In the course of my life I’ve worked with a hundred plus people around the issue getting the things that they want. When people talk about the things that they want, they’re very passionate about it and they’re very excited. But here’s something that’s really interesting, as people get closer and closer to getting what they want, they actually get more and more resistant about it. So much so that when they’re on the cusp of getting what they want, they hesitate and oftentimes stop and pull back from it.
It seems counterintuitive, right? If it’s what they want then it seems like the closer they get to it, the faster they should move. The problem is simply that we all have this very powerful mind and our powerful minds can imagine many, many different things. One of those things it can imagine, and does imagine is a vision of us not getting what we want. And so, when we get close to that thing we want, we strangely begin to imagine failure. In that imagination we stop ourselves. Why? It’s because the idea of finally going for what we want and not getting it creates in us an overwhelming sense of despair. We therefore protect ourselves from that despair by stopping before we have the potential to get that which we most want.
I live in Los Angeles and have heard a plethora of stories about people of the cusp of overwhelming success in the entertainment industry absolutely shooting themselves in the foot right before they make it. Drew Carry tells a story of thinking about committing suicide right after he got The Drew Carry show! The reason that happens is because people become so accustomed to the unending struggle for success and they don’t have a mental model for being in the realm of success. Our powerful mind will attach itself to the thing is familiar, even if it’s not good for us, over the thing it doesn’t know…even if it’s what we truly want.
The key to avoiding this pitfall is to recognize our own tendency to resist change. To also recognize that wanting to give up is a natural part of any success process. When you most want to quit, when you have every logical reason in the world why now is simply not the time to do this thing you thought you wanted to do, in that moment is your opportunity to step into what I call the “Dark Corridor.” This unknown place full of potential peril and angst, this place of fear and suspect is actually the warm welcome sign of every potential future success.
There’s this line that I love from the movie, A League of Their Own. It’s a film about a professional women’s softball team. Gina Davis is the star player on the team and is pressured by her husband to quit and she gives in to him. The manager, played by Tom Hanks, asks her why she’s leaving. She tells him that it just got too hard. He responds with this;
“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”
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