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Is Your Anti-boss Holding You Back?

You are discontent. You sigh. There is something you have been longing to do, maybe even NEED to do. But you haven’t done it. Perhaps you want to take a class. Or write a book. Change your eating habits. Learn a new language. Start an exercise program.

Why haven’t you?

For just a moment consider the role of a boss. What does your boss want from you? In most cases it is productivity. Whatever your job is, your boss depends on you to be productive. But imagine there was someone whose goal was to keep you from being productive. What would you call that person?

Meet the new boss

Allow me to introduce the anti-boss. It is right there inside you - a creation of your lizard brain. An invisible mind block.

It sits dormant, waiting for you to get the urge to grow and do something outside your comfort zone. Want to learn to play the guitar? Lose 20 pounds? Change careers? Start a business? Go ahead and try. The Anti-boss is lurking, ready to strike and stop you in your tracks.

Why would we have something in our brains that works against us? It’s your primitive lizard brain doing its job which is to keep you safe. The status quo is safety. Familiarity. You know what the threats are and you know how to deal with them.

But when you want to do something new and elevating that will take you out of the safety and comfort of the status quo, the lizard brain activates the anti-boss. When that happens, you are in for a hell of a fight.

Resistance is futile

You may know the anti-boss by another name - resistance. Author Steven Pressfield wrote about it in his short by eye-opening book, The War of Art (see Think Links below).

Pressfield calls resistance a force, an entity, a demon, that we greatly underestimate.

Indicators that the anti-boss is actively at work:

Fear. Do you have a nervous feeling of fear about getting started? This fear is a good thing because it means you are on the right path and have triggered the anti-boss. It also means you have a fight on your hands.

Unhappiness. You get a feeling of low-grade restlessness - a dull, heavy pit inside that grows, perhaps triggering unsavory behavior. That is the anti-boss getting a grip on you.

A call to arms

The Anti-boss has many fighting tools at its disposal and it will use whatever it takes to defeat you. Here are a few you may know all too well:

Rationalization - the seemingly logical reasons we make up for not doing our work. For these to be effective for the anti-boss, not only do we have to create the rationalization, but we have to believe it.

Procrastination - Attempting to start an ambitious project is the best way - to get your house clean. The Anti-boss doesn’t want us to succeed, so it shows us how dirty the floor is, or how messy the kitchen is - anything to distract us.

Instant gratification - drugs, alcohol, shopping, entertainment, sex. It’s so much easier to get surface gratification now than to sit down to work and receive deep gratification later.

Fighting the good fight

This is a battle you can win! But it takes courage, grit, and the willingness to take up arms every day.

The first step is to recognize that the anti-boss is real, ruthless, and extremely powerful. It is also relentless and will not rest until it crushes you. It is your mortal enemy. You cannot make it go away but you can fight it. By accepting the fact that it is a real entity that wants you to fail, you can prepare yourself mentally for the fight.

In the next article, we will talk about the methods you can employ to defeat the anti-boss.

Think well, be well!

- Steve Haffner

Want to improve your own thinking and decision making? Click here for my free ebook.


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