People use their minds to survive. Without the mind to survive, perhaps mankind would have become extinct eons ago. However, the mind can also be somewhat lazy. When it’s lazy, it goes into autopilot. In autopilot, it does not use logic and reason. It mostly reacts, like knee jerk responses. In autopilot, the mind becomes less interested inpleasure and solutions. It becomes obsessed with defending and protecting itself. To protect itself, it may even sabotage some of your greatest desires.
In the past, I have spoken about how people are motivated to look good or avoid looking bad. To accomplish that, they will justify inappropriate behavior, fight to be right, make others wrong, defend, dominate others or avoid domination, blame and if none of that works, they will play victim. These are all activities of the mind on autopilot.
On the surface, those strategies may appear to be winning. Except, if you closely examine the person stuck with this mindset, you will see they almost always destroy a good thing. Then they will justify why it was meant to be that way. Ultimately, that is a person who desires nothing more than to avoid being responsible. That is when the mind in reactive mode. Logic and reason go out the window.
It would seem that no one in their right mind would want to sabotage their best planned efforts. Yet, day after day someone does exactly that.
This is the person who is sometimes depicted as the good person once you get to know them. When you really get to know them, what you sometimes find, for example, is a perfectionist. He or she is terrified of looking bad. Sometimes perfectionists never complete projects because it’s never perfect enough.
Are they bad? Of course not! Do they see the patterns of self-sabotage? Maybe. Except, the desire to look good or avoid looking bad is stronger than the desire to start or finish things.
At work, perfectionists can be fantastic and very productive. They are often the person who will get the job done the right way the first time around. Even though they may criticize colleagues, they will do the job well to ensure they look good. They may even outdo others to guarantee they look good.
If you manage this person, it is critical to play to their strengths, whatever they may be. Also, listen to them when they complain. Then ask if they are willing to take responsibility for any part of it to ensure things are corrected. As you can see, they can be an asset to a company or team.
The perfectionists can also be an asset to their significant other. As long as that goal is in front of them, they will tirelessly work towards it. On the other hand, if your love relationship has not included something the two of you are building together, the mind of the perfectionist turns into the saboteur. When there is no goal to contribute to, they may become consumed with fear of inadequacy. To avoid that preconceived fear, they may become argumentative. Perhaps, in their mind, this takes the other person’s attention off the saboteur’s supposed lack of contribution.
This is when the mind becomes dangerous. The mind begins to make up stories about almost everything. The saboteur’s fixation of what they are not doing has them not fully present to the relationship. Therefore, they may not be adequately listening to conversations. When a person is listening to the stories their mind has made up or imagined, they are no longer listening to the person in front of them. That creates misunderstandings, at the least. While the saboteur is listening to the irrational stories their mind has made up, they are figuring out how to defend themselves. As a result, they will miss the opportunity to do the thing they claim they want to do – contribute. Instead of listening to you, they will be preparing a defense to argue.
While the mind is instrumental in helping people survive, it simultaneously works against mankind. When the mind is dangerous, it sees threats everywhere and does everything to avoid them. Out of that mindset friends become enemies, spouses head to divorce court and great plans are destroyed. Can you take control of your mind when it gets out of control? Well that’s a title for another article. At the same time, there are resources out there that can help you. If you are unable to find those resources, contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do you think? I would love to hear your feedback. And I’m open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, let me know.