Getting ourselves out of our way

I was inspired to write this post by my friend Rob White, founder of and author of the book entitled A Second Chance at Success.

Life at times can feel like it’s littered with barriers. You may experience stress about one thing, or worry about another, yet frustration about something else. You may not be achieving the goals you want to.

In such circumstances it is very easy to blame everyone and everything (but you) for your problems.

Why is this easy to do?

Well for one, it takes minimal energy to do so. Just having a toxic thought about blaming someone in your mind and diverting this thought to an individual is easy.

“Oh my life is a misery”, you might say. And you use your mental energy to blame your brother for your issue. You’re not getting ahead at work and you blame a colleague.

You get the picture…

In fact, no one really caused your problems in the first place.

Your brother or colleague wasn’t getting in your way. You allowed yourself to get into your own way. Or to put even more frankly, you deluded yourself into believing this

Let’s look a little deeper into the truth of this.

How you are responsible for your problems

Below are some of the reasons to demonstrate how only we can be responsible for your problems:

1. Problems are inherent in our thoughts. As adults we have the capacity of think. We think and our bodies react. It was us who created the thoughts. They came from inside of us. In this case, how can we blame our issues on others who are not us? If they are not us, then they can’t have our thoughts. Only we can.

2. These thoughts don’t just stop there. You may then have further undesirable experiences and thoughts about this, and before you know it, layers of unhelpful thoughts have crystalised into beliefs about you. You may tell yourself things like “I’m a failure” or “I’m just destined to be miserable”.

3. You decided to blame others for your pain. Making decisions implies choice. As a mature adult, you chose to blame others.

4. In effect you allowed a false self, that is ego-centric to take over you, and it becomes so insecure, you mistake it for being who you are.

How to get out of your own way

1. Take complete responsibility for your thoughts. If you don’t believe you can, then read books, study successful people and realise others have also experienced what you have previously, and have been able to overcome their issues. Learn from other’s stories about how it was always themselves getting themselves in a rut.

2. Practice analysing your thoughts and what stimuli (either externally or through other thoughts) you have thoughts in response to. When you do this, notice who and where your thoughts are directed to, and study how these thoughts impacts how you feel. You will begin to understand that you and only you are creating your own reality. It’s a habitual cycle. Cycles by the very nature have numerous points where they can be broken. Here lies a solution to your problems. Break a cycle once and you begin to doubt the validity of the previous one. Continue to break the same cycle and pretty soon you will have developed a new way of living.

3. There is gap, which usually passes super fast in between having a thought and allow it to permeate your body and consciousness. Practice increasing this gap through silent observation and meditation. By doing so, you will then learn what you are doing to yourself. There is a structure to what is happening inside you.

4. By analysis, observation and meditation, you will begin develop the capacity of the true Self, or the observer that watches the chaos happening in you. By doing this you will begin to question and doubt the false ego that creates so much misery.

You only ever get in your own way

Probably the biggest belief that makes one so unhappy is that “I’m not good enough”. If you even sense such a thought arising switch it with one that will serve you better. They are your beliefs and they are your thoughts. Take control of these key aspects of yourself and allow that you to emerge, that is always there, but gets hidden by the layers of false negativity you have allowed yourself to buy into.

Friends, over to you

  • How do you get in own way?
  • What do you do to get the false self out of the way, so that the true you with the greatest of potential arises and operates in the world?
  • Please share your valuable views and experiences in the comments box below.
  • Please also share this post on your favourite social networks.

Check out the latest posts from the blogs of those at the leading edge of successful living

David Stevens
Vidya Sury
Harleena Singh


Photo Credit: ednl

  1. You know, Hiten – there are people who are happiest when they are unhappy. 😀 Reminds me of a family member – an aunt – she was always ready to blame someone else whenever something went wrong. When something went right, yes, you guessed it – it was on auto-credit to her. Oh, so aggravating. She would also always complain about how people never appreciated her. It never ever occurred to her that she annoyed the heck out of people with her attitude. Most normal human beings do not enjoy being blamed unjustly. So we secretly had a good laugh, about how she seemed happiest when complaining or cribbing about something. 🙂 Oh, I basically loved her, and I was her favorite niece, but this part of her was aggravating.

