Why Other People Will Try to Hold You Back

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    120 people had breakthroughs this week. Will the next one be you?

    Two things for you to think about

    People will try to put the same limitations on you that they put on themselves. Don’t mistake their insecurities for your ceiling.

    To prove people wrong, don’t make a counterargument; be a counterargument.

    Reflect: Then consider sharing this thought with others.

    Two things for you to ask yourself

    In what ways have you allowed other people’s limitations to hold you back? Why do you think you let it happen?

    Recommended: Use these as journaling prompts for the week.

    One thing for you to try this week

    Say “fuck it” to one prior limitation you accepted for yourself. Then, let me know how it goes.

    Remember: Small changes lead to lasting breakthroughs. Reply to this email and let me know how it went for you.

    New This Week

    You and Everyone You Know Will Someday Die – A short animation on meaning, mortality, and making the most of the little bit of time we all have on this earth. Enjoy.

    How to Take Massive Action (ft. Noah Kagan) – Last week, I had eight-time founder and CEO of AppSumo on the podcast to talk about the art of taking action, the importance of rejection, and why most people set way too high expectations for themselves. Check it out.

    Last week’s breakthroughs

    In last week’s newsletter, I asked you to stop viewing a relationship in your life as a power struggle and see what happens.

    One reader felt the weight lifted off their shoulders when they stopped competing with a family member:

    So, I decided to stop viewing my relationship with my sister as a power struggle and to just get along, being supportive. However this approach was from my side only and the sister persisted in competitive behavior underlaid with jealousy.

    Recently I pointed out she’d told me a lie to advance an argument. In response, she sent texts detailing past events that included her own fabrications rather than what had actually occurred. I chose not to engage, instead letting her texts go unanswered.

    We’ve had no contact since and it’s a good feeling knowing that I’ve finally gotten out from under the lifelong dominance to which I’ve been subjected since I was seven.

    As you say, the only way to win a power struggle in a relationship is to refuse to compete.

    Angela regrets letting her scorecard jeopardize a good relationship:

    I was in a relationship for more than two years with a single dad. Early in the relationship we made plans for eventually introducing me to his son who was 11 at the time and still unsettled from his parents’ divorce. There was no rush.

    However, after two years, we were still kicking the can down the road. Everything else was great. But I started keeping score. It became a source of conflict. I put way too much stock in what one introduction would do and began discounting the day-to-day interactions that made our relationship great. I ultimately made it a competition, and you’re right, no one walked away a winner.

    A part of me will always regret that I didn’t trust the value I brought to the relationship was enough. I did not need to compete with a pre-teen for his father’s affection. He had always done a great job of prioritizing both of us.

    To end, a reader’s ongoing struggle to ditch the relationship scorecard they keep… with themselves:

    My relationship with myself is so flawed, I have a hard time feeling good when someone praises me or I do something great. At the end of the day, no matter how mindful I try to be, I am never good enough in my own head.

    I teach horseback riding, am well-educated and well-traveled. Married with two kids. But at the end of the day I hate myself for things I have said or done. I get so upset that I find myself cursing out loud.

    I am self-employed. My students seem happy and my horses are happy. But I have this scorecard that I keep, and I never win.

    I am about to take on a huge project, maybe the last one I take on in this lifetime as I am only about a decade away from physical limitations dictating my activities.

    I need a new scorecard, or a way to officiate the battle that goes on in my mind.

    It’s tough because we all have an internal scorecard and I think it’s probably healthy and normal to have an internal scorecard, to some extent. I probably should judge myself if I’m being a bad husband or fucking up at work.

    The question, then, is how useful is our scorecard and also how well are we adapting when we fail to live up to our own standards? In general, I find that people who have extremely harsh scorecards with themselves struggle to adapt because their bars for success are so unreasonably high, that they demotivate themselves to even try. Instead, they get caught in these spirals of self-hatred, feeling bad that they’re feeling bad, beating themselves up for the smallest missteps.

    You get to decide what your scorecard is. You don’t have to listen to the feelings of guilt, shame, and embarrassment that arise when you don’t live up to some unreasonable expectation. You can give yourself easy wins. In fact, I think everyone should give themselves some easy wins from time to time, especially if they’re feeling pretty down about themselves. And when the shame and guilt and pain comes up, look it in the eye, and say, “Nope, I’m still winning. I have the scorecard. Not you.” And carry on.

    As always, send your breakthroughs by simply replying to this email. Let me know if you’d prefer to remain anonymous.

    Until next week,

    Mark Manson

    #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
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