It happens to everyone sooner or later. There comes a time in life when we realize that we have to change, we have to take another direction, because what we’re doing just doesn’t work or leads to a dead end.
But becoming conscious of the need to change is just the first step. Usually, after, comes a phase in which we get blocked, we feel trapped in the decisions of the past and realize w ego back to bad habits.
Without realizing it, we begin to insist in the wrong direction and, of course, don’t move forward, but we begin to recede. However, the effort we make is so much that we finish exhausted and unmotivated, without realizing what happened. The answer is very simple: we are victims of what could be called the “syndrome of the erroneous insistence”.
Insisting in the wrong direction
Imagine it’s summer. You are sitting quietly on the couch at home and start to feel hot and stuffy. To refresh you open the window a little. Then you open another window in front to create a little current.
When you get back on the couch you feel much better, but after a few minutes you start thinking that if you opened a little more the windows you’d feel even less heat. You get up and do it. And continues like this until windows are fully opened.
Finally you sit quiet on the couch, ready to relax and enjoy the pleasant air flow, but after a few seconds you realize that the heat is back. Why?
The answer is simple: according to the laws of physics, it comes a point when the more you open the windows and much more slowly the air circulates.
Often in our lives we put in practice this kind of behavior. In fact, we insist in the wrong direction when:
– We cling to past behaviors that were effective at the time, but now aren’t not anymore and lost sense.
– We insist in criticizing, thinking that if we do it often the other person will change, when in fact we only get him/her on the defensive.
– We persist about a dream or an idea we think is brilliant, without taking into account the information the real world sends to tell us that we are moving in the wrong direction.
– We remain tied to a couple relationship, that no longer works and has become a source of conflict and dissatisfaction.
In all these cases, at the beginning certain behaviors, beliefs or ideas were perfectly valid and effective. However, at some point in the journey of life the conditions have changed and we didn’t realize it, so we keep on repeating old behaviors or apply beliefs that have become maladaptive. Obviously, at this point the results we get are not what we expected, instead of going forward we feel stranded or even move backwards.
Then we get into a vicious circle, because we start to insist in the wrong direction, wasting strength and energy. Therfore, instead of reflecting on our fundamental beliefs, we think that the problem is that we don’t make all we can, then we redouble our efforts in the wrong direction.
Of course, living within this cycle, swimming constantly against the current, can be devastating, because we end up believing not to be enough capable, when in reality the problem is that we need to change direction.
How to get out of this vicious circle?
If lately you feel trapped in a situation that is consuming your strength and energy without getting the expected results, perhaps the problem is that you are insisting in the wrong direction. Ask yourself these questions:
– Life is constantly changing, are you changed enough? A Chinese proverb says “you can not control the wind, but you can control the sails of your boat”. Life changes constantly, but sometimes we are not able to adapt quickly enough to these changes. But repeating continuously the past behaviors, only because once worked, it’s no guarantee of success, but of failure.
– Look around you, what signals is the world sending to you? Often we insist following a path because we are focused too much on ourselves and ignore the signs the world sends to show us that we are going in the wrong direction. Therefore, make a stop along the way, establish an emotional distance and try to decipher the meaning of all these obstacles, problems and conflicts that arise and block you. Maybe they are only there to tell you that it is better you take another direction. In fact, if your life plan doesn’t work doesn’t mean that you should change goal, but project.
– What are you afraid of? Sometimes we insist in the wrong direction because the other possibilities frighten us. In fact, it is a common mistake in relationships. We remain tied to a person because we think we won’t find another one anymore, and we are afraid to remain alone. Obviously, this is not a good reason to condition our lives. Make sure your decisions express your dreams and hopes, not your fears.
Goienetxea, I. & Lladó, E. (2014) La estupidez de las organizaciones: 7 metáforas para el camino. Barcelona: Rigden.