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The #1 Reason You Can’t Follow Anyone’s Expert Advice

The  #1 Reason You Can’t Follow Anyone’s Expert Advice

Have you ever found yourself searching online for articles, blog posts, books, or podcasts for the magic secret to conquering some sort of struggle you are experiencing? Maybe it’s a career struggle; you hate your job. Maybe it’s a struggle with your marriage or even with your friends, your parents, or your kids.  And then you see it!  “The 10 Best Ways to Conquer [your struggle here]” You feel excited to find something that this time may actually help you.

But it doesn’t. It all sounds good, and you even made an effort to really put some action into these ideas yet these great concepts, once again, don’t work for you leading you to believe that perhaps you are just some incurable freak of nature who simply is beyond help. That’s exactly what I used to think, once upon a time, and I know many others can relate.

So what is it that makes us unable to follow what appears to be simple steps to achieve our desired solution? Well, let’s look at this more closely using some random but popular topics.

I did a quick search on Google on the topic, “Steps to Getting Promoted at Work”. Within seconds I landed on an article that gave this important first step that I can relate to, “Become More Visible”.  Yes, I agree, being visible is critical to getting promoted as you must stand out and be noticed. One must be seen more and be heard more. Excellent advice.

If I am looking for an answer as to why I haven’t been promoted, and what I can do about it, and read such article, I may easily be able to see that I have not been very visible in my job. Logic would then say, “show up at work tomorrow and start being visible every single day”.  It’s just as easy as that.

Or is it?

Let’s look at another example such as ‘how to improve your marriage’. I quickly found an article citing 10 ways to do this. The first one is, “Apologize when you are wrong”. If this was my struggle and I read this and thought, “yea… I really don’t apologize much…” then again, logic would tell me that next time I should apologize when I am wrong. This sounds like a great step and I know I should be doing it. Easy peasy. My marriage is now going to be on the upswing because there are also nine other things I can do listed in this article!

Yet ‘the next time’ comes and goes and I don’t do it. Even though I thought about doing it, I still didn’t apologize.

This was an ongoing repetitive dynamic in my life; me reading clearly written easy action steps, that make sense, yet little to no action on my part followed despite how badly I wanted the outcome. If that isn’t one of the most frustrating experiences out there, I don’t know what is. I want to fix certain things. I read how and why to do the action steps yet I can’t do them even though the steps read clearly and easily. A 3rd grader could do a lot of this stuff.

The Enemy in Your Head

I have been on, what seems like, a lifelong quest to figure myself out and this was one of the things I was determined to figure out. One day, all the planets must have aligned in perfect order because the answer showed up for me and changed everything.

If I was seeking a promotion and I read the step, “be visible”, I may not be more visible, even though I know  I should and want to, because the voice that talks in my head 24 hours per day, all day, every day, eight days per week (it works overtime), and never shuts up, is simply not comfortable being more visible at work despite what I read and know.

When I think, “I will be more visible today”, the voice in my head may say, “no you won’t. You will draw attention to yourself! Your mistakes will be on display for everyone to see, and the three other people in your position are way smarter than you are. It’s too risky! You go sit in your office and be quiet like you usually are so no one gets tipped off that you are really not even qualified to work here!” And so I do.

If I get in a fight with my spouse and think it was my fault, I may think, “I should apologize now, thats one of the tickets to a good marriage” But no, the voice in my head doesn’t like that. It says, “he never apologizes to you! Screw that! He’ll just take advantage of you. Let him apologize to you for all the crap he puts you through!”.

And there it is. It’s the voice in our heads who do not want us to follow advice we know is good for us and fights until death to win. It’s the voice of our egos, it’s nothing more than fear, and it represents our entire subconscious belief system which has been set up and leading our lives since we were small children. And the truth is, there is no way around that voice and very little can change until you consciously work hard at changing how that voice talks to you.

This is why lasting change is so hard to make. This is why people lose weight and gain it all back. Because the voice in the head is still screaming, “I want a double cheeseburger!” We can all follow some steps to some degree, with some willpower and attain some success, but if the voice in the head doesn’t like it or feel comfortable with it and you are working against it, change is not likely to stick.

So what can we do?

Believe Different

The only way to achieve lasting change is to unravel and change your subconscious belief system. The best place to start? Start questioning the thoughts that pop in your head throughout the day before you ever act on them. Be very conscious of your thoughts – don’t let them rule your life, question them like you have never questioned anything in your life before.

Thoughts aren’t real – they are self created, by you at the same time that you were learning how to make sense of the world and they represent your perception at that time. And the overwhelming majority are self critical, judgmental, or negative in some capacity. And you can change them by questioning them as they arise. Ask yourself,  “why do I believe that to be true?” And when you get an answer to that, start questioning the next answer. Keep drilling into your answers until you understand why you think the way you do and soon everything will start to make sense.  Always be consciously and directly challenging the validity of your thoughts.

If you do this, you will soon discover that there are so many thoughts that live in you that don’t serve you and if you repetitively tell yourself that your thoughts are not correct and give new meanings to the things  happening around you, you will find yourself well on your way to finally making lasting changes in your life. And this is the one place where you will have to make an concerted effort to override the voice in your head that may be reading this thinking, “screw that….I think just fine thank you very much…” The voice doesn’t want to change and is never wrong but if you truly want change in your life, it must start here

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