When my wife and I first started dating, I was convinced she was going to break up with me. I had no good reason for believing it. She was lovely. But for some reason, the idea lodged itself in my mind and I couldn't seem to shake it. It completely changed the way I interpreted her actions. If she was quiet, it was because she was going to break up with me. If she was late, she was going to break up with me. If she was angry, she was definitely going to break up with me.
It sounds a little OCD now, hey?
Probably because it was.
Anyway, I digress.
The idea had taken root in my mind, and I was convinced it was true. That was ten years ago now.
A lot of us believe ridiculous things. Things that don't make any sense when we actually challenge them. The problem is, because we're so caught up in them, we don't do the challenging.
I wanted to take a moment to call bullshit on some commonly accepted ideas.
1. You can do anything you set your mind to
Three years ago, I went through a twelve-month phase where I was in the gym nearly everyday. My weight jumped from 67kg to 81kg and as a result, I'd come to believe I was an absolute beast. I’d started strutting around the gym like I was Leo in that scene of Wolf of Wall Street where he's getting all fired up talking to his employees. You know the one I mean?
Anyway, around this time, my best mate James decided to come and do a session with me. James is 6'4 and 95kg and hadn't been in the gym for a couple of years. But it turns out, James is strong. As soon as the session began, it was very obvious that I had quickly become his bitch. It didn't matter that he hadn't trained, he was better in the gym than me.
It was a humbling moment.
It was like if Verne Troyer, the guy who plays mini me in Austin Powers got in a dunking contest with Jordan in his prime. It wasn't a fair competition. It doesn't matter how much belief he had, genetically, he was in trouble.
While I'm a huge believer in the power of the mind, Verne Troyer will never dunk a ring without a trampoline.
I think too many of us get caught in areas we shouldn't be wasting our time all under the illusion that if we work hard enough, it will work out fine. I'm not saying don't have hobbies. I'm saying don't waste your time aiming to be the best at Basketball if you're Verne Troyer.
Here's an alternative.
Rather than trying to convince ourselves that if we just believe more we can dunk any ring, let's take some time to consider where our strengths actually lay, and invest in those areas.
2. The more money you have the happier you’ll be
I'm just going to call it.
We've lost our minds when it comes to money.
It doesn't matter who we are or what we have, the idea of having just a little more (or a lot more) makes us all froth. We usually don't have a number in mind about how much is enough. We just want more.
The lifestyle we imagined is always just a little further down the road than where we are now. It doesn't matter how hard we work we can never quite get there. We've become slaves to an illusion.
You know what's crazy?
Research shows that once you hit 75k, the money you earn after that won't do much to your level of happiness. The essentials have been covered and the excess we get excited about apparently aren't as rewarding as we all think. It doesn't matter if we buy the new, bigger, brighter and louder.
Advertisers also do a brilliant job of making us feel as though what we're craving can be attained in the iPhone 7, so we all rush to that in the hope that what we're longing for will be found there, but obviously it won't because we has the same hope for the previous six.
When you start to realise that all the money you're earning to spend on all the stuff you don't really need is not making you any happier, you can step away from the illusion that you need more money to buy it all.
I have an alternative to earning more money that I think you will absolutely hate.
Rather than dreaming about what life could look like with a little more money, just stop buying so much shit.
3. Everyone else has it 'all together'
We're always at the centre of our own movie in life.
Because of this, we're more aware than anyone about how vulnerable, scared and insignificant we feel from time to time. We know all the things we wish we were doing better and assume that if we were someone else, then we could experience what it's like to be free of all our troubles.
Due to the fact that we hate talking about our own weaknesses, we usually do our best to keep how we feel to ourself. Because we all doing the same thing we rarely hear about others struggles so we assume there's just something wrong with us.
Let me tell you something.
None of us have any idea what is going on. We're great in some areas, horrible in others. We’re all figuring this stuff out as we go along.
Stop assuming you're the only one trying to figure it all out. Take comfort in the fact we're all in the exact same boat as you.
We're learning as we go.