Blog Post # 22 – Anti-Me

Super Bowl champion coach Bill Cowher once gave an interview to Sports Illustrated before the start of the football season.

The article included a photo of his face split down the middle, from top to bottom. Half a profile on each side.

In the interview, Cowher discussed how when he wakes up in the morning, he thinks about his day, his goals, what he wants to accomplish, etc. He would brainstorm on the many ways he could improve the Pittsburgh Steelers’ chances of returning to a Super Bowl.

Thinking about goals and tasks for the day are not particularly unusual activities.

But what struck me most in the interview is that Cowher would also envision each morning the “anti” Bill Cowher. A part of himself that did not want him to succeed, did not want to see the team thrive and was putting stumbling blocks in the path of the real Bill Cowher.

Cowher spent time every day dwelling on the parts of himself that wished to see him fail.

He did this so that he could turn the tables on “anti” Bill Cowher and outsmart, outwit and outperform his internal enemy.

This may sound a bit esoteric and woo-woo.

But I think we all have an anti-me. An anti-Jim.

Anti-Jim wants to see me fail. Wants to distract me with frivolous endeavors. Lull me into inaction with thoughts like “we are doing fine, no need to push” or “that can wait until tomorrow” or “let’s try this new latest life hack to solve all our problems with zero effort on our part.”

Anti-Jim works when I am asleep. Anti-Jim drops small and (sometimes) large hurdles in my way.

I envision Anti-Jim like a villain on the Superfriends or an enemy in the videogame of my life.

Sometimes I laugh at Anti-Jim – “oh, there’s Anti-Jim screwing with me again.”

Other times, Anti-Jim kicks my butt.

Having the awareness that Anti-Jim is out there, or more accurately, in there, at least lets me acknowledge the power of internal sabotage and positions me to keep Anti-Jim in his place one day at a time.