Lately I've spoken to a few people who have amazed me with the skill they have to consistently avoid personal responsibility of any kind. They possess an incredible ability to ignore what is glaringly obvious to the rest of the world; that they are lazy, deluded, irresponsible, excuse-making procrastinators and that they are living in denial. . . and no, not the Egyptian one.
It's like they live in some kind of parallel universe where facts and reality don't really seem to matter; everyone ‘gets it’. . . except them.
They actually start to believe their own stories; nothing is their fault, nothing is their responsibility and everyone and everything is to blame for their crappy, unfair, un-inspired existence.
They are victims. Of their own delusional world. They deny themselves into inactivity, misery, mediocrity and frustration.
Rather than creating their best life, they embrace the lotto mentality. They sit on the edge of their couch every Saturday night hoping that their numbers will come up. Not surprisingly, they never do.
"Oh well, there's always next Saturday. . . it's my only hope. "
And when you talk to them about their situation (life, finances, relationships, health, career, education) they've always got two hundred gut-wrenching stories of how people, the universe and occasionally even. . . God has conspired against them.
Obviously God is bored and has a bunch of spare time on his hands.
Life seems to ‘happen’ to them. So not fair. Rather than creating their own amazing life. . . they tolerate and survive their self-inflicted miserable one.
Invariably the ‘universe’ has dealt them crappy cards and they just have to soldier on bravely. . . toughing out the enormous adversity the world (and everyone in it) has created for them. While some people are incredibly ‘lucky', these guys convince themselves that they have simply drawn the short straw and that all of their problems are the result of their situation, circumstances and environment.
And of course. . . other people.
They do their best to convince themselves that it's all about time. . . or money. . . . or bad luck. . . . or genetics. . . or discrimination. . . . or their boss. . . or the government. . . . . or limited opportunities or some other social injustice.
It's simply not fair.
They want it to be about time or opportunities or genetics or other people because then . . . . they're off the hook! Because if it's about any of those things . . . then it ain't about them!! (there's some psychology for you). And that's exactly what they want. . . a cop out, an excuse. . . a (legitimate sounding) reason to fail; someone or something to blame.
Here's a conversation I've had a thousand times:
"But Craig, it's a time thing. "
“Err. . . yeh but surely you get to choose what you do with your time?"
"Yeh, but if it was up to me I'd be at the gym six days per week. "
“It is up to you. "
"Well clearly you decide where you will invest your time and energy. "
“So you being out of shape and unhealthy is actually a decision that you've made. "
"Why would I decide to be fat; I hate being fat?"
“You don't hate it. . . enough. "
"You decide not to exercise, decide not to live a healthy lifestyle, decide to eat high calorie, high fat, high sugar processed garbage and decide to drink alcohol (a lot). . . therefore (consciously or not) you decide to be fat and unhealthy. "
"You're being harsh and unfair. "
“I'm being honest; you're in denial. "
“You don't understand my situation. "
“It's not about your situation, it's about your head. "
"It's about your thinking. "
“It sucks. "
"Being fat and unhealthy is all about you. . . and until you get your head around that reality. . . you'll never create forever change. " “You are more motivated by being comfortable (via sitting on your ass and eating crap sixteen hours a day) than you are by the notion of getting in shape. "
Okay, now I know some of you are thinking “does he really talk to people like that?" Yes I do. Not on an hourly basis, but when it's appropriate.
Now here's my question for you:
What has the greater potential for long-term harm. . .being blunt and honest with someone for two minutes or letting them continue on with their destructive behaviours and attitudes when you know you can help them?
I always say to my clients “I can tell you what you want to hear. . . or I can tell you the truth"; they're rarely the same.
Creating our best life is not about beating ourselves up (about our flaws) or indulging in self-pity, it's about being honest and taking total responsibility for the reality of our entire life (health, fitness, relationships, career, spirituality, finances). It's about positively, systematically and un-emotionally (not always easy) dealing with our issues, acknowledging what and how we need to change, and accepting and understanding that we determine what our life story will be.
Yes there will be hurdles, obstacles, challenges and even tragedies but even those. . . . are not reasons to compromise what we could and should be.
We all have amazing in us.
All of us.
What will your life story be?
Craig Harper (B. Ex. Sci. ) is an Australian motivational speaker, qualified exercise scientist, author, columnist, radio presenter, and owner of one of the largest personal training centres in the world.
He can be heard weekly on Australian Radio SEN 1116 and GOLD FM and appears on Australian television on Network Ten's 9AM.
Motivational Speaker - Craig Harper