Thinking about sabotage

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Thinking about sabotage

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I’m on my way back to Vancouver from Texas, waiting for my flight to board. Reading through my rss reader I saw a new post from Seth Godin that caught my eye.

This post is titled “Sabotage!” but has nothing to do with the Beastie Boys song. What it is about is how we often undercut our own potential by doing what’s safe and comfortable.

This paragraph in particular:

Or consider the way we resist opportunities to lead, to connect, to do work that matters. We don’t resist because we’re not capable of it… we resist because if our marketing fails, if we don’t get the job or earn the trust, then we’re off the hook. No promises made, which means no promises to keep.

I see this happen in animal rights activism a lot. I’ve seen people come up with an idea but immediately start thinking about ways that it won’t work, reasons why they shouldn’t even start working on it.

I’ve listened to conversations about how people would do more if only they could quit their job, if only they could work for an animal rights organization, if only they could win the lottery. What they’re doing is creating fake constraints that prevent them from working hard and taking risks and possibly failing.

It’s all self-sabotage.

I’ve done more than my share of this sort of thing over the years. It’s hard not too. It seems like it’s a part of our very nature.

But that still doesn’t excuse me from taking those risks, from working on projects even if I don’t feel like I have enough experience, from doing things that are uncomfortable and a lot of work.

This post reminded me of an activist here in Vancouver who recently decided to start tabling at events, even though she had never done it before. She’s really taking this to heart – when something needs to be done, we can’t wait around for someone else to do it, we have to get in there and make things happen ourselves. We’re the only ones we can count on. And by we I mean each and every one of us.

What great projects and ideas are you sabotaging?

[note: this was originally posted on my personal blog.]



August 1, 2010 at 11:29 pm

Thank you for this post. The risk of not doing anything is much greater because if we don’t do anything, animals will suffer. Forget about fear, just do it.


August 2, 2010 at 8:39 am

You are so right Glenn. And a big thanks to you and Joanne for encouraging us and inspiring us to do more….


August 14, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Listen all y’all it’s a sabotage!!

I think one of the big challenges with this is simply having too many ideas to know which to act on. I think choosing almost randomly can help you decide sometimes. If you choose: “weekly protests at ____ restaurant”, maybe you’ll start planning it and realize – I don’t want to stand in the street and chant. I’d rather _______. Replacing what you don’t want with what you DO want can lead to specific action.

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