    The thing is – there’s always a tendency to opt for the easy way. It is so much easier to point a finger at someone. Not taking responsibility is easy. Admitting one’s own faults is hard. We all want to be seen in a nice shiny bright light and any blemish is intolerable – so it is much simpler to attribute the cause to an external being. Reminds me of how children, when pulled up for something are quick to say that they didn’t do it! That desire to be seen as perfect is natural. Only the strong take responsibility. Accept their shortcomings and strive to make the change to truly better people.

    We do get in our own way. I get in mine when I believe that I can’t do something. “Can’t” is a perception. If am lucky, someone will tell me that I can. And then, I’ll attempt to do whatever I set out to do. We do not know our own potential – only circumstances bring them out, and that too, when we are ready to open up.

    Recently, I read an incident about how someone, known for their soft nature suddenly became violent when provoked. And I thought, no way I’d do that. But that’s not true. Given the right provocation, we are all capable of anything. For me, that deal-breaker would be when someone harmed a child, an elderly person, or someone close to me.

    Takes so much looking within, Hiten. And yes, reading inspiring posts like yours certainly helps.

    Thank you. This is a great start to my Sunday. And I appreciate the mention very much. 🙂 Special thanks.

    Love, Vidya

    1. Hi Vidya,

      I can also think of a few family members who are very similar to your aunt! 🙂 The type who are most happiest when they are blaming other people.

      It’s strange, isn’t it? We love these individuals yet, at the same time this type of behaviour is so frustrating. Funny thing is, I reckon some of these people genuinely haven’t developed the ability to take responsibility for their behaviours even in adulthood. Or perhaps they have, know they have and yet take the easy route out and blame others.

      It is like kids who have the finger pointed at them for something and they quickly deny they had anything to do with it. It takes strength and character to admit weaknesses and even more strength and maturity to talk about this. Yet most are never taught that this is perfectly ok to so. This point definitely stems from the general society we are brought up into. Indeed, those who are successful in any aspect of life understand this, appreciate that everyone has shortcomings and what one needs to is to improve on those areas, which need improvement, and amplify their strengths and build upon these.

      You are right. “Can’t” is a perception that can so easily seduce us. When we catch ourselves doing it, or as you explained in your example, we have someone point it out, it’s like a new revelation every time. It’s very liberating every time too!

      Absolutely, there lies dormant seeds within each of us, that could be capable of doing things that we would normally tell ourselves we wouldn’t do, or would find very upsetting. I think the quicker one learns to look within, as you said, the quicker one can understand how such behaviours arise in the first place, and be in a ready and strong position to act in the best possible way.

      Still, harming children, the elderly and other vulnerable people makes my blood boil. Just reading and hearing stories about such cases is very upsetting. When it happens to our own, then who knows how we would react?

      Thank you very much for the great comment, Vidya and for sharing your experiences, and views on this area. I really appreciate it.

      And you are very welcome for the mention! 🙂



  2. Wonderful post Hiten!

    Oh yes…I think just like Vidya mentioned, we have such kind of people all over, and some of them exist among my family members too! They just like to blame others for their own faults, or love to find faults with others without looking within themselves and all that they are really made of.

    Yes, they do this because it’s an easier way out where they don’t really have to work hard and just blame another person. The hard part is accepting your mistakes and trying to make amends, without really blaming the other person for it, who isn’t actually the person causing you the harm. It all depends upon how our outlook to life is. If we let such people take the better of us and find faults in all that we do, they continue doing so, whereas if we just ignore them and not let what they said affect us, we are better off.

    If we allow ourselves to get affected by a third person, then that’s the way we let ourselves get negatively affected, which means we aren’t really strong enough to stand up for ourselves and our own decisions. We allowed ourselves to get into our own way and believe that the other person caused us the problem, wheres it was always us.

