Anchors of Self Deception

That which we believe has propelled us forward may, in fact, be exactly that which has held us back.

We do not and can not know everything about ourselves or the world we live in. We all hold onto false beliefs as a matter of self-protection because too much truth, regarding our flaws, our fragility, and our failings, revealed too fast, would paralyze us in shock and hopelessness. Out of necessity, we are masters of self deception.

When we make progress in our lives, we tell ourselves all sorts of stories about how we did it, why our methods were effective, and who was responsible for our growth and success. We tell ourselves that we understand the formula and, because both progress and affirmation feel good, we stick with that formula to try to replicate and expand our results. The problem is that, lacking omniscience and objectivity, we often misinterpret the causes of our own success.

There are variables leading up to and driving our success (or failure) that were, and are, totally outside of our control and scope of influence. The circumstances, traits, and behaviors that we believe brought us to this point may actually be exactly the things that are holding us back from progressing forward with exponential results. The more confident and self-assured we feel, the more we should step back to consider the fact that we may be missing something crucial and that the truths we cling to may actually be anchors pulling us down and holding us back.


Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, as well as a founding member of the Severna Park and Baltimore Holistic Chamber of Commerce.

Street art photo taken by Robert Van Valkenburgh, artist unknown unless otherwise noted.

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