TED Conversations

Marcus Cauchi

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Why do we repeatedly do what does us harm or doesn't serve us, even when we know by doing what we've done before we'll get the same result?

Self-sabotage is rife in life, in business, in sports and in families to name a few. Experience tells me that the starting point of self-sabotage comes from toxic beliefs that were never true, aren't true any more or aren't true in 100% of cases.

Can you tell me what causes you have observed for self-sabotage in your lives or the lives of those you engage with?

If you could structure your responses around the following framework:

1. Issue or presenting symptom
2. A specific example to give context
3. Impact

And if you have learned how to replace old patterns with good patterns of thinking or behaviour:

4. How did you replace your old pattern/script or work around your self-sabotaging behaviours?


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  • Sep 5 2011: Just brainstorming, can it be because: The goals that we're striving for or the habits we're trying to get rid of, deep inside, in our understanding of grand scheme, just can't get evaluated with certainty. For example, myself, most of time, when I'm trying to achieve a goal, I am set back very often because, I don't have a clear understanding of more fundamental questions which makes me doubt the validity of my goal. When I am unsure about the reality I am experiencing; life and death, suffering of people; my goals become minute, unimportant. And sometimes the only reason I can hold on to them is, I feel that without achieving at least some of them, I will be in such a state that I can be of no use even when the time comes at which I'll be understanding things more clearly. But I want to believe that there is a perspective, which will give me an understanding of the life we’re experiencing with details and set me goals which are aligned with that understanding of the whole picture.
    Any thoughts?

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