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The source of self-sabotage: values conflicts

Now let's look at the dynamics created by your values hierarchy. If you selected success, for example, as your top moving-toward value, and rejection as your top moving-away-from value, do you see any possible challenges that this hierarchy might create in your life? I'm here to tell you that a person who's trying to achieve the pleasure of success without ever experiencing the pain of rejection will never succeed long term. In fact, this person will sabotage himself before he ever truly succeeds on a

major scale. How can I make such a claim? Remember the basic organizing principle we've talked about so often here: People will do more to avoid pain than they will to gain pleasure. If you're truly going to succeed at the highest level in life, don't you have to be willing to risk rejection?

Don't you have to be willing to experience it? Isn't it true that even if you're an honest and sincere person and give your all to others every day, there are still people who will misinterpret your actions and judge you without even having met you? Whether you want to be a writer, a singer, a speaker, or a business person, the potential for rejection is ever-present. Since your brain inherently knows that in order to succeed you have to risk rejection, and it's already decided that the feelings of rejection are the ultimate levels of pain, it will make the decision that the pleasure of success is not worth the price, and will cause you to sabotage your behavior before you even get in this position!

So often I see people who take huge strides forward, only to mysteriously pull back at the last minute. Or they'll say or do things that sabotage the very personal, emotional, or physical success they're pursuing. Invariably the reason is that they have a major values conflict. Part of their brain is saying, " Go for it! " while the other pan is saying " If you do you're going to get too much pain." So they take two steps forward and one step back.

During the 1988 election year, I used to call this principle the " Gary Hart Syndrome." Here was a nice guy who truly seemed to care passionately about people and society, but whose value conflicts were played out for all to see. Was Gary Hart a horrible guy? I doubt it. He was just someone who had values in massive conflict. He grew up in a church that taught him he was committing a sin[127] if he even danced. Simultaneously he was exposed to role models like Warren Beatty. These conflicting desires obviously played a role in his political downfall Do you think that a person as intelligent as Gary Hart clearly seemed to be would tell the media, " If you've got questions about me, follow me" and then immediately afterward go visit his mistress? Clearly this was his brain s way of getting out of the pain of being in a position where he had to play by rules other than his own. You can call this pop psychology if you want but doesn't it make sense that if you are being pulled in two different directions, you will not be able to serve both masters? Something has to give. We'll do whatever's necessary, consciously or unconsciously to keep ourselves from having to experience our most intense

levels of pain.

We've all seen people in the public eye who've experienced the pain of values conflicts, but rather than be judgmental, we need to realize that each of us has values conflicts within ourselves. Why? Again simply because we never set the system up for ourselves. We've allowed our environment to shape us, but we can begin to change this now.

How? Simply by taking two steps:

Step One is to gain awareness of what your current values are so you understand why you do what you do. What are the emotional states you are moving toward, and what are the states you are moving away from? By reviewing your lists side by side, you'll be able to have an understanding of the force that's creating your present and future.

Step Two: You can then make conscious decisions about what values you want to live by in order to shape the quality of life and destiny you truly desire and deserve.



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