Manson’s Law of Avoidance
Mason’s Law Of Avoidance states that “the more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid it”. That means the more something threatens to change how you view yourself, how successful or unsuccessful you believe yourself to be, how well you see yourself living up to your values, the more you will avoid ever getting around to doing it.
You avoid telling your friend that you don’t want to see him anymore because ending that friendship would conflict with your identity as a nice, forgiving person. You avoid sharing a fantastic idea with your boss because you think of yourself as somebody who is not an innovation champion at all. You avoid giving presentations, because you view yourself as a bad speaker. You avoid writing that book you have always dreamed of because doing so would call into question your “real” identity as – for instance – sales director, HR manager, software engineer, etc.
So we say “no” to opportunities because they threaten to change how we view and feel about ourselves. These opportunities simply threaten the values that we have chosen and have learned to live up to. That’s why people talk for years of doing this or doing that and finally they end up never doing it. And they always find excuses.
We all have values for ourselves. We protect these values. We try to live up to them and we justify them and maintain them. Even if we don’t mean to, that’s how our brain is wired: “If I believe I’m a nice guy, I’ll avoid situations that could potentially contradict that belief”. However, do not let beliefs of your identity define what you do. Until you change how you view yourself, what you believe you are and are not, you cannot overcome your avoidance and anxiety. Don’t put yourself into a strict role and do not saddle you with unnecessary expectations. It simply limits your potential and it closes off opportunities.
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