A Strategy for Self Sabotage!

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Neuro Semantics, NLP, Personal Development

“I will never be happy until I own my BMW. Until then, I will not rest!” These were the words of a young man I encountered at one of my trainings. He came across as a “high strung”, “type A” individual who found it hard to stay still. He was famished for success, extremely competitive and aggressive. He wanted to be a multi million air by the age of 35. His strategy was really quite simple: to do whatever it takes to arrive at his goal and keep himself in a “dissatisfied mode” until he arrived at his “promise land”. 


While I admired his determination and his sense of clarity of what he wanted, I was curious about the “dissatisfied mode” he kept himself as a form of motivation. So I inquired, “Tell me about the “dissatisfied mode” that you keep yourself in to motivate yourself? What does it feel like? Where do you feel it?  What do you hear or keep telling yourself? What do you see? What are the images that come to mind? What are your ideas and understanding about this “mode”?” After a short pause he said, “To put in simple terms, I keep telling myself that I am a lesser person and a looser until I get what I want. I keep reminding myself of all my failures and how inferior I am until I get my outcome.”


“This keeps me pushing myself. I keep telling myself that whatever I am doing now or have achieved so far is never enough and has no value unless I produce my goal perfectly.  I just keep devaluing myself. I feel restless, tensed, insecure and anxious. It’s this cocktail of thoughts and feelings that keeps me feeling rushed and impatient, it keep me “hungry”. Wow! OK, I thought to myself, this guy may just have a perfect strategy for self sabotage!



“A person’s worst enemy can’t wish on him what he can think up himself.”

-Yiddish Proverb


So, I asked him, “Do you ever feel tired? Out of breath and burned out?” “Yes, I do get these feelings, sometimes I wonder if all this “intense stress” is worth it, but I simply push on and tell myself that these are the very feelings that prove to me I am a looser unless I attain my “promise land”; that’s the only place I’ll be truly happy.” Wow, no make that a double WOW! I just could not believe what I heard. This surely was a strategy for self sabotage!


I believe that it is important for folks to have an outcome that is clear, that they are passionate about. It’s even better if they set an “evidence criteria” to let themselves know if they are getting closer to their outcome or not, accept responsibility for it, be flexible in their approach and strategies and as well as have a timeline. But it is another thing all together to “set oneself against oneself” in the pursuit of ones outcome as well as turn the journey towards it a “living hell”!


Many of us have the faulty notion that in order to excel, to achieve our outcomes, we have to constantly “beat and bully” ourselves into a psychological and emotional pulp of insecurity and worthlessness. Heck that was the way I was brought up! My parents, God bless them, thought that in order for me to excel, to become smart and intelligent, I needed negative reinforcement. I needed to be reminded of my errors so that I would not make the same error, be discouraged even I achieved a good result in order to keep me striving for even better results.



I got the impression that my self esteem and value was not in “me being me” but in the results I produce, my performance and the attainment of my outcomes. Consequently unrelenting doubts and paralyzing fear of not attaining my goals, which meant I was worthless, became part of my daily neuro linguistic and neuro semantic reality!


“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”

- Norman Vincent Peale


This sapped much emotional energy and sent stress and anxiety levels soaring whenever I did my daily work, studies or activities! Though I did achieve some of my outcomes, my internal communication and world view of my abilities and capability was not motivating or productive at all. To be honest, over time, I began to avoid challenges and higher goals simply because my internal mental strategies and self beliefs were too painful! They became my unconscious strategy for self sabotage!


“Self-trust is the first secret of success.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson


So you may guess that, when I heard of the young man’s “dissatisfied mode”, I got curious and wanted to explore his mental strategies. Why? Well to save him from much physiological and emotional pain as well as to demythologize the myth and false belief that this “dissatisfied mode” is really helpful, that it’s sacrosanct for success, helps prevent “screw ups” and puts us in our most resourceful state for excellence! This is simply not true because we are fundamentally creating a schism within ourselves, putting ourselves at odds with our very selves, creating self doubt and uncertainty as well as breeding negative self beliefs about our ability, capabilities and potential! In Neuro Semantics we call this a dragon state, a state that produces negative stress and tension, fear, dreadfulness, worry, pessimism, self contempt and self rejection, anger and being over serious! Now, if we repeat such behaviors over a long period of time, they’ll drop into our unconscious and become our unconscious self sabotaging mental strategies and self beliefs!


“Dragon states undermine our success, effectiveness and health. They lack an ecological balance and do not serve us well.”

- Dr. L. Michael Hall, PhD, “Dragon Slaying”


Take for example the person who has decided that he wants to earn a five figure income. Once he has done so, he consequently chooses the strategies he will use as well as set a time line. Then he starts taking action but slowly begins to procrastinate, delays taking effective action and begins to loose interest. He begins to sabotage his own efforts. Why? Simply because he may unconsciously believe that he is not worthy of earning such an income and that the “dissatisfied mode” he has to put himself in to attain his outcome is too painful and stressful, it’s just not worth it! On the other side of the coin, he may simply react the way the young man did, use this “dissatisfied mode” as his modus operandi of attaining his outcome; consequently creating massive internal stress and tension.   


