The Fine Art of Self-Sabotage and What You Can Do About It

They say that attitude is everything, but even in business, we’ve seen that sometimes even the best and the brightest demonstrate behaviors that undermine their success.  Why do people do that?  I mean, make up excuses about why they can’t do something, when doing it may be just what they need to propel themselves and their businesses forward?  Obviously, no one sets themselves up to fail on purpose, but our minds have a way of throwing a yammy into even the best of intentions. Most of the time, we’re not even aware of it until someone brings it to our attention.


Let’s talk about attitude adjustments. I recently read that the average person has 50,000 thoughts every day and that most of them are negative.  By extension, it’s logical to assume that most of us fall prey to self-sabotage on a daily basis, whether we’re conscious of it or not.  For example, take the  The ‘Yes, but’ disease.  ‘Yes, buts’ are those little words and phrases we’ve come to know so well, tagged with all the reasons we assign to them, in order to sound plausible.  We know we need to get past the excuses and take action, but like Scarlett O’Hara, we’ll think about it tomorrow.  ‘After all, tomorrow is another day.’  But guess what? We may consider ourselves masters of illusion, but we’re only fooling ourselves. No matter how creative or justifiable our excuses may seem to us, everyone knows that game.  They’ve played it themselves. The other this is this: there are just so many days.  Then what?


The good news is that there’s a cure for ‘Yes, but ‘ disease, and it’s really simple.  It’s called positivity, and while it’s simply a new spin on positive thinking, the ‘ity’ suffix modifies it to become a state of being: a condition.  We can condition ourselves out of the ‘Yes, but’ rut and by doing so, let good, energizing positivity in. Here’s how to start. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular ‘Yes, buts’ and see what we can do about them: 


  1. Yes, but I’m not _____enough.  You’re not what enough?  Big enough?  Strong enough?  Hungry enough?  Good enough?  Let me tell you something.  You are.
  2. Yes, but I don’t have the moneyHow important is it to you?  We need to set our priorities.
  3. Yes, but I don’t have the time.  How many days have you said that? How much time have you lost saying that?  Time is valuable.  Use it on things that matter.
  4. Yes, but I’ve already started to do it this other way.  If your other way is working, then keep it up – but keep your options open. 
  5.  Yes, but I’m afraid it won’t work.  It will work if you want it badly enough and are willing to do what it takes to accomplish it.
  6.  Yes, but I don’t think I’m ready yet.  Then stop thinking about it and move on.
  7.  Yes, but I’m scared.  Franklin Roosevelt once said, ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.’


Attitudes begin to change when we start changing our words. Words affect our brains which control how we see the world. ‘Yes, buts’ negatively affect our perception, our brains, and consequently our thinking.  They also control how we’re perceived by others because people tend to judge us by our words So, by changing your words, you can change your perception and have the power to take negative thoughts and patterns into positive instruments for change.


For example, what if, for every ‘Yes, but’ excuse you gave, you said:


  •   Yes, and…
  •   How can we…
  •   Why not…
  •   Let’s try…


I bet you’d find that not only will you be able to beginning seeing opportunities within your grasp that you didn’t see achieveable before. but that you’ll also be drawing people to you (both internal and external to your organization) like never before.


Remember, change is mutable . Some things are just going to happen, and other things are in your control. The only thing carved in stone is yesterday. Take positive care of the present and make the ‘Yes, buts’  a thing of the past. After all, today is tomorrow, just waiting to happen. 

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