Just the other day I was clicking around, going about one of my many distracting habits, when I read something that evolved into much more. In reading a person’s forum response, I realized one of my biggest limiting belief patterns: I make a plan, and then promptly work to outsmart myself. Sometimes, it works.
The outsmarting acts as a quick refinement and alteration, (even the very start of this sentence is trying to change the topic and desired message of this piece) Buuuuuuut! More oftentimes than not it is a self-sabotaging activity.
An old friend of mine used to call me the dumbest smart kid he’s ever met. I never really gave it a second thought until just recently. You see, what I do is I lay little mind traps and challenges that I then subject myself to. This dumb idea is something only a mastermind could pull off.
The process goes from something like this:
It’s as if my original thought and plan was too simple and not challenging enough, so I felt compelled to spice it up with some mind-fucks and plot twists along the way. I get distracted in the game and eventually, for some perverse reason, I believe the objective of the game is to defeat myself. Winning is the most important thing, even when the competition is myself. The actual solution is now moot because we have won. The enemy has been thwarted.
On paper, this sounds totally fucked. It’s said people get in their own way too much, and my games sound like a prime example of exactly this. So then, if I lay these traps, how do I stop?
Aha! I need to outsmart the trickster within myself! A natural born trickster, my traits run deep. As such, one does not simply tell the Cheshire Cat to go away. He will merely come back with a different suit to play. How then, can I trap the trap master? How can I hoodwink the hoodwink Houdini? He smugly watches from above as my little human attempts in futility. As I am laying a trap, I question whether I am simply playing into the master’s hand yet again? Is my trap too predictable? Wait a minute. What am I even saying? My mind wanders…
…and by now, we have landed ourselves on this red X. I set out with the intention to write a piece on how I outsmart my own plan. I took a turn, missed my exit, and have since double backed. I am now in this dead-end of a post. What was originally a revelatory reading is now rife with images of Cheshire Cats laying traps for little human mice as they humorously attempt to escape the insanity in search of the original answer.
A dead-end post he says!
Let’s turn this baby around and come out with some sensible meaning. Outsmarting myself. Yes, this is something I do often. I need a plan to protect myself from myself. Trust my intuition. Some of my habits may come as a complete shock to you, but I have a habit of not writing things down. I learned to write when I was three (guessing) so why have I abandoned my primary education? I still eat and poop and do all of the other things I have learned at a young age.
Right. Anyways. My lack of recording things keeps my plans loose and easily adjustable which holds me less accountable. The reasoning and logic is there.
We’re getting somewhere.
So then by not writing things down, I am less accountable, which in turns makes my plans malleable and susceptible to sabotage. You know what I really need? (incoming useless mental distraction) I need to record my brain on the blockchain! That way, I can never argue what was has been recorded. I wonder how far they are from recording peoples’ thoughts? How would they even do that? Record my thoughts? Do you know how much time that could save, not having to write things down?! Ugh, do you also know how much of a struggle file management would be? Sorting through the folders of your BRAIN?! ⚰️ My mind again wanders…
If you are still with me, I commend your dedication. I could learn a thing or two from you 😉 I know there’s a lesson to be had, I just know it. Let me get us back on track.
I feel the forward progress, don’t you? My lack of accountability always provides me an out. It’s a flawless plan. The escape-artist trap-master can never be caught. He always has his back door escape hatch. This plan is flawless except for one minor problem: it gets me nowhere. By keeping plans and ideas written in sand, the tide can change at any moment, washing the words away. From a professional perspective, this easy breezy nature is actually incredibly limiting.
Sitting here, my chair suddenly feels less comfortable. My phone begins to flash. Distractions abound. All of the reasons to stop now are out in full force, pulling my focus every which way. We must be getting somewhere. All of my insecurities and shortcomings are being laid out in one winding mess of stream of consciousness.
Ok let’s recap: I sabotage myself by laying mind traps in an effort to trick myself into failure. It’s like this strange perpetuating self-sabotaging, self-reaffirming duality. It’s like if the plan results in failure, but the trap was successful, then I win (but do I actually?). Conversely, if the trap fails and the plan succeeds, it was somehow too obvious of a plan and not good enough of a trap. Again, nobody wins. Next time make a better trap.
This little game is like a never-ending test of resolve and intuition. I have the intuitive thought, and then immediately challenge it. What I must do is reward my little mouse when he passes the test of intuition. When the intuitive thought was right from the beginning AND the mouse defeats the maze, then the Cheshire Cat must fork over the cheese.
Wow, let me catch my breath. We just mapped out the trap master’s motives!
Let’s jump right back into my brain and take a look at the escape door and lack of commitment. The lack of commitment certainly comes from the fear of failure. Committing to something closes that escape hatch and if the plan then proceeds to fail, it’s like double failure. Both the plan AND the trap failed. Whoah, talk about feeling like shit.
I am comfortable to say now that my little mouse has enough index cards in his brain where his intuition has been proven right. This rigorous challenge I subject myself to is a remnant of the past. When one is little, how else can they quickly refine and sharpen their intuition? This framework for self-assessment has had its time and is no longer necessary, yet it remains. Thank you, dear reader, for staying with me, for in this very moment I have had this realization. My trap-master role is a dated institution that my grand observer put in place for young Tyler to learn intuition.
Now I can work towards detecting these traps. I can recognize when my mind is just playing tricks on me. It won’t be easy, but it is the only way I will ever win this game of outsmarting myself.