Update: 344 of your fellow adventurers are now enrolled in Stature, our new character sculpting deep dive. How would you like to grow your character for 2020 and beyond? Join us for this epic journey!
One of the traps that’s easy to fall into is filling your life with too many incompatibilities — people, places, objects, circumstances, and activities that just don’t mesh with the person you are on the inside.
When your external reality is out of sync with your inner self, your inner self will resist it. This creates the feeling of wanting to escape your circumstances. You may feel powerless to make big changes, but deep down you’ll still sense a strong desire to “get out” and leave parts of your reality behind. You’ll fantasize about quitting your job, moving out, or ending a relationship.
It’s easy to lose years of your life while surrounded by incompatible energies. This problem is so common that some people just consider it normal. They figure it’s normal to dread going to work or to feel disconnected from the people around them. This may be common, but it certainly isn’t a healthy situation.
When you look at the different parts of your life — your career, health, relationships, spiritual practice, daily habits, and finances — and ask, “Is this really me?” do you hear some no’s? How long have you been tolerating these incompatibilities? Why don’t you simply kick them out of your life, so you can replace them with something more compatible?
Some people think it’s a good thing to tolerate the parts of life they don’t like. That’s dumb. Tolerance isn’t acceptance. Tolerance is resistance. To be more specific, tolerance is resistance to love.
When you fill your life with energies you must tolerate, you prevent yourself from attracting what you really want. The more incompatibilities you tolerate in your life, the fewer compatibilities you’ll be able to attract and enjoy. Keep this up for a few years, and you’ll be drowning in a life that feels totally wrong for you.
What bothers you about your life? What are you tolerating right now? I’d like to challenge you to stop tolerating your life. Either fully accept it, and love it as it is. Or kick out the incompatible parts to create the space for a life you’re able to love and accept completely.
Out with the old, in with the new
When you boot the incompatibilities from your life, you raise your energy and your consciousness because you’re no longer stuck in a state of resistance. Now you feel relief and freedom. This opens the door to attracting and experiencing what you truly want.
Many people, upon quitting an unfulfilling job or leaving a draining relationship, feel a sense of relief. There may be some anxiety and uncertainty about what to do next, but the feeling of relief is very strong. “Wow, I can breathe again! I’m glad that’s finally over! Time to move on to a new chapter of my life!” Relief feels like a heavy weight has been set down.
Some people think they can attract what they want while continuing to tolerate the negative elements from their lives. This is a mistake. Again, tolerance is resistance, and resistance keeps you stuck. When you resist what is, you can’t create and attract what you want. That resistance you feel acts like a delete key on all your best intentions.
Stop saying yes
The first step in resolving incompatibilities is to stop saying yes to them. Just stop. Accept that you don’t want what you’ve been getting, and realize that it makes no sense to keep saying yes to what you don’t want.
If someone asks you to do something that doesn’t feel right to you, say no. That may feel very uncomfortable at first, but there will also be a twinge of relief each time you do it.
When you get that twinge of relief, it means you’re on the right path. If you decline something you really should have accepted, you’ll feel more guilt and disappointment than relief.
If you know you’re in the wrong business, for example, then stop saying yes to new clients. Stop marketing and promoting the business. Stop pouring your energy into something you know you don’t want. I know — some people will be upset by this. So what? Let them be upset, and do it anyway.
This is the approach I used when I realized I wanted to retire from computer game development. I no longer felt compatible with that work, and I was merely tolerating it. But I didn’t feel I could just up and quit. So my first step was to stop saying yes to it.
I stopped developing new games. I stopped licensing games from other developers. I stopped actively marketing and promoting my existing products. When new “opportunities” to grow the business came my way, I just said no.
Obviously this caused my income to decline, but it also raised my energy. It allowed me to start accepting that it was time to change careers.
When you know you’re on the wrong path, stop. Just stop. Don’t take any more steps along that path. Just stand still for a while, even if it means your life starts to fall apart a little. You’ll survive.
