#44 Breaking The Delusion

"Most prefer the certainty of misery to the misery of uncertainty"
Virginia Satir

Probably not the first time you've seen me use this quote, certainly won't be the last. Why?

Because it explains why so many brilliant, talented humans stay so miserable.

It also explains why many things don't function the way you expect them to function. When you build a funnel for your business, for example. The physical construct of a funnel works like this:

  • Put a substance in the top of the funnel

  • The substance comes out the bottom of the funnel


The problem is the mental construct of a funnel takes for granted a few things - like gravity and the nature of the substance that is being "funneled". The physical funnel works because:

  1. The substance is being pulled toward the earth by the immutable force of gravity

  2. The substance cannot get confused, distracted, or overwhelmed by uncertainty.

For the mental construct of a funnel to make sense, it would need a gravitational pull and to remove as much uncertainty as possible. You may believe that having a life-changing product or service is enough but it's not.

"Most prefer the certainty of misery to the misery of uncertainty"

There are three questions everyone is asking at every step. If you answer those three questions, it will drive uncertainty down. Driving uncertainty down will lead to the reality of your funnel more closely matching the expectation of your funnel.

Note: this is not really a funnel thing, it's a behavior thing. Remember: there is no gravity. Getting people through a funnel, a process, or a system requires them to modify their behavior. These same three questions should be answered in the delivery and implementation of your product or service.

Breaking The Delusion

Full Tweet

The above tweet is the first in a four-tweet series called "Breaking The Delusion". The TL;DR version:

If you can't see yourself clearly, you cannot see the world clearly. Everything you think is "out there" is just a reflection of something in you.

Most people will try like hell to avoid facing themselves. They won't even consider that they aren't what they think they are - or are what they aren't. If they were willing to face it, their lives would improve tremendously but...

"Most prefer the certainty of misery to the misery of uncertainty"

If you can't face the reality of who, what, and where you are, nothing else will work. Like the broken mental construct of the funnel, reality will fail to meet your expectation.

This is the first and most obvious gap; the gap between the "you are here" sticker on the map and where you want to be. This is the first gap we must address. Without the “you are here” sticker, nothing else will work.

From my book, Bumpers:

In my experience, people have a vague idea of where they want to go and no clue about their current location. I've heard many explanations about what prevents us from getting clarity on these two locations. Here are the two that most closely match my observations:

  1. Fear Of Defining Success

Often, high-achieving people avoid defining success because defining success also defines failure. For example, let’s pretend that "success" is having dinner with your kids every night while they are still young. Once that's defined, you have to face the feeling of failure every time you miss dinner with your kids. By defining what success is, you can no longer hide behind the other trappings of success. The more specific your definition of success, the more difficult it becomes to hide behind the things that are not. 

As long as you haven’t defined it for yourself, you can hide behind stripe screenshots, Ferrari, and Instagram reels. 

'The Harvard Business Review" has a great piece called "Teaching Smart People How To Learn". It demonstrates how smart people actively avoid learning to maintain and hide behind the label of “being smart”. Learning something requires admission of not already knowing it and that admission threatens the identity of being smart. Instead of learning, smart people are quick to show off what they already know in hopes that enough valid points will impress others and allow them to keep their identity. 

Getting what you want in life is often hindered by hiding behind the label of "successful". The things we actually want in life are often complex, making them difficult to quantify and achieve.  Clearly defining those things threatens our identity as "successful". The more specificity, the higher the perceived threat to the identity. Instead of going for what they want in life, successful people are quick to show off all the things they already have in hopes of protecting their identity.

To protect the identity of “successful”, the brain fights hard to maintain ambiguity in regard to a personal definition of success. 

  1. Fighting To Maintain The Delusion

Few people are willing to be honest about who and what they are or who and what they are not.  Many life transformations start with physical fitness because it forces reality upon you. It's easy to accept that your hamstrings are tight or that you're out of breath. It's much more difficult to accept the reality of your other insecurities. Fitness often provides the first crack in the armor of self-delusion. Getting an accurate "you are here" sticker requires chipping away at the rest of that delusion.

The brain works overtime to protect the delusion about what we are or are not. It will convince us that every mirror we look into is a window; that the problems are somewhere “out there” instead of somewhere “in here”. It’s tough to get a hold on reality when every mirror looks like a window to you. 

To protect the delusion of self, the brain fights hard to convince you that everything wrong with the world is “out there”. This makes an accurate starting position impossible to pinpoint. 

Breaking The Delusion
and the two tyrants of leadership

[Part 4 of breaking the delusion, Tweet here]

I have a grandmaster.

Weird, I know. I sit on the floor every day.
I swing a sword every day.
I hold a "horse stance" every day.


Because we must chip away at the delusion and see ourselves clearly before we can see the world clearly.

People don't like it when you do stuff they aren't willing to do. They will try like hell to guilt you into staying out later or shame you for getting up earlier. Your becoming better is a reminder to them that they aren't.

Worse, most of it will come from those closest to you. Friends, family, spouses.

Randy Massengale, former senior advisor to Bill Gates, who teaches the CCA with me, and Dan always shares these two tyrants of leadership.

Scrutiny and Expectation.

First, they will try and prevent you from creating further distance between you and them. If you succeed, the same people will then expect you to give them a hand up - give them what they were not willing to work for.

And that's okay.

That's just humans doing human stuff.

Here's The Best Way To Diffuse Them:

Invite them to join.

"I can't believe you're staying in tonight to study and get up early tomorrow. You're no fun anymore"

Wanna come to study with me?

"I can't believe you get up at 4 am to meditate and practice your three-point shot"

Wanna meditate and come shoot with me?

Just invite them along. If they join you, great. They are earning their leveling up. If they don't great - it's your journey anyway.

So, yeah. I have a grandmaster.

Some people think it's weird. Some people think I'm nuts. You might agree.

Once a month, we let people in on our journey to listen to the core teaching(s). We're live today at 2 pm Pacific. It's free, you're just invited to listen in and soak up the wisdom - the same thing I'll be doing.

Wanna join? If you can get on the list and I'll send you the link today.

If not, no big deal.

But I encourage you to get comfortable with uncertainty. It's the only way to chip away at the delusion.



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