No One Likes It…Not Even You

We’ve talked about it before: no one likes to be told what to do. When you tell anyone what to do, their shields go up and you experience tons of resistance. The only real solution is going for a win-win. And you start by understanding what would make a win for the other person.

What happens when the other person is you? And no, not when someone else is telling you what to do. What happens when it is you who is telling yourself what to do?

It happens all the time. For example, when you start a thought with “I should…,” “I gotta…,” “I have to…,” “I must…,” or “I need to..,” you are telling yourself what to do.

  • “I have to bend over backwards for my clients and boss.”
  • “I need to earn more money.”
  • “I must exercise more and lose weight.”
  • “I should reorganize my company.”
  • “I gotta take out the garbage.”

And you will experience that same shields-up resistance. Except, in these cases, the resistance comes from inside you! Luckily the solution is the same: go for win-win and start by understanding what a win would look like…to you.

Next time you catch yourself “shoulding all over yourself,” use these questions to know what would make a win for you.

  • What am I trying to get myself to do?
  • What would be a win for the part of me that is resisting? And for the part of me that’s pushing for change?
  • What would feel good here?
  • What would bring more relief or joy?
  • What would freedom feel like here?


To your continued success,


2 thoughts on “No One Likes It…Not Even You

  1. At the risk of adding another item to your ENORMOUS list of 89 to do’s, I’m going to comment on this: very insightful, Mike, one of your jewels that opens the windows and doors of perception (for me, anyway)! Of course this is why we often feel so overwhelmed by the “to dos” of our lives: too many things, too much stuff, too many obligations (many of which we have stumbled into without thinking through the probable implications down the road),too many, too much, too…So the reaction? Ignore the problem, turn the other cheek and solider on, deny, forget (“Oh, I’m so sorry, I completely forgot” … how many times have we said this to ourselves when we know perfectly well that we didn’t forget!. Is making lists a way of forcing us to admit to the realities of our lives, to admit that if we choose to live on, we must come to terms with what life is all about? As you’ve said in one way or another many time, living involves doing, and doing the “right” things, ie, apportioning our time and energy among the various possible “things to do” in a way that fulfills our inherent need to maximize the pleasure we get out of life, that makes maximum use of our talents and needs. But not every need involves a short term pleasure: we may dislike food shopping, but when the larder gets bare, we shop, and feel good about it, because we know that if we don’t, we (and the hungry crowd around us) will starve, and we certainly don’t want that to happen, do we?
    One of your notes was about taking time off from the bustle of “doing” to think more deeply about where we are and where we want to be. Absolutely! How often do we act like we are in a car without brakes careening down a hill, out of control, hanging on for dear life, trying to avoid disaster – the lady pushing a stroller across the road, the truck backing out of a driveway, the city work crew digging a hole in the middle of the road. “Ohmygod, how am I going to survive” takes over, rather than “now this is what I am, this is where I want to be”, then, “this is what I “need” (but really, what I “want”) to do to get there”. Etc, etc.
    PS, reading this over I see it is a bit of a “mind dump”, but for me, getting it down in writing helps enormously in clarifying my thoughts.

    1. Hi Jay,

      I think you are pointing to two ways to go about life: reacting or choosing.

      Does this analogy work? Life is a tumult. Wave after wave of tasks, issues, ideas, options, crises, opportunities, and responsibilities crash in upon us. We can live life in two ways: we can react to being tossed about by the waves or choose to surf atop them.

      Surfing atop the waves means

      1. Acknowledging that the waves will always be there.
      2. Knowing which waves you have any level of commitment to doing something about.
      3. Choosing (vs. reacting or habitually acting) which of the waves you are going to address at any time.


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