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  • Payoffs

    Posted on by Heather

    In her book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway Susan Jeffers discusses the concept of payoffs. Payoffs “explain why we chose to perpetuate what we don’t want in our lives”.

    Let’s say, you are unhappy with your physical appearance and you know that you could choose to alter your diet and excercise regime in order to improve your physical body. Jeffers point is that there are payoffs for you not to go ahead and make the necessary changes. The key to making a break through is first to identify what those payoffs are.

    The obvious payoff that comes to my mind whenever a change in behaviour is entertained is that it requires doing something that is not all together comfortable. We become acustomed to doing what we know how to do. Although it seems obvious a payoff for staying the same is simply the ease and simplictiy of not having to change. In the case of the above example; you already know how to order a pizza, you know where to order it from, you know what kind of toppings you like, you know what kind of dips you want to accompany it, you know what your payment options are and you know if you eat the whole thing you’ll be full. Although this may seem like an obvious example, not having to do something unfarmiliar is a payoff for staying the same.

    In the book, Jeffers gives an example of Tanya, a woman who is always sick. Now, you might ask yourself what could possibly be a payoff for always being the victim of a cold or flu? As Jeffers points out Tanya’s constant illness got her a lot of attention. In addition, it provided her with an excellent excuse for not putting herself out there or taking any risks in life.

    With the New Year upon us and the inevitable influx of New Year’s resolutions I encourage you to make this your first step:

    Acknowlege and write down the payoffs that are keeping you stuck. By staying the same, what don’t you have to do? What don’t you have to face? Be as honest with yourself as possible. As Jeffers points out “when you are aware of what you are doing, you will automatically discard a lot of your robotlike behaviour. You will lead yourself instead of being led.”

    0 Responses to Payoffs

    1. I think there are many factors that lead to the “Payoffs” that Jeffers talks about. Some of them include:
      – Taking the easiest path
      – The desire to always be immersed in pleasure
      – A lack of self-responsibility (aka “I’ll do whatever I want to my car/body/soul and somebody else will fix it”)
      – A seemingly growing epidemic of A.D.D.

    2. Hi Heather,
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts – love your blog!

      Another thing that has kept me stuck has been my own hidden messages or assumptions about who I am, how the world “works”, what is “right” and “wrong”, etc…


      Hard things to become aware of, but so valuable to sit and think about. As you point out, awareness of what is going on is half the battle.

      I believe that we EXPERIENCE life, noticing sometimes but not understanding. At some point, we RECOGNIZE what’s happening, see a hidden message, or recognize a pattern. And once we recognize something that we don’t like, then we can consciously CREATE our thoughts and life the way we want to be instead.

      On a side note – Cris Rowan is an occupational therapist working in schools who has also spoken about the increase in ADD and ADHD – check out http://www.zonein.ca

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