What can we do to eliminate self sabotaging behavior? Well, first of all we can become aware of any such behavior, mental strategies and beliefs. And to acknowledge that they offer us no real value! They’ll only eat away at our efforts, put us in counter productive state, rob us of all passion and desire as well as snub the creative expression of our talents, potential and capabilities!

Next, we can learn to model the beliefs and mental strategies of successful individuals. If we study their lives, their journey to success and their ability to maintain success, we’ll discover their empowering beliefs and mental strategies! While there’s no guarantee that we’ll get 100% of their results, modeling will help shorten our learning curve, avoid common mistakes and well as offer us a “tried, tested and proven” neuro linguistic (thought strategies and states) and neuro semantic (higher meanings and beliefs) strategies. One thing you’ll discover about these models of success is that they held empowering beliefs about themselves, their capability and outcomes and never employed any kind of “dissatisfied mode” mental strategies, even when they faced set backs, delays and massive discouragement!

“If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”



What I have for you below are a few models of successful individuals and their empowering beliefs. I hope they will serve as some kind of impetus for you to build a strong and positive propulsion system to empower you to realize your outcomes and avoid self sabotage.


So, are you ready to remap and reprogram yourself for success with empowering mental strategies and beliefs?  Let’s get started……                   



Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hensen.

Their book “Chicken Soup for the Soul” was rejected by over 140 publishers. Not one of these publishers thought that it was “readable” material, much less become a bestseller. Well, it eventually did and sold more than 100 million copies and launched the Chicken Soup series phenomena, making both of them rich and famous!


“You have to believe it’s possible and believe in yourself. Because after you’ve decided what you want, you have to believe it’s possible, and possible for you, not just for other people. Then you need to seek out models, mentors, and coaches.”

- Jack Canfield


Colonel Sander.

If you like the taste of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), you will wonder why Colonel Sander’s idea was rejected 1009 times over a period of 2 years!  


“I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could. And no hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me. And I have done that ever since, and I win by it. I know.”

- Colonel Sanders


Winston Churchill.

Winston Churchill makes the perfect role model for the advice: it’s never too old to get started. He was defeated in every election for public office until he finally became the Prime Minister at the age of 62. Churchill wasn’t known to be brilliant as a young child either. He struggled in school, and failed his sixth grade.


“I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.”

- Winston Churchill


Donald Trump.

Donald Trump is a property magnet, author and television personality. He is listed by the Guinness Book of Records as having engineered the biggest financial turnaround in history.


“In the early 1990s, I owed billions of dollars and many people thought I was finished,” says Trump. “I refused to give in to the negative circumstances and I never lost faith in myself. I didn’t believe I was finished even when the newspapers were saying so. I refused to give up. Defeat is not in my vocabulary.”

- Donald Trump


Thomas Edison.

Thomas Edison was an American inventor who developed many life-changing devices like the phonograph and the light bulb. As a prolific inventor, he had more than 1,000 U.S. patents to his name. Nonetheless, when he was young, his teachers told him that he was “too stupid to learn anything”. In school, Edison’s mind often wandered and he only lasted 3 months, eventually he was homeschooled by his mother….did I mention that he was also hearing impaired?   


Eventually he was involved in the development of the motion picture camera. For developing the light bulb to great commercial success, he was most famous for the following quote…


“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

- Thomas Edison


If any of these guys inspire you, go buy their autobiography, Google them and dive into their beliefs and mental strategies, model them and program yourself anew. As cited above, you’ll discover that they never had a strategy for self sabotaged or a “dissatisfied mode” mentality to achieve excellence and success! The fact that we have to accept is that we are always modeling somebody, either consciously or unconsciously, so we might as well consciously choose the folks we want to model!  


I hope you’ll enjoy the short clip below by Jack Canfield on his success principles and perhaps model some of them! (Go grab his book “The Success Principles” and empower yourself!)   


Stay committed to transcending, transforming and transferring value back to your world!

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Conrad Rozario is the founder of Alchemy Resources, a cutting edge human potential and peak performance development company. He has more than 15 years experience in people development from the diverse fields of Sales, Marketing, Customer Engagement and Service, Business Management and Talent Development. He is a Certified & Licensed Neuro Semantics and Neuro-Linguistics Programming (NLP) Trainer from the International Society of Neuro – Semantics, USA, a Master Practitioner in Neuro Semantics and NLP (ISNS, USA) and a Language and Behavior Profiling for Coaching Practitioner. He holds a MBA from Gordon University, Illinois, USA.