False choices force unnecessary decisions upon us: you can have money or time, the food you want or the body you want, a great relationship or a profitable business. Wealthy people are wealthy because they don’t buy into false choices. Listen and find out how you can begin rejecting false choices so that you can create wealth.
Welcome to Rich & Thin™ Radio, the only podcast that helps you get more bank with less bulk. Today’s show is for every listener who is feeling mired down in conflict. On the one hand, you want something, but on the other hand, you’ve been told that to get what you want you must deprive yourself of other things that you want.
I’m Kelly Hollingsworth and I’m glad you’re here because we’re going to talk about false choices– what they are, how they slow us down, and what to do about them.
WHAT IS A FALSE CHOICE?
A false choice is an unnecessary dilemma that’s based on a fallacy– some kind of deceptive, misleading or erroneous notion about how the world works, a false idea about limitations, and nonsense about what is possible in terms of human growth and achievement.
I see false choices in my advisory practice all the time, and whenever one presents itself, it is always an impediment to wealth-creation, so I spend a lot of time helping people dissolve false choices.
Here are some common examples:
- We think we can have a successful business, or we can have good relationships, but we can’t have both.
- We can either enjoy our lives now or save for the future, but we can’t do both.
- We can make more money or we can work with people we enjoy and trust, but we can’t do both.
- We can have fun and free time, or we can create wealth, but we can’t do both.
- We can eat the foods we want or have the body we want, but not both.
There is an obvious theme in false choices. Whenever you’re telling yourself that you must choose between two seemingly conflicting objectives, but you “can’t do both,” chances are very good that you are trapped in the jaws of a false choice because rarely does the world work that way. We do not live in a binary universe. Our lives and our businesses and our bodies don’t have on/off toggle switches attached. We live in color, not black and white. There is always a spectrum.
So if you hear yourself saying, or if someone else says to you, you can have this or that, but you can’t have both, your radar should be going off that you are operating under the weight of a false choice. Another thing I’d like you to notice about false choices is that hand-wringing is almost always involved. If you are ever sitting back feeling powerless or maybe even victimized, wanting to achieve two seemingly conflicting objectives but it seems impossible, that’s when you know. 99 times out of 100, you are stuck in a false choice.
Why do false choices matter? Because they destroy wealth. Wealthy people don’t get stuck in false choices and that is why they are wealthy. They simply refuse to think in this fashion. They do not see the world or their businesses or their lives as a series of Hobson’s choices and hand-wringing dilemmas. They view the world as a buffet table, and they can pick and choose all of the things that they love the most.
WHERE DO FALSE CHOICES COME FROM?
False choices are false because they are based on lies. Today we’ll go over two of these lies so you can see if they’re at work in your life. The first is the lie of scarcity and the second is the lie of bottomless desire.
The Lie of Scarcity
The lie of scarcity says that there is only so much to go around. Only so much joy and happiness, only so much pleasure, only so much satisfaction, only so much money, and so if you’re enjoying some right now, get ready for the other shoe to drop because it’s not going to last. And be prepared to never have enough of what you want.
If your brain is doing backflips right now because you think these lies are true, please allow me to very gently suggest that this is the truth you’re living in right now because you’re wearing a lens that makes it seem true. The lie of scarcity feels very true for those of us who are currently living under the weight of it, but that’s only because it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example: If we tell ourselves that there is a limited amount of money in the world, that thought generates unproductive emotions in us such as deprivation and fear. When we feel deprived and afraid, that’s when we do things that make money seem scarce. We don’t ask for the raise. We work for free or less than we should. We don’t go out and get new customers. And all of this creates the result in our lives that money is in fact scarce. It’s not the truth, but we make it true in our own lives through our feelings and actions that we take when we think the thoughts that money is scarce.
Money is a bugaboo for a lot of people, so now let’s look at scarcity mindset in terms of something else we all value, and that’s positive emotion. If we tell ourselves that things like joy and love and pleasure are scarce, what does that do for us? It makes us feel disappointed and sad and frustrated. The thought that joy and love and pleasure are limited is a direct cause of us experiencing limited amounts of joy and love and pleasure.
Whatever we’re not thinking there’s enough of, whether it’s money or good-feeling emotions or anything else, false choices perpetuate in large part because we prove them to ourselves through our actions and results.
The Lie of Bottomless Desire
False choices, particularly those around overeating and overspending, also arise from false ideas about desire. False choices in these areas assume that not only are resources scarce, our desire for them is endless. No matter what we have, we will always want more.
This manifests itself in a couple of wealth-killing ways. Some of us say, “why bother? I’m never going to be satisfied.” Others use the lie of bottomless desire to explain why we’ll always be in debt, overweight, or never able to retire, no matter what we earn.
At its core, the lie of bottomless desire assumes that our desire just happens to us. We have no control over what we desire or how much we desire.
