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Inner Thermostat

July 5, 2015

I just read the article Three Signs You Have and Upper Limit Problem in the Huffington Post.  It refers to the book The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level.  The article states that we all have fixed limits for enjoyment, happiness, or success.  When we exceed these limits, we feel that our life has gotten out of control.  We engage in self-defeating behavior.  We believe that we don’t deserve such success.  Probably because of low self-esteem, we become the victim.  We sabotage ourselves, all to bring our level of enjoyment, happiness, or success back down to normal.

Doesn’t this sound like the saying “Don’t press your luck”?  You are risking failure if you go too far.  Somebody is watching you.  They will strike you down if you are too happy.  It’s the Presbyterian principle in action.  Maybe it’s just that you can’t handle success.  Of course, the cause of self-defeating behavior is always elusive.  It’s just something that happens, not anything that you’ve done.  It’s bad luck.  It’s a coincidence.  No no, it’s never intentional.

I remember hearing a fellow I know talking about his two adopted sons.  They both came from a difficult background.  He tried to help them as much as possible.  Still, he said that they repeatedly had the ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  He meant that whenever they were at the point of achieving success in life, something happened that meant failure instead.  To some extent, he had given up on them.  He was focusing on grandchildren now: they were much better at succeeding.

I don’t recall engaging in any self-defeating behavior myself, but maybe I was just never aware of it.  I did learn that sometimes failure can simply be a result of less ability.  There’s no hidden meaning to it.  In fact, failure is a normal part of learning.  How can you learn without making mistakes?  It’s being persistent that counts.

The American Dream says that you can be anything that you want.  The opposite attitude says that what you can be is decided by fate.  Both attitudes are true.  Both are incorrect, too.  It really depends on your situation and your environment.  New situations and new environments may bring new opportunities.  There is something to be said for each of us having limits.  A big change would indeed be out of character for us.  Life would feel like it’s gotten out of control.  An achievement would be a good place for us to pause and reasess our lives.  It would give us time to develop a new character and a new normal state.

 

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