Have you ever wondered why people stay stuck? Stuck in their problems, patterns, and habits, stuck in their jobs and relationships, stuck in their heads, their negative self-talk, stuck in the past, stuck in their story. Sure seems like being stuck is a terrible experience. Yet, why do so many people do it? Well, I figured it out! The reason is simple, logical, and nonetheless profound. It goes like this…
Being Good at Something Feels Good
You feel confident, powerful, skilled, knowledgeable, secure, content. It boosts your self-esteem. It makes you feel in charge. You know what works, why it works, and how to work it. You can make it happen — specific results, with certainty. It’s fantastic! Who wouldn’t wanna feel this way?
Being Bad at Something Feels Bad
You feel unsure, powerless, inept, stupid, insecure, discontent. It lowers your self-esteem. It makes you feel decidedly NOT in charge. You’re not sure what to do or how to do it. Your results are uncertain. It’s scary, confusing, and downright awful at times. Who wants to feel that way?
If someone is a master at some unhealthy behavior and a complete rookie at the alternative, healthy behavior, which one are they likely to do? That’s a no-brainer. And I mean that quite literally — it’s all about feelings. Faced with the decision to feel good while possibly destroying one’s life, or feel bad while creating a beautiful life, most people will opt for good feels now and suffer later.
If you are “successful” at Tindering and one-night-stands but terrible at authentic human connection and vulnerability, what are you going to do? Swipe left and keep doing what you do best.
If you have check-to-check living down to a science but are terrified to demand a raise, take a risk or invest in yourself, what are you going to do? Live check to check for the rest of your life because you’re good at it.
If you have mastered the art of victimhood and gotten an identity, countless excuses, someone to blame, and lots of sympathy but have no idea how to take responsibility for your life, what are you going to do? Volunteer for some more abuse because it’s working for you.
It makes sense.
So How Do We Get Unstuck?
First, we have to realize we’re stuck. Wake up. Admit that the hamster wheel we’re on is a complete waste of life. Then, get uncomfortable. Embrace bad feelings. Face fears. Ask for help. Stop doing the same crap over and over again. Try something different. Radically different. Be a rookie. Be vulnerable. This is the way out, I promise.
Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius once noted that “The obstacle is the way.” The thing you’re afraid of doing? Yep, that’s the thing you have to do to own your life.
The famous 1972 Stanford Marshmallow Experiment became a longitudinal study that showed that people who can delay gratification are more successful in life than people who want the good feels now. These are empirical facts.
Learn how to suffer a little so you can rip your life wide open and live that shit like it wants to be lived.
Previously published on “Change Becomes You”, a Medium publication.
If you believe in the work we are doing here at The Good Men Project and want to join our calls on a regular basis, please join us as a Premium Member, today.
All Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS.
Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.