From this lie, budgets and diets are born. Consider weight loss. It’s a multi-billion-dollar industry that is wholly ineffective because it’s based on a single faulty premise: if you allow yourself to eat everything you want, you will weigh more than you want. You’re out of control, so you need us to tell you what foods are allowed, and how much of them, or your body is going to get REALLY out of control. The false choice we’ve swallowed hook, line, and sinker here is that you can consume the food that you want, or you can have the body you want, but you cannot have both.
As entrepreneurs, this idea is reprehensible to us. We want what we want, and as far as money is concerned, we believe we can get it. So the message with food, that you can have this or that but not both, is something we are loathed to accept. And it’s a horrible message because it’s a major cause of over-eating.
Who is told what to eat and when to eat it? Children. Generally very young children. What do we know about every child? God willing, they become teenagers, and that’s when the rebellion starts. In food terms, we call this bounce-back binging, and it creates an endless cycle of weight loss and weight gain in many of us. This is especially true for entrepreneurs because we hate being bossed around. That’s why we’re entrepreneurs. So for us, the rebellion starts earlier and it’s more forceful..
And then what happens? The impact of acquiescing our adulthood around food to an “expert” who can’t possibly know what’s best for us goes way beyond a cycle of dieting and binging. Our brains are not compartmentalized. We cannot think of ourselves as children in any area of our lives and expect to earn grown-up money.
Yet this idea that highly-functioning adults can’t be trusted around food persists, even in places that pretend to know better. I’m certified in a school of coaching called causal coaching. The premise of this type of coaching is to teach people to manage their minds and their emotions so that they can access their own wisdom to achieve the results they want. In obtaining this certification, I was instructed never to tell my clients what to do. They know what’s best. But this school also certified me as a weight-loss coach, and to get that certification I was instructed to tell my clients never to eat certain foods. Popcorn was one of them. This raised eyebrows for me because buttered popcorn is my magic weight-loss food. There’s something about the fiber content mixed with the fat and the salt that stabilizes my blood sugar and my electrolytes and helps me feel terrific even as pounds are melting off of me. This of course isn’t everyone’s magic weight loss food. Some people do great with oatmeal, but it gives me the shakes and makes me want to eat everything in sight. But in any case, there I was during training, seeing the folly of their advice at least as far as I was concerned, as well as the logical inconsistency that clients have their own wisdom that we should help them access except where it comes to food.
When I asked about this logical discrepancy, why we never coach a client’s actions except as far as food and what they can eat is concerned, I was told, “Because it’s weight loss,” with a puzzled look, like, “are you nuts?” As if it’s so obvious that people can’t be trusted to their own eating decisions, to eat what they want and stop when they’ve had enough, that any idea to the contrary defies all logic and common sense and isn’t even worth considering.
But here’s what I see in practice: The excess physical weight that we’re carrying around is never about the food we ate that we really wanted. It is always about the food we ate that we didn’t want at all.
We ate it because we wanted to be polite. We ate it because we were at a business dinner. We ate it because we were told this is the kind of food that we should eat, and when we were finished eating that and found it unsatisfying, then we went ahead and ate the food we really wanted. We ate it because we told ourselves that right after this we must stop eating that food, so even if we don’t want it right now, we’re going to eat it now because the deprivation starts tomorrow.
The truth is that overeating is a learned behavior. If you’ve ever tried to feed an infant more than she wanted to eat, you know that it’s an impossible task. So if you are a listener who struggles with physical pounds, please start paying attention to the number of times you find yourself eating when the food that is on the fork is not what you actually wanted. This is huge for weight loss and it’s a great way for entrepreneurs to approach weight loss. Whenever I’m working with an entrepreneur on weight loss, the first thing we do is look at all the food they’re eating that they don’t really want. Often just by refusing to ingest this food, they solve their weight problem and they also learn valuable lessons about profitability, the ability to say no to things that just don’t make sense being one of them.
This is also true about over-anything. None of us were born with bottomless pits of desire lurking inside of us. Have you ever been at a two-year-old’s birthday party, and the parents are trying to get the child to open multiple birthday presents but she’s fixated on the bow that was on the first package she opened? She is satisfied with less, in fact happier with less, until we teach her to want more, so in my mind overblown desire in any area is a learned response. And anything we can learn, we can unlearn.
How do you do this? Unlearning the lie of bottomless desire starts with recognizing that desire is a choice. It comes from our thoughts like every emotion. So if you’re experiencing bottomless desire for something that’s not serving you, or if you’re operating under the lie of scarcity and that’s affecting you in unproductive ways, please rest assured that you don’t have to live this way. If you examine the thoughts that generate bottomless desire, you can shift the emotions you’re experiencing into a much better-feeling and more productive place.
With summer coming up, now is an especially good time to consider doing this work around food. If you’re someone who’s struggling with bottomless desire, scarcity, and the weight of false choices around food and it’s putting extra weight on your body, let me know if I can help. I’d like to invite you to work one-on-one with me to move beyond those false choices and step into a wealthy relationship with food, which means everything you want, and nothing you don’t. My clients who do this lose weight without deprivation, and everything they learn also helps them move their businesses forward. If you’d like to learn more about this program and decide if it’s a good fit for you, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s set up a time.