The Internal Resistance Files

You Can Stop Trying to Be Good

And it will actually make things better

Jane Elliott PhD
Know Thyself, Heal Thyself
5 min readJun 19, 2024

--

‘I Wait’, by Julia Cameron, 1872. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

I spent a lot of my life playing what I think of as the good/bad game. Which means I soldiered through my days, constantly evaluating whether I was being good enough and trying to be better.

If I took my lunch to work three times that week, it should have been five. If I published a new academic article, it should have come out sooner. If I got up without hitting snooze five times, I should have set it even earlier. There was nothing I had done or could do that ever put me fully into the ‘good’ category.

This is not uncommon, especially among high-achievers. We tell ourselves we need to be be eating more vegetables. Fitting in another yoga class. Finally digitising the boxes of family photos that have been sitting there for 10 years. And if by some miracle we do get through our current list of not-good-yet things, there are always new ones to add.

In the good/bad game, we’re constantly keeping score, but we can never really win.

This is not a fun game.

But the problem isn’t just that this game is unpleasant and unwinnable. It’s also counterproductive. The more we try to be good, the harder it is to actually execute on the…

--

--

Jane Elliott PhD
Know Thyself, Heal Thyself

Coach, Prof, Writer, Swear-er | I help high-achievers do the one thing they just can't do.