Why Do People Self-Sabotage?





A few weeks ago I was riding in the car with my mom, and I saw something that kind of bothered me. As she was driving she had to slam on the brakes because she almost hit a bird that was walking across the street. Yes, the bird with wings was walking across the street. My first thought was why is this bird walking if it has wings? It bothered me because it reminded me of how I am from time to time.

I have the capabilities to live my life as the highest version of myself, but far too often I choose to walk when I have wings.

That bird walking across the street was a physical representation of how I and many others choose to live life on a daily basis. We know our purpose. We know our gifts. We even know the direction we should go, but something keeps us from using our wings. I've seriously thought about this since the day I saw that grounded bird, and I've come up with a few thoughts about why a person would choose to live beneath their full potential.


  1. They're Afraid. Picture this. You make a decision to live without distractions, you focus on fulfilling your purpose, and you accomplish your wildest dreams. Then it all comes tumbling down because you don't have the consistency in character to maintain everything you worked for. Sounds like a nightmare right? Strange enough it's a nightmare many people share. Many people sabotage themselves now, because they are afraid of what could happen in the future. They're afraid their past will catch up to them. They're afraid they are actually a fraud. They're afraid of what would change if they actually reached the level they were capable of reaching. Often times these fears are hidden. They aren't actual thoughts that normally run through a person's head, but their behaviors reflect this fear. I'm speaking from a place of experience. I know what it's like to self-sabotage out of fear of my past (or present) catching up to me. If this is you, I have a word of encouragement that will liberate you: You deserve for great things to happen to you. Your weaknesses can be a point of strength if you own them and use them to fuel your purpose. You're a human that makes mistakes, and those mistakes don't have to determine your future.

  2. They Lack Discipline. In my book, Winners Win, I wrote "I never want to be the person who tells myself no". I was referring to the idea that when we live in fear we are actually saying no to our dreams. While what I said was true, what happens when it's time to tell yourself no for the benefit of your growth? How many of us can actually tell ourselves no? This one of the hardest things to do because it calls us out of the instant gratification type of lifestyle we've become so accustomed to living. A lack of discipline will cause you to live way below the level you are capable of living. You will find yourself doing things you know will hurt you, indulging in things that will waste your time, and spending money when you should be saving for the future. As bad as this sounds, discipline deficiency is very normal in our society. So normal that when we meet someone who has a basic level of discipline, we look to that person as if they're some kind of hero. The truth is we should all be striving to live a more disciplined life.

  3. They Realize What It Costs. I would be lying if I said living as the highest version of yourself doesn't come with a price. The price may be different for every person. Some people will come to realize that when they put on their wings they'll have to leave some friends behind. Others will find out that the same habits and hobbies they once enjoyed while they were on the ground won't serve them in the sky. Here is a fundamental truth that all of us pursuing greatness will have to realize: your calling comes with a cost, and there's no way around it. I've been ignorant at times to believe that I could ignore the cost of my calling. I've even had moments where I intentionally set my wings down, because I didn't want to pay the cost. During those times something gnawed away at my peace until I accepted the fact that I was called to a higher place. It's easy to get frustrated at the standard that's required of you if you're pursuing greatness. I've been there before, and I still go there often. If this is you, you'll have to remind yourself of your goals and purpose daily. You'll have to ask God to keep you on track because He knows what's best for you. One great thing to remember is no matter how uncomfortable the cost, the reward is always going to be better. Just keep pushing.

I'm so thankful I saw that bird walking across the street that day because it reminded me that I have a choice. I have a choice of whether I'm going to be exceptional or average. I can choose if I'm going to walk in my full potential or barely get by. I can choose whether or not I'm going to build the life I know I can build. These are my choices, and I have to make a decision every single day. If I sparked any inspiration in you today I hope you choose to be who God called you to be fully, fearlessly, and unapologetically.



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