POGO was the comic strip that became somewhat famous for the following saying: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
Without bumming you out today with too strong a message, I feel it is important to tell you in no uncertain terms to “Snap out of it.” (Reference to the movie Moon Struck)
Too often we are our own worst enemy and we allow ourselves to fall into self-imposed traps that thwart our progress and turn our lives into less-than-attractive works of art.
The first step is to recognize these traps. The next step is to avoid them like the plague. Here are ten of them with a bit of unsolicited advice:
1. The Be Reasonable Trap – This is when you limit your goals to what you think you can have instead of what you want to have. You will be surprised by what you can achieve if you simply extend your reach beyond your normal grasp.
2. The Half-Throttle Trap – Living life with a lukewarm heart, if nothing else, is boring. As Tug McGraw reminds us in song, “Live life like you are dying.” You may not opt for an eight-second bull ride on Fu Manchu, but you get the idea.
3. The More of the Same Trap – Reliance on trying harder instead of trying differently. Here is a blinding flash of the obvious. If you continue doing what you are currently doing you will continue to get what you are currently getting. (Brilliant!) If you want different you have to do different.
4. The Doubt Trap – Believing in your limits instead of testing your limits. Remember when you thought it was impossible to ride a two-wheel bicycle? How about cooking your first Thanksgiving Turkey … or your first bungee jump? You did it by doing it. Do more regardless of your initial feelings.
5. The Faith In the Familiar Trap – Relying on your usual routines is also a formula for boring yourself to tears. Step away from your comfort zone and provide a little excitement for yourself. New is good. New can be fun. New is often very rewarding.
6. The Methodology Trap – focusing on means rather than ends. Stop looking down at the street and begin looking out at the horizon. Decide where you want to end up and then make a plan to get there. Keep your eye on the target.
7. The Passivity Trap – Wishing for what you want instead of pursuing what you want. This is where I remind you that there are three types of people. Those who watch things happen. Those who make things happen. And those who wonder “what happened?” Guess what type of person I want you to be. Go out and make things happen. Better yet: Get up. Get out. And make more people glad they know you.
8. The Failures Aren’t Allowed Trap – Unwillingness to make mistakes. I don’t know how to respond to this trap other than to suggest that you begin to fail faster. Life has a learning curve and you can’t avoid it. You must live it. You must experience it. So, the faster you traverse the curve the better off you will be. Failure is your most reliable path to learning what works. Fail faster.
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