Articles on self sabotage
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"Please Come and See It with Me"

Come with me, we can go together, said Judith. I know you'll like it.

I don't know, I replied, ducking her invitation.

It'll be really enjoyable, she continued. Please come with me.

The restaurant we were in was delightful, as was her company along with the meal and the wine. Judith and I had met at the running club and started dating a while ago. We were enjoying a meal together and still getting to know each other's likes and dislikes.

She wanted me to come to a theatre play with her, apparently this one had had great reviews and she wanted to see it. Who better to enjoy it with than your new partner?

But I'd Been to a Play Before

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Stage plays had never been in my repertoire, I knew virtually nothing about them. But I did know that the couple I’d been to had not been that enjoyable. So I listened to my self-sabotage mechanism and rationalized my refusal. Plays don't have any music in them, and I love music, especially classical music.

Perhaps I was remembering the first opera I’d ever seen, Wagner's Tristan and Isolde. When another friend, Judy, suggested I'd like opera, I willing went with her,
one secret of success is to be open-minded. It turned out to be 3 hours of solo singing, and the music was not particularly enjoyable. Opera, or at least opera by Wagner, is definitely an acquired taste. I hadn’t enjoyed it in the slightest, and was learning how to decline.

In my mind I'd tried stage plays and found them wanting, I was just not interested. I was unwilling to go through a similar experience with Judith, so I said no.

But she persisted. She enjoyed plays, wanted to get a subscription, and for me to accompany her. I wasn't quite at the punchline in the famous Guinness advertisement: I don't like it because I've never tried it. But I wasn’t that far from it.

No thanks, I repeated, I’m too busy. This excuse was not true, and she knew it. You’ll love it, she continued. It has great reviews, it will be very entertaining.

Yet having made up my mind, I wasn't about to change it - I
know lots about self sabotage. Once I decided I was right, then changing my mind would have meant I had been wrong. So I dug my heels in, and justified my refusal.

Being Right

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Look at it this way, I said. If I go with you and find you're right and I do love it, then I have something else to enjoy with you. And I don’t have enough time as it is. I don’t need another enjoyable activity in my life!

She dropped the subject, presumably stunned at such a justification. She could see I was
being right, rationalizing my stance no matter how ridiculous my self sabotage made me look.

Afterwards I thought about what I’d said, and realized how stupid it was to pass on something because I might enjoy it. So I later told her I’d changed my mind, and would like to see the play with her after all. I
changed my life by realizing how stupid it is to say no because you might enjoy it!

I'm glad I did, the play she took me to see was very enjoyable.

The Mousetrap

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Later, in London, i went to see the world's longest running play, some 25,000 performances. Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap has been running for ever. It's been on so long that they've had to update the cost of items purchased by its cast. Several times. The government has continued to print so much money - general inflation - that prices had vastly increased. You could no longer purchase a cup of tea at the original price.

Food for Thought

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"In order to succeed you must fail, so that you know
what not to do the next time."

- Anthony J. D'Angelo, 1962 - 2012, education pioneer, author, editor

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