Power Challenges

Since Trump is doing such a hideous job on his re-election campaign, some analysts are concluding that he’s deliberately trying to sabotage himself. They suggest that he’s putting out strong indications that he really doesn’t want the job for another four years (or that he doesn’t expect to get re-elected). One example is that he openly talks about Biden as being the next President – and without qualifying words like could or might. Another example is that he’s been deliberately taking actions that are virtually guaranteed to lower his already pitiful approval rating with groups he’d need to court if he seeks to be re-elected. Shutting down H1-B visas sure pissed off a lot of people.

Such behavior is actually quite common when people are working in jobs they don’t really want. But I don’t think this type of sabotage is normally conscious and deliberate most of the time. It’s really an external manifestation of an inner conflict. When you’re internally conflicted, this conflict will often show up through your actions (and inactions), but other people will typically notice these misalignments before you do.

I’ve worked with someone like this before. He claimed to want the job, but he sabotaged himself so openly that it was undeniable that he was on his way out. When he was let go, he seemed surprised at first but quickly shifted to acceptance and moving on.

When facing a power challenge, such as having to quit your job and not wanting to deal with the consequences of that, it’s very common to run from the truth and succumb to denial. It’s a way of avoiding the power challenge. But some part of you knows the truth, and that part will sabotage your continued investment in the misaligned path.

That may be what’s happening with Trump as well. He’s facing such a huge backlash from multiple sides. Many people really don’t want him sticking around for another four years, including many members of his own party who are actively running attack ads against him. With the election being just over four months away, it would take a monumental effort for him to overcome the tide against him, even if he cheats. But is there a good path for him to quit without losing face? It must be an awful trap for such a person. There’s a certain cluelessness to his nature that seems to be very pronounced these days, and it makes me feel sorry for him.

I think his real power challenge isn’t getting re-elected. It’s to admit the truth and quit. He sucks at the job at job so badly that he really has no business sticking around another four years, let alone for another several months. But how does one face such a difficult truth? Most people won’t bring themselves to face it consciously because that takes tons of courage.

Personal growth begins with truth alignment first and foremost. When the connection with truth is severed, so is the connection to power. Power tends to flow through truth, so when you get aligned with truth, which may including acknowledging your own weaknesses, that invites a stronger flow of power. It’s very hard to take action when you aren’t ready to admit and accept the truth about your situation.

This is the pathway to so many breakups (which are really graduations) with misaligned jobs and relationships. Some deeper truth has to sink in first, but you have to invite that to happen.

Notice that the mere thought of inviting more truth into your awareness can give rise to some internal resistance. Do you really want to look into those dark places where you don’t know what you’ll find?

A good way to avoid long-term self-sabotage is to keep questioning what’s true. This includes the truth about your own feelings. Ask yourself questions like these now and then:

  • How do I really feel about my job?
  • How do I really feel about my relationship?
  • How do I really feel about my lifestyle?
  • How do I really feel about my home?
  • What truths have I been resisting or avoiding?
  • Where have I been hesitant to look for more truth?

Don’t worry about acting on those truths. Just focus on discovering what’s true for you. Be internally curious. Give yourself time to process what you find; sometimes your initial answers will shift and evolve. Allow your discoveries time to sink in. You don’t have to race into action mode. If you simply allow the truth to live within you, it will build your power and motivation to make some changes.

Facing the truth may seem scary at first, but it eventually leads to relief, as many people hopefully feel by the end of the year.

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Steve Pavlina

Steve Pavlina is an American self-help author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur. He is the author of the web site stevepavlina.com and the book Personal Development for Smart People.

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