What do you say about yourself that isn’t true? How’s that for a loaded question today?
One of my favorite quotes on self-reflection is “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
This was one of the biggest revelations I had when I first got into personal development.
You see, the real truth is there. The real rules are there. They actually make sense. But they’re a bit more complicated, and a lot less comfortable than “convenient truths”, which is why most people never manage to learn them.
“Life is unfair”
“Money makes you mean”
“The economy is rigged”
“I can’t be wealthy because I have kids”
“I don’t make enough money to save”
“Life’s too short to be a miser”
How do you know when something is a “convenient truth” and not the real truth? When other people in the same situation have done just the opposite. That’s when you know, that’s it’s just a convenient truth meant to provide shade to someone who won’t push themselves.
Here’s another way to know if something is a convenient truth – when its opposite hurts. There’s an oft-repeated phrase of “the truth hurts”. I find that only those who aren’t seeking the truth find it to be harsh.
For them, it’s easier to fall for the collective delusion that something is going on that keeps them from being successful. That company you work for? Someone’s trying to put it out of business. That job you like? Someone would love to replace you with a computer program. That high-paying job that you want? They’re going to give that to someone else that they know better than you.
This type of thinking is that the world is fixed in some pattern. What is really happening is that these people are mistaking their view of the world with the world itself.
Because the world can be viewed from many different points. And it does change according to who is watching it.
For example, an optimistic person will notice the opportunities, things to be grateful for and that even though things may be hard or bad right now they will change. The pessimist will likely stay stuck in inaction, think that his or her world will not change and look down on the optimist as some gullible and naïve fool who doesn’t understand how the “real world” works.
“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
This quote is also interesting because it helps you realize that what you see in your world can also say things about you.
If you find a lot of problems and obstacles in your world then perhaps you are more like that than you would like to think too?
If something about people irritates you then perhaps it is because that quality is something you yourself have and it is something you do not like about yourself?
Think about your world and what it can tell you about yourself. Think about yourself and how you may be interpreting the world in ways that do not serve you very well.
Think about how you could become the change you want to see in your own world.
Remember, the most important thing is what we do.
That’s not how we judge ourselves though. We judge ourselves by our thoughts.
“I’m a good person”. “I’m ambitious”. These idle impulses may comfort a person at night, but they’re not how the world sees us. They’re not even how we see other people.
Well-meaning intentions don’t matter. An internal sense of what a person wants doesn’t count for squat. What exactly have they done?
You see, it’s easier to invent our own moral authority than see what’s really happening. It’s why we have referees in sports games and judges in courtrooms: we have an innate sense of right and wrong, and we expect the world to comply. Our parents tell us this. Our teachers teach us this. Be a good boy, and have some candy.
But reality is indifferent.
The reality is that good things don’t come to those who just sit around thinking that life is unfair and developing convenient excuses. As they say, good things come to those that hustle.
Hustle is not about making snap decisions and forcing yourself to work for the sake of working. But there is a sense of urgency that if you want to reach your goals, then there has to be a little hustle.
In my experience, you learn faster and deeper lessons when you’re moving. By moving forward, it’s easier to judge what’s working and not working. Also, when you’re moving you’re telling yourself that you’re in control – the opposite of what those convenient truths say.
While a lot of things in this world have changed, the need for hustle has not. The requisite brow sweat may be more figurative these days, but time, focus, dedication, and determination will remain the eternal principles of success.
So, if you find yourself spewing out convenient truths that belies a more serious situation with your finances or about success in general, my advice is to get moving. Get a plan yes, but move your feet today. Remember, you can’t steer a parked car.
Be free. Nothing else is worth it.
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