    In most of the cases, we are responsible for our problems, just as you mentioned. And yes, we have been given the powerful capacity to think and react to get out of the situation too without really blaming another person for it.

    I get in my own way when I find unforeseen obstacles and feel like certain tasks are out of reach for me, and then I might have various excuses for the same. However, when I sit back and think and make up my mind to move ahead against all odds, things do happen. So, it’s always the posiive state of mind that helps in most cases – isn’t it?

    I loved what you wrote about breaking the cycle, which is so true and something needed to break old habits and develop new ones. It would make a lot of difference if we were to have complete trust, faith, and belief in ourselves and our decisons. I guess then we would be able to rise for ourselves and the choices we make in life, without really shifting the blame on another person.

    Thanks for sharing such a nice post and for the mention as well – much appreciated. 🙂

    1. Hi Harleena,

      Yes, I know exactly what you mean about those types of people! The way I think of it is like this. If such a person has to find fault after fault in others, then this might mean there are ten times the amount of faults in, themselves but they wouldn’t want to fix them!

      The funny thing is, is that after one stops blaming others and takes charge of their life, one then is truly in the driving the seat and the journey of self-development has started. I’m really glad you pointed out how those who try and put us down by finding faults are better left ignored. Such people will always make noise. We can just use of capacity of choice and choose to ignore the terrible music.

      Indeed at the start, it will always seem like our problems have been created by others. We have been thinking and believing this for so long, to do anything else will seem a little strange at first. However, switching perceptions and actually considering how much it was ourselves who got in our own way really can open up new doors for growth.

      When I get in my own way, I try and see the bigger picture and understand how I have all the resources at hand to do what needs to be done and the problem lessens in magnitude, greatly. I agree it is always a positive state of mind, which helps most of the time!

      Taking responsibility for one’s own life isn’t easy if one has never attempted to do it. As you stated, having trust and faith in ourselves that we will be able to figure out the solutions to our problems really does help in getting ourselves out of our way.

      Thanks for leaving such an awesome comment and for sharing your valuable experiences in this area.

      I’m really glad you enjoyed the post and it was a delight to mention you in it. 🙂

  3. I can relate to what you’re sharing as well Hiten. I use to have this way of thinking, blaming others for what happened in my life. It was in my earlier years when I just didn’t know any better.

    Once I started to understand that I was responsible for everything that happened to me in my life because of the way I thought about things, that’s when the light bulb just went off. Even the bad things that happened to people in my life that I knew they were good people and their thoughts didn’t necessarily bring those situations on, that life just happens sometimes to good people. I had to start counting my blessings, that I had it pretty good in the grand scheme of things.

    Besides losing loved ones I can honestly say that for the past 10 years my life has been pretty darn great. I have no doubt hit will stay on that tract too.

    Great post and thanks for sharing this. I have a feeling a lot of people can relate to this.


    1. Hi Adrienne,

      I’m so glad you could relate to this post and many thanks for sharing your experiences in this area.

      Indeed, I think most of us can become like this when we are young. When we are younger, unless we have wise people who have already woken up to such truths teach us better, then we will become like this. This is understandable. Of course as we grow older and feel life is not so good, this can be a useful sign to check that we are taking responsibility for our situation and if not, what we can do to do so.

      I agree coming to such a revelation as taking responsibility for oneself is like a light bulb moment! Even at times when I forget this and remind myself, it’s a like an ‘aha moment’ all over again!

      I love your attitude. By having no doubt your life will continue to be great in the future, this is exactly the type of life you will attract and continue creating for yourself.

      Thanks a lot for commenting. It’s great to see you here, Adrienne! 🙂

  4. Hi Hiten.

    I did not know you were into NLP. I knew John Grinder and Richard Bandler (founders of NLP) personally. Both are a couple of geniuses. I got involved in the programs way back when they began. I got to know a lot of the other great minds that they mingled with while putting their science together. Those were incredible ‘mental times’ for me. I even taught a class or two with Bandler.

