Eagles head coach, lost his son last year – the team dedicated the season to him. Then they posted a mediocre record.
Emotion can be a motivator, but it’s exhaustible, and it’s not a superpower. Feeling good about something lasts for a few minutes. Feeling bad about something is just as temporary. It’s the pattern on actions that leads us towards feeling one set of emotions more than the other set.
The Colts organization has set up a pattern of success. They draft new players to their team amazingly well. They grab character guys that will absorb the ideas of the team. They’re well coached and disciplined. They stick with their plan even when faced with failure (an incredible virtue) and they’ve been doing the right things years before Pagano even stepped foot in town.
Doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed to be successful, but it DOES improve their chances. You can do the same thing.
It’s not intuitive, but start keeping a journal of what pumps you up, what motivates you to work faster and smarter. Start tracking your mindset like a dieter tracks their performance, and work to trigger the strong moods you need to succeed.
You have to develop your ability to follow patterns and routines, just like you’d develop yourself physically.
BUILDING A CULT
Peer pressure is the easiest way to adjust and improve our actions.
Look, let’s be honest for a second here… what are the chances that every player on that football team is choked up about their coach’s personal tragedy?
Not that they’re dicks with complete hearts of stone – but they’ve all got different backgrounds, different ethnicities, different ages. But they formed a cult that told them they were going to succeed, that they were going to do the things needed for them to succeed, and that NOT doing those things wasn’t acceptable under any circumstances.
If you’re the only person around you that successful or even interested in success, you’ll have to BUILD your cult.
It’s OBVIOUSLY important to work hard on projects that bring in money. But I was really shocked at how much better my results became once I started reaching out to people that could help my business. Forget financially – your mindset jumps up, you get exposed to more efficient patterns of working, your conversations turn towards your shared interest, which means YOU’RE thinking more about your business.
That takes time. You want to surround yourself with successful people, but they’re surrounded with people too – who want free advice, free help, free… whatever.
Make a concerted effort to promote yourself, who you are and what you do. This can be incredibly tough if you’re used to working as a freelancer, promoting yourself passively and letting clients come to you.
But introducing yourself to everyone you can and being as generous as possible will have a real impact. I’ve only been at it for a while and it works.
REFUSE TO BLEND
Want to escape brainwashing? Demand better from yourself and expect more from the people around you. Build a cult. Go a little crazy. Brainwash YOURSELF.
Any advice to offer people in a similar situation? Leave it in the comments.