Watching my income drop was actually a very healing experience for me. It gave me a sense that change was inevitable. I was letting go of the old, and this gave me the time and energy to explore what I wanted to do next. Creating that space is a heck of a lot more important than financial security.
Commit to quitting
After you’ve stopped saying yes, your energy will rise to the point where you’re ready to commit to quitting. You may not be ready to say, “I quit,” right this minute, but you know you’ll get there soon. You know it’s inevitable.
You may give yourself a specific deadline to quit, but that isn’t always necessary. The most important element is that you’ve reached the point where quitting is a done deal. Whatever incompatibilities you’re facing must go. Their days are numbered.
Once you’ve stopped saying yes, the death of the old becomes a certainty. It’s only a matter of time before it dies on its own. Once you’ve stopped putting fresh energy into a career, relationship, or activity, it’s on its way out. The only question is how long you’ll remain in this limbo state before you’re able to fully leave.
Quitting is an essential part of transitioning. If trying to “transition” has been keeping you stuck, then focus your energy on quitting instead. Make a commitment to quit the old, even before you’ve figured out what the new will be.
I’m currently in this stage with some changes I want to make to my business model. For a while I’ve been feeling that the advertisements on my website aren’t compatible with me anymore. In 2005 and 2006, I liked earning income from ad clicks. It seemed like a great business model. But today I just tolerate the ads (which means I resist them). Many of the Adsense ads served up aren’t a good fit for the message I want to convey. So I finally realized they had to go.
Consequently, I’m committed to make StevePavlina.com ad-free by the end of this year. This means eliminating all the Google Adsense ads and text link ads from the site. I won’t be replacing this with other forms of ad sales. I’m just going to eliminate third-party advertising on the site completely.
Earlier this summer I went through the phase where I stopped saying yes. I turned down several advertisers that wanted to buy new text link ads. When one of my existing advertisers wanted to renew, I told him that I was sorry but I couldn’t continue to sell advertising to him. This decision has already cost me thousands of dollars in “easy money” that I could have earned for a few minutes work. But each time I say no, I feel a greater sense of lightness and relief.
When incompatible ways of earning income exit my life, I gain the energy and freedom I need to begin attracting other ways of generating income that are more compatible with me.
While I’ve posted my commitment to an ad-free site publicly now, that doesn’t make me feel any more committed because I was already committed on the inside. I can clearly see that I need to switch to an ad-free site. I’m not worried about figuring out the right sources for income generation between now and then. I’m just enjoying being in that place of holding the vision of what I want and letting go of what I know I don’t want. When the time is right, I’ll be ready to transition completely. But for now I like the sense of inevitability that it’s going to happen… and that I’ll have an ad-free site in 2009.
I know I have to say “I quit” to what I don’t want before I can summon the energy and consciousness necessary to attract what I do want. If something isn’t right for me, it doesn’t matter whether or not I can see a more compatible match standing in the wings. I have to say “I quit” first. I probably won’t be able to see the new, more compatible match until I’m ready to release the old one.
If you work at a job you don’t like, but you don’t feel ready to quit right now, then say to your boss, “I have to tell you that I’m going to be leaving in 6 months. I just want to give you as much notice as possible, so we can have a smooth transition.” At least this way, you’ve gotten things rolling. This also makes it easier to stop saying yes to anything that would keep you stuck. Of course there’s a good chance your employer will help speed things along, so it may not take anywhere near 6 months to transition out. If you find yourself out the door in less than a month, that says something about how essential your job was, doesn’t it?
Eventually we must say a firm “I quit” to incompatibilities we’ve been tolerating. It can take a while to build up to this stage, but if we’ve worked through the first two stages, this stage is inevitable. In fact, this step is often a non-event.
It may still take some courage to get yourself to finally say, “I quit” to what you know you don’t want, but by this point it has become a necessity. The desire to quit has probably been building for quite a while. When you finally cross the line, there’s a great feeling of relief and a sense of new possibilities.
Don’t let fear stop you from extricating yourself from what you don’t want. If you know you don’t want it, you’re going to have to quit. The longer you remain stuck, the worse it is for you. Your inner self will keep nagging at you. You’ll be stuck dealing with a lot of negative emotions until you summon the courage to kick the incompatibilities out of your life.
