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The Downward Spiral of False Assumption

The Downward Spiral of False Assumption

Mike Doane

Resisting the temptation to make excuses against long-term success

Why is it difficult to maintain good habits while bad habits keep showing up? I think it’s because of something called the downward spiral of false assumption. Opposite of non-zero, this self-destructive cycle hacks our brains into believing the lies we tell ourselves.

Here’s a good, relatable example. You may have the true belief that failing to floss one day won’t necessarily result in a cavity. The problem is that this failure of action may set the precedent for making future excuses against flossing.

This precedent could become a powerful, self-perpetuating force. It sets a standard to continue making excuses against performing a beneficial action. This standard may become a habit in itself. This new negative habit completely replaces all the hard work you put in to build the positive one.

Instead, it might be healthier to make decisions based on our past, present, and future selves. It’s important to remember the guilt we felt last time we didn’t floss. It’s important to realized that failing to floss today could result in failing to floss tomorrow. Holding ourselves to the high expectations we set for ourselves is crucial for long-term success.