We Hear What We Want to Hear

I was once thanked by a friend of mine for introducing Gary Vaynerchuk to him and that since then he’s been watching his videos. It made me happy that I somehow contributed to his growth (hopefully) but also reminded me on why I came up with the decision to stop consuming his or any other similar people’s contents and focus on the reality in front of me.

One reason why we keep coming back for something is because it makes us feel so damn good. This post will be mainly revolving around how our motivational sources and support people make us feel good and keep us always coming back for more.

Motivational Sources

Okay let’s start with this.

Imagine you’re in a school. You get educated based on the school’s curriculum. All you have to do is follow it and then graduate. Easy. You then take the final exam and… miserably fail. What’s your initial reaction? “They didn’t tell us majority of the exam will contain this topic!” (That’s the difficult thing when exams coverage are so general that you don’t know which ones to focus on.)

Imagine a life where someone will tell you everything about your life. Sounds great, right? This someone will tell you—step-by-step—how to live your life. We simply have to wake up. Follow the plan. Go back to sleep. The cycle repeats. Now it gets boring. Why? Nobody likes routine work. At least that’s what most people that quit their jobs usually say. Oh yes… I wonder why that sounds familiar?… *slow, long, and awkward wink*

Now think about our motivational sources. This could be motivational speakers or podcasts we follow and consume contents from daily. Motivation can sometimes be viewed as something we can only gain from others and we become too reliant on them that we all end up accomplishing far less than we could have if only we actually focused on what mattered to us and put in real work towards attaining them.

I’m not bashing or hating on anyone, but it’s the truth. It’s a common mistake we can observe from ourselves and from others. We get stuck in this illusion that we we are making progress only to wake up to the reality that we haven’t made any real progress. It feels so good that we keep on coming back for more despite knowing this deep inside. I remember last year when I was in a depression pit, I would endlessly watch motivational videos and listen to podcasts until I felt good about my so called progress. It made me excited to work—which was a good thing—but in reality I failed to actually do anything. I would start, work until it gets a little bit difficult, and then go back to consuming contents. That was a daily thing for me. I would even tell others that I was working but if you look at my progress, I barely moved at all! Ridiculous, right? Motivation is just addicting that way.

Going back to the analogy. Life would be a lot simpler and a lot easier if we simply followed a life plan already set for us. In reality though, life is way different from our school life where teachers teaching us what we should know, prefects telling us how to properly behave, and curriculum acting as our life plans. The reason why we still do it anyway is because it’s easy. It’s a lot easier to be told what to do and be a follower. It’s a lot easier to be the #2 of the company and have #1 take all the blame. It’s easy to make excuses for our own failures since we were just following. Easy could be misinterpreted as being good. Yes, it is beneficial for motivational speakers/podcasts to grow their audiences, but I’d at least want to believe that their main goal is something different. It is for us to gain the their perspective towards life and understand that they got to where they are by putting in real work; for us to eventually pursue our own purpose and not completely rely on their guidance.

I’m not saying that we should never base our lives on how other people live theirs. It’s perfectly fine to get ideas and perspectives from them in order to serve as foundations for our future decisions. It’s also all right to once in a while get that motivation juice flowing by consuming some contents. We all just have to understand that we can’t rely on them to continuously pump us with motivation and be our only guide in making decisions.

Support People

Have you ever felt like life wasn’t going your way and you feel like talking about it with someone? Have you ever wondered how we choose our “go-to person” depending on the situation? There are two (2) criteria: either that person will flat out tell us the painful truth or that person will serve as our ego booster and affirm what we instinctively believe is the right decision.

We will be focusing on the latter one that gives us the “it feels good to be right!” feeling. Not everyone can and will accept the truth. Why do you think we endlessly defend our beliefs when we’re wronged? We don’t enjoy being embarrassed, especially in front of others. So instinctively, we go to people that we know will tell us the things we want to hear. We go to people we know will support us and tell us that everything is perfectly fine. Here are some good examples:

  • When we experience a breakup, we go to our friend who will tell us that we’re not the ones at fault. Though there could be some occasions where one will unfortunately openly and overly admit that everything was their fault.
  • When we have this bright idea we, as much as possible, present it first to people we hope will applaud at our brilliance. If not, we go to the next one and to the next one until we receive the positive reaction we hoped for and start calling the previous one/s idiots for not understanding us.
  • When someone commits a crime, what is the normal thing to do? Hire a lawyer that will prove them that they’re innocent.

Despite knowing that we’ve made mistakes, we still refuse to accept them. It’s somehow related to pride. It feels good to always be right and always complimented. Not everyone can and will accept the reality they are in, but the moment we do is the moment we can say we can make real progress.

You can read “How to Win Friends & Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. In the book he discusses how human psyche works in relationship building (thus the title). Interesting read and somehow connected to the second part of this post.

What I’m trying to say here is that we all have to accept that life is going to be a constant struggle. Accept what we can and cannot control then work with what we have. Stop blaming others and start taking control of your own life!

Shift in mindset + Work > Reliance on a quick fix

I’ve been attempting to write this for months and the longer I write and read it, the more I struggle in finishing it. Everything here is based on my own experiences and cannot possibly be relatable to everyone but I would still love to know you guys think. So just comment away!


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