Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lies we like to believe

I keep seeing sweet little quotes popping up in the social media that always get lots of re-shares and lots of positive comments, and some of them are starting to really bug me.

"Once you convince yourself of something you will go out of your way to prove that you're right. So why not convince yourself that you can do anything you put your mind to?"


‎"Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.” — Jim Rohn


"Our circumstances don't determine our freedom, our choices do."

There was another about success that basically said if you aren't successful it's because you didn't want it badly enough.

Nice sentiments--but they're all lies.

No matter how much I convince myself that I can fly unassisted, when I jump off that cliff in full faith, I will still fall. No matter how much I convince myself that I really can play in the NBA, it's not going to happen. No matter how much I tell myself that I WILL get this job I'm applying for, I really cannot control that. No matter how hard a diabetic believes, they still can't go without insulin (at least, not for very long). No matter how sure I am that I can sing bass, it's not going to happen. I call it the "Blues Clues Fallacy"--you really can't do anything you want to do, so we should stop telling people they can. Empowering them to set themselves up for wasted time and heartbreak is not a favor.

Sometimes people are successful who were just in the right place at the right time. Seriously. And sometimes people apply all the basic fundamentals consistently and NOTHING HAPPENS. We always have to leave space for the two variables we tend to ignore: innate ability (talent) and God. Ignore those two, and you're in for more heartbreak.

And I'm sure that those two men who were just freed from prison in Iran would disagree that only our choices determine our freedom. So would all the adults who are imprisoned by the creatures in the back of their minds that were planted there by abusive parents, teachers, or spouses. Our choices are quite powerless to free us from those things, if you take Christ out of the equation. Try telling the Chinese or the children suffering from famine in Africa--or the parents who are watching their children starve to death because of the corrupt government they can't escape--that they are only not free because of their choices and see how far that takes you.

And if desire is the primary cause of success, then every person who ever dreamed of fame would be famous. I know people who wanted it so bad it hurt, but they didn't have the talent.

And then there's this gem: "The only time you should use the word "NEVER" is when it's followed by the words "Give Up.""

Well, I can name dozens of times it's a good idea to give up. Sometimes, it's the best thing you can do for yourself. If we never give up, we waste a LOT of time on things that are never going to benefit us, succeed, or make us happy. For cryin' out loud, do yourself a favor and give up already! Or at least find an easier way to do it.

It's not a favor to spread nice little platitudes that lead us away from truth. 

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