Overcoming Self-Defeating Behaviors
You do things for good reasons that have bad endings. Some work long hours till they lose their family while telling themselves they’re working for their family, for example.
The worst self-defeating behavior is persisting in self-defeating behaviors.
Self-defeating behaviors are like tires with holes. It doesn’t matter how many times you pump them up.
3 reasons self-defeating behaviors persist:
#1. Misguided self-reflection.
Everyone thinks about their life. Very few engage in structured self-reflection. Self-reflection isn’t thinking about frustrating people. It’s noticing things you do that allow frustration to persist.
Dumb self-reflection ends with blame instead of responsibility.
Write about this in a journal for a week. The life I live is the one I’m building. What specifically am I doing that makes my day better? Worse?
The above is an example of structured self-reflection. Take it to the next level by completing this sentence. The one thing I will do today to make life better is __________. Or eliminate a self-defeating behavior. The one thing I won’t do today is _________.
#2. Stupid works for a while.
You can eat unhealthy food for a day with few negative consequences. Eat it every day and it will kill you.
You get away with…
- Rudeness until people speak up.
- Working long hours until stress catches you.
- Pushing people instead of inspiring people until they leave.
Stupid persists when you don’t ponder the path. Every path has an end.
Make a list of behaviors you persistently do and ask, “Where does this behavior take me?”
#3. Correction stings.
Someone suggested you change, and you defended yourself instead of leaning in.
Smart leaders seek correction. Stupid leaders resist.
Seek correction. Ask, “What am I doing that doesn’t serve my goals?”
What are some common self-defeating behaviors?
Why do self-defeating behaviors persist?
Our book, The Vagrant enables leaders to spot self-defeating behaviors and offers strategies for structured self-reflection.
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