    Thank you for the mention on this blog. You did a great job putting your points across so they are easy to absorb. That’s not always easy to do, is it.

    Now, to the subject at hand. Psychological violence is done to the child when parents harshly criticize them, when teachers demean them, when peers make fun of them. This continues as the child grows when employees treat them like they are disposable, when doctors treat them like objects, when society condemns them for their roots of origin or sexual preferences. The consequence of all of this is the DEATH OF TRUST IN THE TRUE SELF. With this death, risk-taking to break through to something fresh and new becomes a rarity. If obituaries were written for psychological violence that bring on ‘death of trust in the true self’, the newspapers would be filled with millions of names every day.

    You are working to put an end to such violence. We need more folks like you, Hiten.

    Thank you, Rob

    1. Hi Rob,

      Wow! I’m so excited to find out you know Richard and John personally and I think it’s amazing how you taught some classes with Richard.

      You know, now that I know this, I can really believe it. There is something about the way you teach and train which suggests there is special person sharing their wisdom. When I’m listening to your radio show and reading your blog, it often seems you are explaining concepts which I’m familiar through NLP but you do it using simple language that is jargon free and effortless.

      This is brilliant!

      The stages of psychological violence you write about from childhood into adulthood, is so true. My NLP trainer used to say that if an adult comes to you with a problem, it most likely stems from childhood. He used to also say that if you were not assisting the person to get to the root of the problem, then you hadn’t gone as far back into their history as was needed (i.e. in childhood).

      When a child experiences so much trauma as a youngster, is it any wonder that the ‘child mind’ continues into adulthood? The point you made about how there would be millions of obituaries for those who suffered from ‘death of trust in the true self’ is very true. The way you stated this was very powerful!

      Thank you for leaving such a great comment with a very powerful message. I really appreciate the feedback on the post, too.

  5. Hiten — really well done post. No matter how much we try to take responsibility for our thoughts and actions, it’s so easy to slip into blaming someone else. This is a tendency I battle all the time, and your words here are a good antidote. You are sensitive to the struggles people face in this regard, and yet you also provide the kick in the pants needed to move past it!

    1. Hi Stephen,

      I’m really glad you liked the post, my friend.

      I spent numerous years blaming others for all my problems and in those days it never occurred to me that I held the key to the solutions to my issues. When I did though, my attitude changed and I was finally in control of my own destiny.

      Like any type of growth, its important to not be hard on ourselves when we do tend to blame others. It’s far more important to know that we’ve slipped into an old habit, and allow ourselves to do differently next time, rather than be hard on ourselves.

      Many thanks for commenting and for sharing your experiences!

  6. Hiten,
    Putting it simply…be responsible & accountable for your actions. Think deeply before you act, don’t blame others.
    be good to yourself

    1. Hi David,

      Brilliantly summarised!

      As you say, be responsible and accountable for our actions. By doing so we take control of our lives and cease to be at the mercy of others.

      Thanks for leaving such an awesome comment!

  7. Hiten,
    This is something we tried to teach our sons… you are responsible for your problems, your life, your happiness etc..

    The way I get in my own way? Hmmm probably by letting myself get too busy. Then I have take a good look, cut back and get back to Zen ways.

    I’m sending this on to my boys! A very valuable post for the youth to read, too!


    1. Hi Betsy,

      What an amazing thing to teach your sons!

      Teaching younger people to take responsibilty of themselves can only serve them well for later on in life and help them to develop into emotionally balanced adults.

      Isn’t it amazing that we have our Zen tools to fall back on, when we get in our own way? 🙂

      Many thanks for sharing your experiences. I really appreciate that. And thanks for forwarding the post to your sons. Hope they find it useful.

