Why Guilt Won't Get You Moving


Why guilt won’t get you moving

So you have a stack of books waiting to be read and they are calling out to you every time you get ready to slumber for the night:


“No Read me I was the one recommended by your colleague, Josh - remember, he’s going to ask how the book is coming the next department meeting.”

NO read me, I am the book you borrowed from your neighbour.”

Mental note to self, don’t make small talk with Josh at the next meeting, and don't cut the front lawn on the weekend. this is what you say your eyes close and you fall into a troubled sleep.

OH man I have GOT to finish reading that business book, I hope he doesn’t call looking for it and I have to say it’s been here all this time and I haven’t even started it yet.

If you don’t want to read the damn books, don’t read them!

There is no passion in mind games, pushing, manipulating, guilt, shame or being dishonest with yourself. A client and I had fun with this one because it lead into discussions that have even more significance to life. Like relationships with customers, staff, even family & in-laws, and other issues he deals with as a leader of a couple of hundred people.

The traditional way of looking at this would be that he go home, take control of the situation, and put the books away as a statement of finality and real honesty. This, though not a bad idea, misses the point.  In fact, he started to suggest he put the books away and stopped himself by saying “so what you really mean is that I don’t even have to move the books do I?” I agreed saying that when the books need to be moved, they will be.  Either by being read or moved or given back. The issue he discovered was not the books, it was the addiction to the emotions he felt by not reading the books. When the realization sunk in there was a great release within and he laughed.

"the issue was ... the emotions he felt by NOT reading the books"

My client would respond to you who are skeptical, that you never read the books when you felt guilty, so clearly you don’t want to read them anyway. No amount of manipulation or cajoling will create enough energy for action, so lighten up and start trusting that what you want is what you want.

The bottom line is, if you want the books to stay on the bedside table untouched, unread and taking up space -- go for it!  Josh will still talk to you, he'll just want his book back at some point.