As we progress with our personal development, it is easy to think that things will be forever different, better, as a result of a breakthrough we have made. But we must be careful. It’s always the same. Just when we think we’ve made it, we get caught out. Something simple, seemingly innocuous happens and before we know it we have reverted back to our old patterns and are acting out our familiar script (TA).
This occurs because we get ahead of ourselves. We think we are further down the line than we actually are and we relax (or even abandon) the procedures which created the breakthrough in the first place. Think of the relay runners who take their eye off the changeover because they are too busy looking at the finishing line, thinking about victory. Or the golfer who, with a three-shot lead at the last hole, misses the fairway off the tee and hits his approach shot into the water because his focus has slipped, thinking he has won.
There is always work to be done; even if we think we’ve made it. Especially if we think we’ve made it. The entry ‘Take Care Towards the End’ makes a similar point about maintaining focus near the end of whatever it is you are doing. It’s frustrating to be caught out. We can become disheartened, saddened, even ashamed. But there is no need because that is the normal process. We work hard on ourselves, correcting our behaviour, changing our habits, improving ourselves. Along the way we have breakthroughs and we think we’ve made it.
It’s at these times that we are vulnerable, because it’s precisely these occasions which our mind has been waiting for. Every time we move forward the whole cycle repeats itself. We think we’ve made it, we relax, we get caught out and we feel like we’ve taken a step backwards. I get up early to do my daily exercises. I used to think if I did it often enough it would become automatic and, therefore, easier. Indeed, there are days when it is easier than it used to be, but on those days I still fall into the trap of believing I have established a new pattern in my life; that now every morning will be easy. ‘I’ve made it.‘
In doing this I am setting myself up for a fall because the next time I find it difficult to get out of bed (and it will happen), I’m disappointed, demotivated and down. I would be better off saying, on the good days, ‘This was easy‘ and on the bad days, ‘This was tough‘, without any inference of what will happen in the future. That way I am simply stating facts, from the Adult ego state (TA), rather than having other voices in my head – the Child and Controlling Parent (TA) – telling me ‘This is not how it should be!‘, and ‘You’re not strong (good) enough to get out of bed!‘.
Our mind doesn’t need an invitation to trip us up. It’s on the lookout all the time, it seems. The best thing we can do is relax, remain focused and know that every step, in whichever direction, is progress.