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To Have What You Want, You Must Give-Up What’s Holding You Back

Lessons are repeated until they are learned.

Benjamin Hardy, PhD
Published in
5 min readJun 9, 2018

If you pay attention to your life, you’ll begin to see the patterns.

In 2005, the National Science Foundation published an article showing that the average person has between 12,000 and 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are negative and 95% are exactly the same repetitive thoughts as the day before.

The things running through your head are the same things that were running through your head yesterday.

The conversations you’re having with yourself are the same conversations you’ve been having with yourself.

You know what to do.

You know what you want.

Said Tim Grover in his book, Unstoppable, “Don’t think. You already know what you have to do, and you know how to do it. What’s stopping you?”

Fear Of The Unknown Is The Foundation Of All Fears

According to some scholars, fear of the unknown is likely the foundation of all other fears. In order to avoid the unknown, most people bail on their dreams in exchange for remaining in lives they hate!

In the mega-selling book (over 6 million sold), The Easy Way To Quit Smoking, Allen Carr explains that one of the primary reasons people stay in addiction is because they fear the unknown. Even though people know their addiction is literally killing them, it has become their homeostasis. To not be in the addiction is frightening, because you have no idea what that looks or feels like anymore.

Even though you KNOW life could be fundamentally better, you hold tightly to what you have. You hold-on to what you have while knowing that it is the very thing stopping you from getting what you really want.

And so the thoughts recur, daily. 95% of those thoughts and cycles continue, all the while you intuitively know that you are making a fool’s bargain.

You’re giving up your dreams and your greatest potential for something you know isn’t serving you.

Professional film-maker, Casey Neistat put it this way, “What is the ultimate quantification of success? For me, it’s not how much time you spend doing what you love. It’s how little time you spend doing what you hate.”

Openness To New Experiences

“Think positively about yourself…. ask God who made you to keep on remaking you.” — Norman Vincent Peale, The Power Of Positive Thinking

When you open yourself to new experiences, you open yourself to change. Obviously, being open to new experiences is hard. In order for you to truly be open, you must be humble.

You must be open to being changed. You must be willing to absorb what your new experiences make of you.

The latin root of humility is connected to “earth,” “ground,” and “soil.”

The words humility and humidity are very closely connected.

Humidity is the moisture.

Humility is the soil.

Humble soil ABSORBS the moisture. Non-humble soil is hard and unable to accept all of the nutrients the humidity is trying to give it.

Your life is talking to you.

It’s been talking to you for a long time.

You’ve seen the signals.

You’ve had the conversations over and over in your head.

You could continue having this conversation for the rest of your life and remain in your safety zone. But if you did, you’d always have the regret. You’d always wonder what might have been. You’d always know you could have had something better. And that you chose the lesser path.

Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach once said, “The moment you have arrived is the perfect time to start out again.”

Even success can become a block to future success. It’s easy to hold-on to a particular role or identity that you’ve formulated for yourself. Dan Sullivan also explains happiness comes when your future is bigger than your past.

In order for your future to be bigger than your past, you must move beyond it. You must stop living in your past!

Let it go.

Let it be what it was — the good and the bad.

Take everything you’ve learned from it, but don’t be defined by it. If you want something much bigger and better, you’ll have to do things differently. Said Marshall Goldsmith, “What got you here won’t get you there.”

Similarly, Leonardo DiCaprio said, “Every next level of your life will require a different you.”

You can make this change.

You can give up what you have for what you want.

Create A List Of Everything You Want In Exchange For What You Must Give-Up

There are two main types of motivation: push and pull.

  • Push motivation is a behavior that an individual forces themselves to complete in order to satisfy a need or achieve a goal.
  • Pull motivation is a behavior that an individual feels drawn towards.

Push motivation is rough. It’s exhausting, depleting, and requires constant willpower, which quickly burns-out.

Pull motivation is much more powerful. It draws you forward, and actually gives you more energy while you’re doing it.

If you want to make permanent change, you can’t do it by pushing. Instead, you need to be pulled. Dr. David Hawkins said there is a potent difference between “power” and “force.” Forcing things to happen complicates and ultimately breaks them down. Power, on the other hand, comes from doing what you know you should. Come what may. In order to have power, you must have courage. You must do what is right and for the right reasons. You must draw upon powers beyond your own.

I recently pulled out my journal and began thinking of the recurring thoughts that have been running through my head.

As someone who constantly seeks change, luckily, many of my thoughts are not recurring.

I’m constantly meeting new people, working on new projects, reading new books, and engaging in new environments.

I seek heavily to create new and transformational experiences constantly.

However, there are still a few recurring thoughts I have yet to address. There are things I know are holding me back from the life I truly want.

So I made a list of EVERYTHING I wanted in my life.

EVERYTHING I could think of.

It was a huge list.

I wrote about my family and the welfare, health, and success of my children. My wife and I recently adopted three kids who we fought for in court for three years.

Now my wife is pregnant with twins! It’s crazy.

I wrote about how I wanted my kids to be happy, healthy, and successful.

I wrote about all of my financial dreams. And my career dreams. And my health dreams. I wrote about the person I wanted to become and the life I wanted to live. I wrote about all the people I wanted to help.

By the end of all of this, I had a huge list.

I loved looking at that list.

Then I thought about the recurring thoughts and patterns.

“Am I willing to give-up what I’ve got in order to have something better?” I asked myself.


Yes, I am.

Are you?



Benjamin Hardy, PhD

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