It’s interesting when people let their barriers slip out in their actual language. Usually, they don’t even realize they’re doing it. But Detective Sethi is on the case:
Guy 1: “So you started going to the gym?”
Guy 2: “Yeah, I actually kinda like it now.”
Guy 1: “So you’re saying I’d have to go to the gym every day for the rest of my life to lose weight? I could never do that!”
Guy 1 is demonstrating an example of an “extreme-reach barrier” — the assumption that if you want to do something, you have to go to the COMPLETE EXTREME to do it at all.
This allows him to rationalize the fact that he doesn’t go, even though he could get benefits from going 2-3 times per week. I hate him.
Another way we do this is by creating false dichotomies. “Ramit, should I do X or Y?”
My answer is usually “Yes and yes.” This is the idea that top performers don’t do X or Y — they do both, and they’re better at it than everyone else.
If this is intimidating, go away. This site is about being the best, not about doing what’s easiest.
But if you want more details on how exactly to think about making tough choices, I recorded a new Ask Ramit video for you:
“I’m 52. Have I waited too long to try for a new or better career or should I focus on what I’m doing now better?”
-IWT reader Laura
Check out the video, where I dig in to highlight the barriers hidden in her question.
I take a lot of time to record these videos for you, so let me know what you think in the comments.