Productivity: What's Stopping You From Moving Forward?

Have you ever wanted to do something, but didn’t?

Have you ever set a goal, but didn’t achieve it let alone start?

We all have!

Why is that?

Why is it that we get excited about a goal, project, or pursuit, but rarely see it to the end.

The last newsletter gave two reasons (if you missed it, you can read it here). I mentioned they focus too much on motivation, which is fleeting, and techniques, which people rarely apply.

I was at a seminar recently by a top development expert in the world and he said only 2% of his followers apply his advice. I also read a statistic once that only about 5% of the people who buy self-help books actually read them.

The solution isn’t in the solutions!

The solution is in understanding that the mind is built to keep us from moving forward.

That’s right!

The mind is built to keep us from growing and making progress.

You see, anytime a decision, choice, option, or course of action stands before you, that decision gets analyzed by the mind using a whole host of criteria. If the course of action is not in line with the criteria, the mind will prevent action.

It doesn’t matter how much enthusiasm you have, how easy the solution is to implement, or much benefit you can derive, if the mind doesn’t approve the decision, you can’t act.


Think about standing before a panel of judges or board of directors

Every decision that comes up, must go through them. If even one of the members is against the idea, it won’t pass.

There is no way around it.

I can pump you with all the motivation and solutions in the world, but none of that will matter.

What matters is understanding aspects of the mind that hold you back, why they do, and how they manifest. When you can understand these things, only then is progress possible.

So, what are these criteria the mind evaluates?

1. Identity

A major criteria involves identity, which relate to characteristics that define you. It is usually followed by the words I am…

  • I am studious
  • I am athletic
  • I am hard working
  • I’m a rebel.

We humans are built to act within the confines of the identity we have formed or accepted. If you see yourself as a rebel, following the norm will be difficult. If, on the other hand, your identity is of the straight and narrow, you couldn’t do anything rebellious let alone that thought cross your mind.

Are you a Mac or PC? If you identify as a Mac, you couldn’t buy a PC even if you tried. If you’re a PC, Mac people likely annoy you to the point you wouldn’t even touch one.

2. Authority Issues

Another criteria involves authority issues, which relate to our unconscious attitudes towards authority figures such as parents, teachers, principals, coaches, bosses, priests, presidents, or gurus. Growing up, many of us developed issues to authorities, and in one way or another, are resisting advice they gave or told us.

Were parents always on your case about cleaning? Were teachers always harping about studying? Now, as an adult, you live a messy life and refuse to consider going back to school. The resistance is unconscious, you don’t know why you can’t stay clean, organized, or study, no matter how hard you try.

These are just two of a whole host of criteria the mind evaluates

The mind goes through all of this with something as simple as moving your arm. This may shed light on why even the simplest act, like raising your hand in class, opening you mouth in a meeting, or picking up the remote to turn off the television can be so difficult. Or why there is so much resistance to doing homework, exercise, and practice.

If you’ve been struggling in life, not getting what you want, or not performing to the best of your abilities, well these are few of the reasons. It’s not because you lacked motivation or didn’t have the right tools. It's that that mind and inner mechanisms were, for one reason or another, stopping you.

Though if you have resistance to a task or activity, the mind isn’t going to tell you resistance exists. It’s not going to say this decision is not in line with your identity or we’re resisting this task because we’re mad at mom from 15 years ago. No, inaction manifests other ways. You have to look for the signs, which I plan to talk about next time.

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