It’s actually pretty easy.. everything, that is.
In a recent episode of the Tim Ferriss podcast, Tim revisited a very smart observation from Derek Sivers who said,
“We complicate things we don’t want to do.”
Obviously there are some things in life that are actually difficult, but telling yourself how difficult something is hardly helps you accomplish anything.
What’s worse, we will often tell ourselves this complicated story about something we don’t want to do in order to persuade ourselves not to do something.
I know it sounds complicated so lets think about the analogy Derek used when talking to Tim Ferriss.
Think about how someone who hates running would explain it to you.
You could imagine what they would say because you probably heard this before, or even said something similar yourself.
Well you have to buy new goofy clothes and expensive shoes that cost way too much because you can’t just run in anything or your feet will hurt. And, Ughh, first you have to get up early, then put on the right socks so you don’t get blisters and then put on your expensive shoes which still need to be broken in so you’re probably going to get blisters anyway, and then go out in the bad weather and, sweat like crazy, and you can barely breathe and even after you’re done you don’t stop sweating all day and it’s embarrassing being at work sweating, and it makes me tired and I have to drink so much water and then I have to pee all the time and…
Sounds pretty miserable..
Then think about how someone who loves running would explain it.
O you just put on some decent shoes and pop out for a run..
These two people are talking about the same activity, the only difference is one person enjoys it, and the other doesn’t. But that simple distinction made one person tell an elaborate, complicated story, while the other made it clear anyone can run.
We do this all the time. Working out is an obvious example but sometimes it’s about cooking, doing the dishes, mowing the lawn, reading, meditating and on, and on. Sometimes we tell ourselves stories about small tasks like flossing your teeth, and sometimes they are bigger things like having to see your doctor about something.
When you find yourself pushing something away, or not wanting to do something, think about the story you are telling yourself about that thing. That is, think about the language you are using. Does it sound very complicated and difficult? Most likely you will be able notice quickly when you are debating something you don’t want to do because you are already telling yourself a complicated story. Then, all you have to do is make a decision if what you are debating is something you need and want to do? If so, change the story. Start thinking about how easy it actually is, think about all you will gain from doing that thing, and think about what you stand to lose if you don’t do that thing.
Start paying attention to your self-talk throughout the day and even when you’re talking to others.
Notice when you are creating your own resistance by telling yourself a complicated story, and change the story when necessary.