I was reading a great article from Mark Manson wherein he introduces a Law.
He calls it Manson’s Law of Avoidance and it goes as follows:
The more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid doing it.
This is such a valuable thought and insight.
It explains why we so often don’t do things.
(There are other ways to understand procrastination, but this one fills in some gaps in those explanations.)
To my mind, the reason why this makes so much sense, and is such a powerful explanation for why we don’t do things (I’m talking either big things, or things we’ve put off for a long time) is because of my thoughts on survival and modern life.
We, as a species, are obsessed with survival.
Not necessarily consciously, but we have all sorts of unconscious programming with ensures we won’t take unnecessary risks and that we place survival above all else.
In terms of keeping us alive it works wonderfully well. The problem is the problem this “ability” was meant to solve ancient and long-gone.
We no longer have to worry about saber-tooth tigers and starving because we can’t find food, or any number of real concerns our ancient forebears faced.
Instead, what we defend, what we vigorously protect is our sense of identity.
In modern life, who we are – who we see ourselves as – is what we strive to maintain, and protect.
Put another way, cave-people evolved physical systems to be (hyper) vigilant and eat whenever possible and hang out together and modern humans have displaced those survival needs and mechanisms to protect our identity, our sense of who we are (and to over-eat and rage on the roads and . . . ).
That’s why it’s so hard to change.
And this is why Manson’s Law makes so much sense.
Let that sink in for a minute . . .
* * *
Now, ask yourself what have you wanted to change, start or stop and haven’t been able to?
Then ask yourself: how is your sense of who are possibly tied to the not-changing-of-that?
Finally, ask yourself: is that true? Am I really that? Or maybe I’m actually not that? I’ll be okay, still me, if I make this change, right?
Of course you will.