It’s no secret my favourite writer on the internet at the moment is Mark Manson. In today’s episode Brooke and I discuss a law Mark coined – Manson’s Law of Avoidance. That being:
The more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid doing it.
Here’s a passage from Mark’s blog that explains this in more detail:
That means that the more something threatens to change how you view yourself, how you believe yourself to be, the more you will procrastinate ever getting around to doing it.
The crazy thing about Manson’s Law is that it can apply to both good and bad things in one’s life. Making a million dollars can threaten your identity just as much as losing all your money. Becoming a famous rock star can threaten your identity just as much as losing your job. This is why people are often so afraid of success — for the exact same reason they’re afraid of failure — it threatens who they are and what they know now.
For me, there are two places I can see Manson’s Law of Avoidance at work in my life. The first was 6-7 years ago when I was in depths of depression caused by stress and anxiety. I knew what I needed to do to get out of that place. I had to stop over-committing and trying to be everything to everyone. But doing that thing threatened my identity as someone who was:
- Highly capable
- Could handle a lot because she was so organised and productive
- Always had her shit together no matter what.
That was then. Happily, I managed to get over myself and do what needed to be done!
But today, the Law of Avoidance is still playing out in my life – it’s holding me back as a writer.
I want to be braver and more forthright in my writing. But I also strongly identify as someone who is highly considered and would never thoughtlessly hurt someone’s feelings. If you’re going to be forthright when you write, someone will get upset and I’ve spent a long time treading very carefully with my writing so I don’t upset anyone.
The problem with this? As Brooke and I realise in this podcast, it means people never know what you stand for. And if you don’t stand for anything, you stand for nothing.
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