Close Doesn’t Count: Why You Need To Stop Fooling Yourself
Stop fooling yourself. Your brain is a powerful tool. And that’s exactly the reason you need to be careful that it’s actually working to help you.
I know how paranoid that sounds. No, I’m not talking about a Manchurian candidate situation in which someone else has control over your mind. That’s crazy talk.
What I am talking about is something far more subtle.
It’s when your brain tries to protect your from pain by telling you lies.
One of the worst of them all is the “Myth of Close.”
WTF Is The “Myth Of Close?”
This is something that happens over the course of several months or even years.
It starts just like anything else: You have a dream, a goal, a thing you need in your life. It’s not easy to achieve, so you know you have some work ahead of you.
You study, you train, you prepare — and you go for it.
Try again. Fail again.
After several cycles, you start to get frustrated, which is only natural.
And in that very moment, your brain sees its opportunity. The next time you try and come up short, your brain starts putting on its spin job.
If your goal is to take a girl home, your brain starts celebrating getting a girl’s number as if it were the goal. If your goal is to have a 32-inch waist, your brain starts celebrating that 36-inch dad bod because it’s “tremendous progress.”
Before you know it, your brain rewrites your goals. It automatically starts to settle for something less and makes you think that’s what you really wanted.
How Is This Even Possible?
Your brain isn’t consciously being treacherous. In fact, your brain is only trying to help you out.
It’s designed to help you move towards pleasure and move away from pain.
As complex as human beings are, that’s essentially how we operate. Pleasure = good. Pain = bad. Your brain is no different.
It sees painful experiences and says, “Holy shit, that’s no fun,” and then anticipates future instances of pain and tries to fend them off.
That’s why, if you fail enough times at the same thing, your brain starts to spin narratives to minimize the importance of the thing you want or tries to revise the parameters of success so that your failure is actually OK.
Human beings are not perfectly designed, and this is one of our biological flaws.
Why You Need To Stop Fooling Yourself
On the surface, your brain is helping insulate you from the pain of failure, but when you look deeper, you realize that it’s actually preventing you from success.
You see, success requires a certain amount of failure. It requires a certain amount of pain. The person who lives their life without pain is the person who doesn’t achieve anything worthwhile.
So, in an attempt to prevent you from feeling short-term pain, your brain is actually making it easier for you to give up instead of pushing through obstacles on the road to success.
How Do You Avoid This Trap?
Understanding this brain glitch is the first step to getting past it. Simply knowing that your brain does this is a huge help.
You’ll be able to catch yourself in the middle of spinning a BS story and understand that it’s just your brain trying to protect you from pain.
It’s your job to recognize that and make sure you tell yourself the truth.
Another way to combat this tendency is to set concrete goals. What is success exactly? Numbers, details, facts, checkpoints, etc. Have them all ready.
That way, when you have to evaluate whether you succeeded or failed, your evaluation is objective. You either did it or you didn’t. If your criteria is hazy, then that makes it easier for you to accept less than you deserve.
Don’t let that happen.