Breaking the (Negative) Pattern


Years back I read Tony Robbin’s book Awaken the Giant Within, an inspiring self-help book on the attributes of living a happy and prosperous life.  I’ve read similar books over the years, by various authors, and while I usually fall short of adhering to the inherent step-by-step instructions for success, I always mentally file away a few positives for future reference.  Awaken the Giant Within was one such book, pivotal in helping to redefine my aspirations and goals, at a time of uncertainty.

While my career path did not alter dramatically, my mindset did, and to this day, when I find myself regressing, slipping back to the dark side, a tiny voice pipes up and reminds me to break the (negative) pattern.   The concept, one I utilize, is ingrained in my thought processes, and (hopefully) kicks in when life’s challenges begin to overwhelm.

Breaking the pattern is not an original concept, nor is it unique to the arena of life/career management.  Simply put, the ideal refers to changing one’s routine when things go off the rails; a pattern interrupt, embarking upon a different path, embracing a new tactic in order to avoid a personal, relational, or career rut.  Not unlike the adage of ‘taking the road less travelled’, and to a slightly lesser extent, the definition of insanity, often attributed to Albert Einstein; “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”.

Change is the only constant.

We all fall into patterns, good and bad, ones we repeat due to familiarity, frustration, or helplessness.  Negative patterns, those insidious behavioural responses that manifest themselves in times of challenge and stress, are difficult to circumvent, but often predictable.  Recognizing the spirals, before they consume us, is the key to redirecting our energy and moving forward.  Interrupt the flow.


While we are all different, our experiences are not.  How we deal with the curve balls and sliders, sets us apart.  If unchecked, failed relationships for instance, can pave the way for a downward spiral of Tinder trolling, Häagen-Dazs, and all day pajamas.  Writer’s block, if left to fester, evolves into Netflix marathons, Pinterest obsession, and becoming a Blogger.  The list goes on.

I’ve become better at recognizing an oncoming spiral, before life’s curve ball leaves me swinging blind.  While I’m not batting a thousand, my average is improving.  I admit, Walking Dead marathons and ice cream binges occur, but the guilt associated with the aftermath does not go unpunished.  Recognizing and interrupting the cycle before the spiral gains momentum is not easy, but remains the key component in personal success.  A change-up is often the best response.

If things go south, don’t follow.  Break the pattern.  Head elsewhere on paths unknown. See where that gets you.

For anyone interested, a free downloadable copy of ReAwaken the Giant Within (updated by Tony Robbins) is available here.  The original book is also available for free download.

Until next time,

18 thoughts on “Breaking the (Negative) Pattern

  1. I had to change my career at age 54, from High Tech Manufacturing to something most people would automatically reject. A year and half and two promotions later, I’m well respected at work and I feel like I’ve succeeded in making the transition to Customer Service.
    It wasn’t easy and I won’t be getting rich but, it is satisfying to realize what I have accomplished and I work for a great company that treats me well.
    I should have chosen this field years earlier but for negative thoughts. The lesson I learned is: Don’t let other people’s negative perceptions effect your life choices. I have the power to make it a positive for me.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s a great example, and I can imagine how difficult any career change is, especially as we get older. Our neighbour owned his own catering truck for years, but decided to completely change careers at age 50. Four years later he’s happy and doing fine. I respect those with the grit and determination to take such a leap, you’re right, others are often quick to be critical, especially when they see someone taking the risk they never had the guts to try. I contemplated a career change every 5 years for the past 29, but for various reasons, stayed put, while exploring options outside of my 9-5 job. While I have some regrets, I’m still healthy, happy, and looking forward to retiring so I can pursue new ambitions. Thanks for commenting, always appreciated!

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Ah yes the great inspirational reads that give me that great boost to say “I can’t change my life” and I get all pump and excited and then the Hydro bill arrives. HAHA I know you,or any other Ontarian get this #joke. I do enjoy the Tony Robbins of the world, but they never helped me when I had no clue where I wanted to go. Until now that is, and now I don’t need them. I need me to stay here and type and market and work the 18 hr days to be the best me I can be – with the occasional Walking Dead and Ice cream Binge tossed in the mix 🙂 Great writing as always Mike, keep it up!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Theresa. I’m a Conservative both Provincially and Federally, so you can imagine my reaction whey Wynne suddenly decided she may have hiked the hydro rates too much (oh, being responsible for setting highest electrical rates in all of North America might not get me re-elected, hmm better think on that).

      Always a challenge to hold on to a dream, and still get the bills paid. The good think about Robbins is he’s not all about financial success or fame. There’s a takeaway for anyone, if they want it. But then again, there’s so many out there, who can decide on which to adhere to? Thanks again for the kind words and comment Theresa! Remember, no laundry until after 6pm. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That is a very inspiring article. It actually make me rethink the usufulness of those books, I have friends who buy all the books they can find about improving your mental Heath and your life in general, but it never amount to anything.
    Anyway, thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was selective when it came to these types of books, usually only picking the odd one up every few years. Although I’ve taken something positive away from every book I’ve read, only a few left a lasting impact.

      I appreciate the kind words and the comment. Cheers!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I went from having my own office and being a TV producer to moving country, living in a room and working as a waitress. All because I felt my job would not take me anywhere else and I was stuck. I grabbed the bull by the horns and changed it all. I wouldn’t be here now if I didn’t make that step and to be fair I would not change it for the world

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post Mike, I’ve worked hard to break certain patterns this year, it’s been tough but think I’m seeing the benefits now. Always enjoy your posts!


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