November 9, 2023•992 words
We all know about self-sabotage and limiting beliefs; we talk about it all the time, but we're unaware of how much we're affected. We may have a fear of success, even more so fear of failure, fear of appearing stupid, but it's more than that.
If you've made a certain amount of money all your working life, then trying to increase this compensation will raise all kinds of existential alarms in your mind. Because, in truth, going from $40K a year to $100K a year is scary. Extremely uncomfortable. And your mind seems to react as if it is dealing with a scam email. When you gradually increase your income, you get used to these changes, which are not as threatening but happen over a long period, a career.
When you want to change your career after working for many years, you no longer have this luxury. You'll have to deal with rapid changes, and if you've been earning a low salary, you'll have to deal with a much higher salary in what feels like overnight. It sounds great. All that increase! Yes, it does, except your mind won't like it.
Your mind will see it as such a threat to your safety and well-being that it will try to convince you that pursuing that six-figure tech salary is a terrible idea. It will do everything to keep you where you are. You'll apply, get rejected, and cry, but your mind will feel relieved. "Phew! She's giving up on this nonsense! A few more rejections, and we're in the clear!"
You'll crawl up in bed and wonder why you're so stupid and undesired, and your mind will say, "Thank God! We're succeeding! He's registering what a hoax this all is." Now you'll say, wtf? In my mind, I want other things! I want success! I want a six-figure salary! And this is where we need to differentiate between a conscious mind and a subconscious mind. In your conscious mind, you want all that good stuff, but your subconscious mind wants to keep you where you are because everything else is "dangerous" and doesn't care if it is good or bad.
If you're in an abusive relationship, your subconscious mind will want to keep you there because it's known and safe territory. People do not stay in abusive relationships because they're stupid; they do so because they have a deep belief that any other option is dangerous, even if just about every other option would be safer. "If I move back in with my parents, I'll be seen as a loser." "What if people think I overreacted and my partner is wonderful?" "What if I'm the problem?" "What if I'll never find anyone else?"
Any significant change you make in your life involves recreating yourself, and this sounds simple enough, but it's not. If you're used to making a certain amount of money, you'll feel very uncomfortable once you earn more. It's one of the reasons I'm sceptical about many of these "incredible high-income success" stories I see of people breaking into tech. They are way too calm and comfortable. You will not be satisfied and relaxed when you go from $30K-$40K to over six figures. You will be freaking out.
When that first salary comes in, you will spend it like it's on fire because all that money in your bank account will make you nervous. You will be battling with yourself, and some of you will even lose that job, claiming that you didn't like the work, but in reality, you sabotaged it because the change was too big for you.
I want to give you a personal example. I never thought I had any fears about money, but then I noticed that while I could make a lot of money without much struggle, I struggled to save it. I would make up all kinds of excuses about inflation and that I'm too young to worry about saving. What's the point with such low-interest rates? Then my bank offered me a 4% interest rate, and then I was going on about how I needed to figure out how I trusted that bank with my money.
While looking back now, these were all excuses. These were "intelligent" conclusions of an educated-thinking man. But then I noticed a trend that the closer I would come to $1,000 in savings - a low amount - all the bells and whistles would go off. I would find ways to spend this money or move it to other accounts to "water it down" or "dilute it," then I would be depressed about how I have no savings, but inside I would feel this deep relief.
I did this for years until I realized something in my subconscious was afraid of having money, but it slipped past me because I was good at making lots of money. I still struggle with this, but when the bells go off, "Too many savings! Too many savings!" And I start looking at what bill I can pay, what account I can move money to, and what cool gadget I can buy. I stop myself and say, "It's a great thing to save money," because somewhere deep inside, there's this deep belief that saving money is wrong, dangerous, or both.
In short, you need to decide what you want but realize that you will have to fight for it, not only against other people but also against yourself. The fight against yourself doesn't necessarily need to be aggressive; it can be calm and loving, such as "Yes, I did get rejected, but it's normal to get rejected, and my desire to change careers is good and healthy..." then in this way, you're brainwashing yourself in a new positive way. But it beats being brainwashed with that nonsense that you've had all of your life, creating false beliefs that your lot in life is to make $40K and be happy with it.