There’s a relatively famous article (it’s about playing Magic, but the lesson it teaches applies to all pursuits) I have read called “Stuck in the Middle with Bruce.”  In it, the author details as aspect of the subconscious that he names after a friend of his, Bruce.  Bruce is the part of us that needs to fail.  What? you think to yourself.  I don’t need to fail!

Or do you?

I wanted to take the lens of Bruce to my own thoughts and see if I can uncover areas in which my subconscious is influencing/sabotaging me in this way.  I guess I mean the higher Ideal Dave, who has his dreams and goals, and though Ideal Dave believes himself above the influence of Bruce, I know deep down he is not.

  • In pursuing relationships with women, I often find myself attracted to ladies who are taken.  I know I have heard that’s because I see they are valued by other men (because they are in a relationship), but maybe it’s because I’m “safe” from the risk of failure this way?  (Which, of course, is the failure Bruce desired anyway.)
  • I have often complained about my job being annoying/terrible/frustrating (jobs prior to this one! :)).  But if the common thread is me, and if maybe-just-maybe I am subtly putting myself into situations where I am not challenged, and therefore I’m again “safe…” well, maybe that satisfies my subconscious desire to fail (to exceed).
  • I am upset with my current state of fitness.  I worked out today, and I felt awful because I am so out of shape.  “I don’t have time to exercise,” I always tell myself, “there’s more important stuff to do!”  Those excuses, though – maybe that isn’t really what’s going on.  When I am out of shape, I am less likely to go out and meet new people (because I am less comfortable with myself).  So maybe my Bruce is protecting me from meeting new people, so I can stay comfortable with where I am (and not have too much shake-up).

It is hard to admit I am subconsciously sabotaging myself; even now, as I write, my logical Ideal Dave is screaming “I am in control of my choices!”  It’s like trying to catch a reflection out of the corner of your eye, and analyze subtle differences that might indicate there’s something wrong.