It’s very easy to get trapped in your own bullshit.
Our minds can often be our own worst enemy. We fill up our heads with lies, excuses, pessimism, negativity, and erroneous thinking. And we use these as weapons to rationalize why our lives suck and can’t be changed.
Many of these limitations are self-imposed. They aren’t actual physical boundaries that keep us from going where we want to, but mental boundaries that stop us from even seeing the path forward.
The most difficult thing about this trap is that it’s very hard to notice when you are feeding yourself bullshit. We are so trustworthy of our “inner voice” that we believe whatever it tells us must be true.
But do we always tell ourselves the truth? If you’re being honest with yourself, the answer is probably “no.”
There are a number of ways we lie to ourselves on a daily basis, whether they are cognitive biases, logical fallacies, or just ingrained thoughts we’ve learned through experience. We rarely have a perfect picture of reality, so by necessity our minds always lie to some degree.
And because it’s so difficult to catch ourselves in our own lies, it helps to have a friend who is comfortable enough to call us out on our own bullshit.
Do you have someone in your life who calls you out on your lies, excuses, and negativity?
Such a person can often be a rare, but highly valuable friend. Most people don’t call out people on their bullshit for the sake of being polite, nice, and civil.
If someone says something really wrong or stupid, we typically nod our heads and smile – it takes a special person to get up out of their chair and yell “That’s bullshit!”
And that’s completely understandable. No one wants to be around someone who constantly nitpicks and critiques everything they do. I totally get it.
At the same time, I think a huge part of self improvement is having at least one or two close friends who are willing to tell it like it is.
A close friend can often understand us better than ourselves. And when people look at us from an outside perspective, they can often see important insights into our lives that we can’t pick up on our own.
This is a similar to my approach to self improvement coaching. One part of my role is to give encouragement and kind words, but the other part is to find the ways people are lying to themselves.
Of course, calling people out on their lies and excuses can be a very delicate task. I don’t usually just yell out “That’s bullshit!” (although maybe sometimes that’s necessary too).
Instead, I usually try to get people to discover their own bullshit by asking them difficult questions. Then when I notice a contradiction in their thoughts, I point it out to them.
Often just pointing out the contradictions in people’s thoughts is enough to get them to think further and question their own lies. So that’s usually my version of “calling people out on their bullshit.”
At the same time, I also need someone to call me out on MY bullshit.
My mind is full of bullshit. I think I know a lot more than I really do. I’m very gullible when it comes to certain things. And I’m susceptible to biases, fallacies, and irrational thinking like everyone else.
It’s very important that we all accept our bias. As every single mind can only comprehend a sliver of reality – and for that reason we should always be willing to question our beliefs and learn new things.
This is why I appreciate my close friends so much. Most of them are always willing to challenge me and my beliefs. One of my favorite things in the world is just having a couple drinks and debating a controversial topic until the late hours of the night.
Having friends to keep you in check and hold you accountable is one of the most important things for self improvement.
Even with simple things like going to the gym, or studying for an exam, or eating healthier, we need friends who are going to call us out when we start cheating and lying to ourselves.
It could be a very brief conversation like:
Friend: Hey, were you able to go to the gym yesterday like you said?
You: No, I ended up just going home and watching Netflix. I was too tired…
Friend: I guess Netflix is more important than being healthy!
You: Well, uh…
Friend: Look man. It’s ultimately up to YOU how you want to spend your time.
We need friends like this to help us bring out our best selves. We need friends who are going to confront us when we come up with excuses. It doesn’t need to be a long and preachy rant, just a brief moment of “Hey man, get your shit together.”
Do you have someone in your life who is like this? Because you need to.
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