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Why Success Is Sabotaged By Our Own Thinking (and Ego)

Last week I wrote about a few reasons why our own subconscious works as hard as possible for us not to reach our goals by trying to suppress our conscious thought process from taking positive forward-moving actions. (See that article here)

Almost within a day that I posted that article, my staff passed me a note that one of our new clients who ordered Unlock The Game was having trouble applying it to his business and he kept saying that “my business is different, so I don’t think it’s for me.”

Oh, and it turns out he only spent about a half hour “browsing” all the materials he received in his package we sent him (not a good sign, “browsing” is not learning).

When I hear those two messages “my business is different” and “I’ve briefly ‘reviewed’ the materials”, then I know the client’s subconscious has gotten to him faster than his conscious could get to him to start taking action towards achieving his goals.

He was clearly LOOKING for a reason why the solution put in front of him wouldn’t work.

In the occasion that we come across clients like this, I have my team immediately issue them a refund because I know they’re looking for a reason why Unlock The Game doesn’t fit their business so they can comfortably stay in their comfort zone and not make a change for the better.

But this time, against my good conscious, I decided to try and turn this client around hoping he would let go of his fear of failure and focus on digging into the solution that will give him the breakthrough he is looking for.

I called him and did something that I know I shouldn’t have done.

I offered him a complimentary private coaching session with me to help him “see” that Unlock The Game is not about WHAT he is selling, it’s about HOW he is selling that can be his edge and differentiation in the marketplace.

I say “against my good conscious”, because I always find when I’m not paid for my time, my advice is rarely acted on. So I’ve learned over the years to only work with clients who are willing to invest in themselves, because those are the ones who take full responsibility for their circumstances and their success.

Anyways, when I called him, he seemed hesitant to accept my help, almost as if he was worried that I would clearly show him that his thinking was heading him down the wrong track.

Not only was his subconscious getting in his way, now his EGO was saying “Hey, what about me?”.

We humans are so complex aren’t we?

We want success so badly, but we aren’t able to fall on our sword and be humble enough to listen to someone else who we know can help us.

So he finally says to me: “Ok Ari, I’ll have the session with you, but if I don’t get the value I’m looking for, I’m going to ask for a refund.” (Still negative).

I said in return: “No problem, I’d be happy to do that for you without hesitation.”

I hung up the phone having second thoughts of why I even made him that offer when deep down, my intuition was telling me that was not a good idea.

Please kick me next time I slip back and offer my time at no charge again.

So my assistant schedules the call for a couple of days later.

A few hours before our scheduled call, he sends in an email cancelling our call and requesting a refund.

Jeeezzzz… shame on me,  I should have listened to my inner voice.

So what happened here and what can we learn from it?

1. Our Internal Conditioning Is A Powerful Force We Need To Overcome

So much of who we are, comes from how we have been conditioned by the people around us. If the people we grew up with or now spend our time with are comfortable in accepting their circumstances around them, we join them in the hope that if we just stay as we are and don’t make any changes, we are in good company.

Feels good to be with others just like us.

Yet, the most successful people that I’ve had the privilege to spend time with think and do the exact opposite.

They say: “Everyone around me is plateauing” or “I’m being told that I shouldn’t rock the boat and be too successful”, then they say “Screw that.” They become defiant with the status quo, fight back their subconscious from trying to sabotage them, and they start look for ideas and people they can follow as role models.

2. Being Humble And Willing To Learn Are Core Secrets To Success (Not Practiced By Many)

It used to be all about bravado and the perception of “knowing it all” that made you smart, right?

In this new economy, it’s the complete opposite.

It’s about how much you are willing to admit you DON’T KNOW that opens up your mindset to be willing to change and learn.

If you’re still fighting the notion: “I’m a professional, and I doubt anyone can teach me anything of significance”, you’re one step away of being humbled in a way you won’t be expecting.

3. A Strong Commitment To Moving Out Of Our Comfort Zones Makes Success Accessible To A Selected Few

Look, I know it’s uncomfortable making a change from what you’re used to doing, it’s only human nature.

But that human nature is precisely what you need to work hard against to take actions and invest in your own success.

Now more than ever, is the time to be defiant and step out of your comfort zone.

There is opportunity everywhere, but you won’t be able to “see it” until you accept a shift in your thinking.

Your comments are welcome below.

To your success,

Ari Galper

Ari Galper

Ari Galper is the world’s number one authority on trust-based selling and is the most sought-after sales conversion expert for Business Owners. His newest book, “Unlock The Sales Game”, has become an instant best-seller worldwide. Ari has been featured in CEO Magazine, Forbes, INC Magazine and the Australian Financial Review. He is considered a contrarian in the sales industry and in his book, everything you learned about selling will be turned upside down. No more chasing, no pressure, no closing.

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  1. Roderick

    Ari, I saw a lot of myself in that interaction that you had with your client. So many times, I’ve listened to my subconscious, not knowing it was my mind playing negative tricks on me. I know that I have been conditioned to be negative or to expect the negative consequences and am surprised when things really do work out. I, like so many others, concentrate on the things that didn’t work, instead of the things that did. (Fear of Success) In the past, I’ve been to the “success gurus” who promised prosperity and happiness, but left you hanging loose after the purchase of their “package”. I learned that the motivation and techniques are great, but it needs to be followed up real people who will hold me responsible for completing the tasks on a consistent basis. The tendency to backslide or to become comfortable with “as is” is a strong magnetic force. You were justified to feel the way that you felt about the client. Sometimes, it’s best to sometimes walk away. One day he may discover that he has to seriously commit to a change, and then get the support to help him overcome his internal roadblocks.

    Folsom, CA

  2. Ivo

    Hi Ari,

    Spot on….As Steven Convey so very well defines the power of paradigm

    It is the intellectual perception or view, accepted by an individual or a society as a clear example, model or pattern of how things work in the world.

    We interpret everything we experience through these mental mindsets. We seldom question their accuracy; we’re usually even unaware that we have them. We simply assume that the way we see things is the way they really are or the way they should be.

    Our attitudes and behaviors grow out of those assumptions. The way we see things is the source of the way we think and the way we act.

    Keep up the great work.

    Auckland, New Zealand

  3. Daniel M.


    I almost fell into the same trap. I wanted to be skeptical and we all know that when your looking for something you really want, you’ll probably find it.

    Fortunately, I want success in cold calling and building relationships more than a reason to quit. After reading this article, I can see how our subconscious is constantly fighting the FOR the status quo.

    My desire to succeed in sales is more powerful than my subconscious to remain static.

    I just received the materials and my just implement a little of what I started to learn, I already had a different response on the phone – I couldn’t believe it.

    I’m no longer on the road to skepticism here – I’m heading off on the road of education, where I am the student and you are the teacher. Daniel SAN and Miagi – haha! Thanks Ari!

    Riverside, CA

  4. Meredith Bell

    Ari, your transparency about your own experiences in your own life and with your clients clearly reveals important truths about human nature. If we’re willing to apply the lessons in this story, we’ll discover ways that our mind prevents us from seeing possibilities. I admire the way you speak the truth. You message is magnetic to those of us willing to take responsibility for our learning and actions, and that’s who you’re trying to attract anyway, right? Yours is one of the few blogs I read faithfully because your message is consistently relevant to my life and business.

    Newport News, VA

  5. Tom Benton

    Rock on Ari, you’re a man who is not afraid to tell the truth. A lot people will be defensive reading your post, because they know deep down inside they really don’t want to accept change…good, that leaves success even more open for those of us who are ready to follow your lead.

    Keep on with your mission and don’t let any of the naysayers set you back.

    Boston, MA