Monkey Puzzle Blog

head in the sand

The 3 Rs – The thinking habits that hold you back

1. The need to be Right

The need to be right is a disaster when it comes to living a successful and happy life. People who are driven by this need will often pontificate about things that they can’t control, have opinions about other peoples lives and ‘how they are getting it all wrong’.

The need to be right is a disaster when it comes to living a successful and happy life. People who are driven by this need will often pontificate about things that they can’t control, have opinions about other peoples lives and ‘how they are getting it all wrong’.

This person finds being wrong so painful they will go to great lengths to prevent that pain. So they find it very hard to learn new things or do different things because that would mean accepting that they didn’t know it. The problem is that because being right is so important, they don’t take risks, get stuck in familiar (even if they are miserable) situations, constantly rewrite history (to prove they weren’t wrong) and whilst often critical about things that have nothing to do with them, can be generally apathetic in how they conduct their own lives.

Success and happiness comes from accepting other people for who they are, being OK with being wrong and making mistakes, and learning rather than beating yourself up. Life is a learning experience and when people have the need to be right they deny themselves that opportunity and so rarely make much of their lives.

2. Confusion about where Responsibility lies

People who lead unsuccessful lives live at one end of the responsibility spectrum. They either take no responsibility for themselves or what happens in their lives (it’s always someone else, or the situations or or etc) or they take responsibility for everyone else and feel as if it’s their job to keep everyone happy. Both of these are unhelpful places from which to live. We all have the right to be responsible for ourselves.

Be easy on yourself if this is a problem for you, these traits are learnt for good reasons and some elements of them you will want to keep; for example being flexible and kind to others. The key is to know what’s yours and what isn’t. Supporting other people to help themselves is a good step if you are prone to taking over. Own your mistakes or your part in things (even if this is only to yourself at first), not to beat yourself up, but so that you can decide what to do differently in future and how you can learn from the situation.

3. Being anti Risk

In order to do something new and exciting with our lives, we have to take risks. For people who are risk averse, the fear of risk taking will impede their ability to be successful. Fear of risk is an anxiety of the unfamiliar, and this keeps them stuck.  The fear of risk is often a deep seated fear about how other people will cope or react if they do something different. If we take too much responsibility for other peoples lives, we are likely to be anti risk as it’s impossible to please everyone.

This is not to say that people should go from being very risk averse should suddenly start taking high levels of risk – this is unlikely to be successful. Taking small risks first will help people to work through the fear and decide what level of risk is right for them.

 

Successful people do not fear risks, they are OK that something might not work out. They are also clear about what is within their responsibility and what is not theirs, what they can do something about and what is outside of their control. They are focused on what they can do and if something doesn’t work out they learn from it and move on.


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