The Sin of Self Sabotage

Is it a sin? It’s a mistake, yes. An expensive error in behaviour that might deny us success in any area of our life – but a sin?

I’m not one for bible thumping (really not my thing, as you’ll know if you know me at all), but I do believe in good and bad behaviour, much along the lines that Steven Pinker defined it recently.

In his mind, and mine, a good act is one that benefits the group more than it immediately benefits ourselves. A bad act is wholly selfish, giving us a short term gain at the expense of the group, often in the longer term.

They are good and bad because, ultimately, they benefit or hurt us (or our genetic lineage, to be more accurate), by harming or helping the group of which we are a part, and which shares most of our genes.

Over thousands of generations the common interest has become encoded in a moral framework and labelled ‘good’.

So, what has this to do with self-sabotage?

Well, when you stop yourself achieving what is ultimately (rather than temporarily) good for you, you also stop yourself being or becoming a better, more fulfilled and more beneficial part of the group. Your own failures, in other words, don’t just harm you.

And being an under-achiever doesn’t usually mean someone
else gets to achieve more. Certainly not in the long term.

Being unhappy doesn’t make anyone else happier, that’s for sure.

What has this to do with business? Everything.

Sabotaging that is simply sabotaging yourself on a more
public stage, affecting more people and making a bigger mess.

One form of self-sabotage that isn’t terminal is just daft. That’s paying more for something tomorrow because you couldn’t quite decide to commit to it today.

My prices will rise again in the new year.

I’m sure you can make the connection.

Meanwhile, “Let he who is without sin…”