How to do what you want
We all know the classic question: “How to do what you want?” however the answer still remains ambiguous. For example, we commit ourselves to regular exercise with failure as the end result.
This time we will look at this vital issue from a completely different perspective, from the perspective of a cognitive psychologist, Amanda Crowell.
Amanda Crowell identifies three powerful mindset blocks that are keeping you locked in the cycle of defensive failure, a state in which you need and even you think that you need to change, however, it never happens.
If any of these blocks are in play, the brain defends you against the real failure – which is what you do things but you do it really badly. It redirects you and distracts you in the way that you never make any progress.
You think deep inside that you actually can’t do it
You think that some people have a talent to do these things and you do not. You try to do something for the first time and you do it wrong. If you believe that the core of doing things is talent and genetics you can’t progress.
For example, you decided to cycle every day to get into shape but after the first day you are exhausted, going through the quarter of the planned distance. You felt that everything goes hard for you. This was proof for your brain that you did not have what it takes to do it.
You think that people like you do not do things like that
This block relates to your identity and you care about it as it is a hard win. You had your identity before your adolescence, but you have started to absorb external characteristics from the people around you. For example, if your parents said that you are creative or musical you absorb that as part of your identity.
Then, you begin asking questions who you are socially: Am I like you? or Am like you? pointing to someone else. You take on pieces of their identity and you check how it feels. For example, you start lying to your parents, skipping school and to see how it works for you.
Amanda Crowell refers to the identity fracturing phase identified by Erik Erikson. You do really uncomfortable things which create friction in your mind as you do not know who you are.
Then you begin to release these pieces of identity that do not resonate with you. Like, you stop lying however it makes you feel like a real traitor as you are leaving the pack of kids with whom you skipped the classes.
Erik Erikson calls this stage identity cohesion. This difficult process results in an identity-shaping stage, in which you start to believe in who you really are. You identify what matters to you a lot and you will do nothing that threatens that identity.
For example, if you struggle a lot to get clients as you consider yourself as heart cantered helper type, selling services feels inauthentic and pushy. You do not what to do anything inauthentic and now you are in a cycle of defensive failure.
Share your concerns with people with a similar approach and find a way to do things that you want in line with your identity.
Secretly you do not want to do it
You value the thing you want to do for the wrong reasons. You can value things in two ways: intrinsically where the reasons come from inside of you, like interest and curiosity or for the extrinsic reasons, for example, all the cool people do it, my mom would be proud of me or that I would like to be admired.
Another example, if you trying to stick to the strict budget you bring your own lunch to work. However, when you forget to take it, urging moments appear, like to go to the restaurant with others instead of buying a sandwich and stay within the budget. You need to build an intrinsic interest that keeps you focused.
Find the way to be interested in and curious about what it is that you want to do or draw a bright line between the things you want to do now and your long term hopes. And if you get to the moment that you want to give up, get that piece of paper and read your goals. You will ground back yourself to the intrinsic interest.
Following Amanda, I’ve observed that it is likely that all blocks might be at play at the same time. At that moment you need to trade your cycle of defensive failure for action-driven, insight-filled productive failure. Answering the question, how to do what you want? the recommended action would be to get your head clear and begin to take steps, follow a simple system reliable system and nothing can stop you.