The Death Spiral of Anti-Achievement

Don CoteBy Don Cote

Las Vegas Informer

Suppose a friend called you and said, “Let’s meet for lunch tomorrow.” You are available so, you agreed on a time and a place to meet.

At the designated time you arrive at the agreed upon location. You wait, and wait but he’s a no show.

Concerned about his welfare, you call and say, “Are you all right?”

His response is, “I’m fine, something came up.  How about we meet tomorrow, same time, same place”?  You agree.

The next day you arrive and it’s the same scenario. This time, you’re not as concerned about his welfare as you are about his ability to keep his commitments.

Again you call and again he says, “Ya, something came up, how about tomorrow”? Giving him the benefit of the doubt, you once again agree.  But again, he’s a no show.

How many times would this need to happen before you lost complete faith in this person?

How many instances, of not keeping his word, would it take before you lost your trust in him? How many promises would he have to break before you lost your confidence in him? How many times would it take before you would never believe a word he said ever again?

Of the hundreds of people I’ve surveyed, the answer was usually between two and three times.

Strangely, the same people admitted they routinely broke promises to themselves sometimes daily and often multiple times in a day.

I too was guilty of this until I began to understand the devastating effects it was having on my own psyche.

It is easy to understand how we can lose confidence in someone else when they make promises to us and they don’t keep them.

It is remarkably transparent to us the crushing affect it has on our self-confidence when we break promises to ourselves.

Consider this, every time you break a promise to yourself (big or small) your self-esteem goes down, your self-worth goes down, your self-image goes down, your self-respect goes down and you have less and less confidence that you will follow through on your next commitment to yourself.

Given that humans are creatures of habit, it doesn’t take very long for this behavior to become the norm.

I call this the death spiral of anti-achievement.

With lower and lower self-confidence, we naturally avoid taking on projects and challenges without even realizing it. That results in anti-achievement.

If you doubt this, silently, do your own survey.  Quietly observe how few people in your company or in your community are eager to take on more responsibility verses how many are doing just enough to get by.

Contrast that with having 100% certainty about achieving something you desire.

If I ask you to write your name or read this article, because you have 100% faith in your ability to do these things, you would simply execute the steps and it would be done.

I contend the same would be true for any goal you haven’t reached yet.  If you had 100% belief in yourself, it would be done or you would simply be executing the steps.

All that is ever in the way of reaching our goals is a lack of self-confidence.

Now, you might argue that you have legitimate reasons for not feeling 100% assured of success. I submit to you, if you HAD 100% conviction you would have the surety to overcome whatever you see as legitimate obstacles.

Babies all have 100% confidence, that’s why they ALL learn to walk.  They may fail a thousand times but the concepts of giving up or not succeeding, do not exist in their consciousness.

So, how do you get your self-confidence back?

Simple, reverse the process of how you lost it.

Begin by make a list of promises that you KNOW you can keep everyday, I call these “Daily Commitments” and check them off as you go.

Be sure to allow yourself to bask in the glory of having made and kept each of them.

Here’s are a few examples:

____ I will wake up at 6:00 a.m.

____ I will shower and dress for the day

____ I will have a healthy breakfast

____ I will drive to the office

____ I will meet with my boss from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Remember, if “NOT” keeping your promises decreases your self-confidence, making and keeping promises to yourself will increase your self-confidence.

If you want to strengthen a muscle, you challenge it by lifting heavier and heavier weights over and over.

If you want to strengthen your self-confidence you challenge yourself by making and keeping bigger and bigger promises to yourself over and over.

In both cases you will increase your capacity. Soon you will be getting things done you never dreamed possible.

BONUS: When every promise on your “Daily Commitment” list plays an integral part in your Life Plan (A Life Plan is a blueprint for building the life of your dreams) you are living “On Purpose”.  The feeling you get from living this way is indescribably delicious.

For 16 years, I have not only been using this system to increase my self-confidence, increase my capacity and reach all of my goals, I have shared it with hundreds of people across the country that have used it to live the life of their dreams.

As always please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or visit my website for more information.

Don Cote

Don is the Founder & CEO of The Institute for Self Improvement, a dynamic international public speaker as well as a powerful business and personal coach.  He is a member of the National Speakers Association, International Federation for Professional Speakers and American Society of Training and Development. He is also the creator of The LifeWorks by Design Life Mastery System, Up 2 Something…Big MasterMind Collaborative and The MasterMind Leadership Mentoring Program. For more information visit:

2 Responses to The Death Spiral of Anti-Achievement

  1. Great Article, We have all had that experience on either side of making or breaking a promise we have made

Leave a Reply

Join the Informer mailing list

Check your email and confirm the subscription