I recently coined a concept called Vampire Thinking. Vampire Thinking is the compulsion we all have to suck the juice right out of our possibilities and opportunities. Instead of acting on a good idea, we excel at finding a slew of reasons we should kill it as soon a possible and move on to continuing our "safe" existence. I'm sure you can relate to this idea because you engage in vampire thinking more frequently than you know. How often do you talk yourself right out of what you really want in order that you may choose the safe option? And your reasons? Silly and ridiculous?
Like all successful vampires, vampire thinking has a lot of tricks up its' sleeve for sucking out life, which most people never notice. These tricks, however, are the true disguises worn by vampire thinking and they are important to recognize if we want to fend them off. So we're going to take the masks off the vampire tricksters and see what they are really up to.
Can't 'Cause I'm Not Sure
"Well, I would do it if I could be sure it was the right thing or I could be sure it would work". We can hardly be sure we will take our next breath, let alone do things guaranteed to succeed. Being sure is just a smoke screen called: "I would rather hide from what I am capable of". We know there are no guarantees. We think we're being smart about our choices, when what we are really doing is shrinking from our responsibilities and hiding from our true gifts and talents. We're unwilling to take risks. We like things that we feel we have control over and that are predictable. We have bought into the lie that says we are safer that way.
The question begging to be asked is: "How can we be safer when shrinking and shirking means we have less of everything"?
Striving to Always Be Right
Many of us find it very important to engage in "I'm right and you're wrong" thinking. There's something about being right that feeds our ego and our need to compete in the pecking order around us. BUT, this is a perfect example of a vampire trickster at work because being right robs us of the opportunity to learn and grow. Being right actually restricts our ability to develop naturally because all of our energy and our focus goes into being right. We don't ask questions because we may be wrong, and we don't allow ourselves to risk making mistakes. All of our creative thinking is spent on propping ourselves up to ensure our being right prevails at all costs and at all times.
Have you ever noticed that the most successful among us have also failed more times than they have succeeded?
Looking Good at All Costs
This is a very popular trickster move that can quickly turn into a habit. Its basic vampire thinking premise is to always do whatever we must do to not look bad. If we have to lie, cheat, steal (even on a small scale) we will do what it takes to look good. Of course many unethical, unlawful, and harmful things are done in the name of looking good. There are also many less obvious and smaller scale actions that we take regularly such as telling little white lies, exaggerations, misrepresentations, gossip, and putting down or competing with others all to make ourselves look better. What we gain from these behaviors is the illusion that we look good to others. What we sacrifice is honesty with ourselves and others. This behavior is like winding poison strings throughout our life and damaging our potential.
Can't make a Decision
"I wish I could decide but I just can't so I guess I won't do it". In this trickster thinking, the person tries to take themselves off the hook by backing down as the safe thing to do since they can't decide. If you look at this reasoning you can easily see the flaws and the smoke and mirrors in this way of thinking. Of course you can decide - unless you are too busy coming up with all of the reasons why you shouldn't do it! This is classic vampire thinking.
Justifying my Actions and Rationalizing my Behavior
These are the more obvious tricksters we are used to doing business with. Justifying and rationalizing are the excuses and so called "causes" we use every day in the place of growth steps and taking the right actions: "I was sick", "I was depressed", "I was tired", "I was too busy", "It was too late", "It wasn't my fault", " I had an emergency", " I tried", " I didn't write it down", "They don't care any way", "It makes me uncomfortable", and on and on and on. Those excuses continually rob us of opportunities to do good things in the world for ourselves and others. And because they are so commonly used and accepted, we have lost our awareness of them and the thieves they are.
Is there a day that goes by when you don't justify your behavior or actions either to yourself or to others? I doubt it. Do yourself a favor and count the times you rationalize in a day and the times you rationalize in a week and see what number you come up with. Then look at that number of cowardly acts and "copping out" choices as the number of good acts you were not able to do for yourself and others as a result.
Ask yourself on these questions:
I wish you luck as you uncover and expose the vampire thinking tricksters that are sucking the fun and satisfaction from your life every day. I wish you the courage to face the vampire thinking tricksters squarely and bravely and put them in their place! All the richness, variety and spoils of the life you've been avoiding await your courage and determination. You can let go of these sucking pests and live boldly by YOUR rules - not theirs!
1) One a scale of 1 - 10, how important is this to me?
2) How long am I willing to continue to sacrifice what is most important to me?
3) Who would I be if I stopped making excuses for myself?
4) What would I have if I ceased rationalizing and justifying my behavior?
5) What am I willing to do RIGHT NOW to stop?