  8. Your blog has changed since your last published post. I didn’t recognise it! It’s a brilliant look.

    I’ve had to get out of my own way several times. Having a past like I’ve had makes you really strong (or terribly weak). I chose the former. Now that life is getting easier, it seems I don’t know how to deal with the absence of stress. It’s like my body is trying to create false stress for me to handle.

    I’m working on this at the moment and will post the results in the form of an article when I get through it.

    1. Hi Anne,

      Many thanks for sharing your experiences. Indeed, it is as you said and our suffering makes us either stronger or we become overpowered by it.

      When we choose to use our pain as a way to increase our wisdom, our inner strength increases.

      The point you made about life getting easier, yet at the same time an absence of stress being challenging to deal with, was very interesting. This is what seems to happen when me move towards positive change. When doing so, we often have to give up on undesirable emotions and experiences. I look forward to reading your article on your experiments with this.

      Thanks for the feedback on the updated theme! I’m glad you like it. I use Persuasion theme by MySiteMyWay and it is very flexible and can be easily changed.

      Thanks a lot for commenting and adding so much more to this post, Anne. It’s great to see you here.

  9. This was a recurring role for me once upon a time (not so long ago), Hiten. I was a “Blaming King.” I made my issues everyone else’s fault. What you’ve stated here is right on point!

    Many times we take the easy route. We come up with all sorts of excuses why “this happened to me” and “why I can’t fix it.” In reality, all we have to do is stand in the mirror of life and see that we alone are our biggest problem and our best solution.

    In learning to take control of our lives, along with responsibility and accountability, we ultimately are teaching ourselves that not only are we enough – but that we’ve been enough all this time.

    I loved this post, my friend. It spoke volumes and you put it very nicely. I’m glad you were inspired to write it. 🙂 Thanks for the sharpening. 🙂

    1. Hi Deone,

      Your comment was awesome!

      I loved the idea of “Blaming King”. Another way of looking at it would be being top expert in blaming. 🙂

      What you said about looking into the mirror of life and realising we are our biggest obstacle, yet at the same are our best solution is so true. This is a very powerful attitude one can use, if they are first getting to terms with the fact that he/she has really been responsible for their problems and also has the resources to fix these issues.

      Many thanks for putting it this way.

      I also loved the way you said “…we ultimately are teaching ourselves that not only are we enough – but that we’ve been enough all this time”.

      I’m finding this more and more, as I grow. The more I understand when the ego has taken over me and when I step out of the ego and as I chip away at fears and worries, I’m beginning to learn how indeed we always have been enough. It’s just that real ‘self’ has been covered through layers of negativity. Once these begin to get peeled away life literally becomes transformed.

      Thank you so much for writing such a through provoking comment, my friend. It’s great to see you here.

  10. Thanks for your kind comment on my blog, Hiten. I’ve now added your blog to my blogroll so my readers can come visit you too.

    I think I get in my own way by taking everything too seriously. I don’t release negative energy enough. I’ve worked this out, thank God. Now I’m working towards positive validation each day. I have a high self-esteem and have no problems with self-confidence, thankfully. However, I now need to work on my positivity.

    1. Hi Anne,

      You’re most welcome. I thought your most recent blog post was brilliant. Thank you for adding my blog to your blogroll.

      Thank you for also writing such an awesome comment. What I loved about it is how you know exactly what you would like do (release some negative energy) and your will do it. With such a drive for change there can be no stopping you.

      Thank you my friend.

  11. very wise words Hiten
    when i read your post worrying came to my mind because we are usually the ones responsible for our worries, we ruin our lives without noticing , thank you so much for this wake up call

    1. Hi Farouk,

      Thanks for commenting, my friend.

      As you say, we can literally ruin our lives, if we don’t wake up to the truth that only we can be responsible for the current state of lives. If we are not happy with our life, then we hold the key to the door opening, which will help us to change. It’s coming to terms with the fact that the key is always in our hands, which can be difficult. However, once we wake up to this truth, we take control back of our own destinies.

      It’s great to see you here, Farouk.

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