Don’t get so attached to your status and your stuff that you can’t quit what you’ve been tolerating for too long. Your job title, money, and possessions won’t give you much comfort. Better to lose all of that than suffer through a phony life that just isn’t you. If you can’t make money authentically and without lowering your consciousness, it’s better to be broke for a while.
If you ever get tempted to lower your consciousness (by tolerating parts of your life instead of loving them) in exchange for more money, security, or comfort, realize you’re about to step foot through the gates of hell. It’s a trap that can see you wallowing in negativity for years to come.
When you quit something you’ve been tolerating, whether it be a job, a relationship, a bad habit, or an unhealthy diet, you raise your energy and your consciousness. This enables you to imagine, intend, attract, and receive what you really do want.
You won’t be able to attract what you want while you’re still tolerating what you don’t want. You have to say “I quit” first. This is life’s test of courage. If you can’t summon the courage to quit what you know you don’t want, you certainly won’t have the strength to receive and hold onto what you do want. So you have to pass through this qualification test first. I know it sucks to have to go through it, but it’s there for a good reason.
You’re being asked, “Are you willing to step up? Are you willing to demand more from life? Can you prove you won’t settle for less than what you want?”
If you get scared, run back to the familiar, and settle for tolerance, you lose this challenge. You’re saying to life, “Sorry, I’m not ready for anything more than what I have right now. I’m too scared. Let me stay here for a while longer, wallowing in what I don’t want. I need to build more strength before I’m ready to ask for what I do want. Please keep making my life harder until I’m finally able to let go of this.”
Fortunately there’s no limit to how often you can take this test. When you ask for what you want, you can expect some resistance to come up. You may have a financial setback or a health problem that makes you want to run back to what you know, even if it isn’t what you want. If you do that, however, you’re proving you aren’t ready to receive what you want. You can’t hold onto what you want if you’re going to run back to what you don’t want every time life throws a little obstacle your way.
The real test is whether you will choose to resonate with courage or fear. If you choose fear, you aren’t ready to have what you want. If you choose courage, you demonstrate your readiness. Courage is the ability to choose love rather than fear, regardless of circumstances. When you’re able to choose love no matter what, then you’re finally ready to receive what you’re asking for.
Another word for tolerance is cowardice. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s fairly accurate. If you’re experiencing what you don’t want, it’s because you’re allowing it. You remain free to choose something else. The question is whether you’ll step up and claim it… or chicken out and tell yourself it’s too big or that you aren’t ready or that you can’t possibly make it happen. That’s cowardice.
I enjoy a pretty abundant lifestyle, but what compensation would that be if I had to sacrifice my courage to keep it? Life without courage is nothingness. It’s an empty void. If you can’t “bet the farm” on a new direction that calls to you, you aren’t free, and you certainly aren’t living consciously. Better to go broke and have some incredible learning experiences than to lower your consciousness and trap yourself in a gilded cage. Money should always be your slave, never your master.
If your life isn’t filled with what you love, who chose that? Who’s choosing it right now? Who’s free to say no at any time? Who’s responsible for fixing it? If you can’t say no to what you don’t want, then how are you supposed to experience what you do want? If you want to travel the right path for you, then isn’t it reasonable to stop taking steps along the wrong path first?
If you’re experiencing what you don’t want, then stop choosing to experience it. Quit. Leave. Stop. Enjoy the sense of relief that comes from releasing what you don’t want. This is much better than dying a slow death on a path you don’t even want to pursue.
If you don’t want it, let it go. Say goodbye to the old with love, so you can say hello to the new with love.
If you take this simple advice and follow it for a period of years, you’ll soon find that your life is filled with what you love instead of what you tolerate. But eventually you’ll be guided in yet another direction, and it will be time for another round of releasing. This process never ends because it’s necessary for us to grow. We can’t grow if we keep repeating the same experiences over and over. We must continue to engage new energies that bring us fresh growth experiences.