Stop Licking the Fire!

Why do we continue negative behaviors?  Often, we know they are bad.  We know there is a better course.

We do them despite the fact that we know that they take us in the wrong direction.  Is it lazyness?

We know the right action, but we are too tired to do the right thing?

Sometimes the behavior is so egrarious yet we continue it anyway.

I call this “licking the fire.”  You know it is wrong but you keep doing it anyway.  This is self-inflicted poor time management and it leads to more stress and life friction.

Stop licking the fire!

I had a small dog that loved our indoor fireplace.  It was a gas fireplace that was controlled by a lightswitch.  Whenever the fireplace was on, you could be assured that the dog would be sitting right in front of it.  In fact, many times she would sit waiting for it to turn on.

This little dog loved the fire.  In fact, she would sit there close enough to cook herself into a little hotdog.  Many a time, I would look over and she would be inches from the fireplace, panting like a fool and loving it!

But, she also had a distrubing behavior that arose from time to time.  As I mentioned, this was a gas fireplace and it had a protective glass pane over the front.  While it was safe, the glass would get very hot.

This silly little dog would walk right up and lick the glass of the fireplace.  Inevitably, she would scorch her tongue.  She would lick the hot glass and immediately shake her head and repeatedly stick her tongue out.

I would yell out, “Hey, silly dog!  Stop licking the fire!”

And guess what.  She would do it again and again.

And the next time, too.

Why?  She knew the fire would be hot and her tongue would get burned.  Yet, she did it again anyway.

Why are some people like the fire licking dog?  You could argue that people are smarter than dogs, but haven’t you seen someone who exhibited this type of behavior?  I bet you have.  They go back for more everytime and yet they know the consequence.

Do you lick the fire?

Are you guilty of licking the fire?  What habits and behaviors do you continue to do even though you know they are self-inflicted life friction?

Some examples:

  • Procrastination – Do you incur extra stress because you regularly leave things to the last minute?
  • Last Minute Packing – Do you wait until the morning of trips to pack?  This always leads to stress and a last minute rush.
  • Late fees – Do you incur late fees and penalties by paying bills and other obligations late?
  • Missed Deadlines – Do you negatively affect your job and business by missing deadlines?
  • Unnecessary Confrontations – Do you start unneeded conflicts with coworkers and colleagues?
  • Wasted Time – Do you surf the web for hours a day?  Do you check email, Twitter, and Facebook 37 times a day?

What do you continue to do even though you know it is counterproductive for you?

8 thoughts on “Stop Licking the Fire!

  1. Most of the ones you listed seem to be methods for procrastination. I’ll surf the Web when I should be doing something productive. Not just for productivity’s own sake, but putting off certain things that I know darn well that I have to do. I’ve puzzled about this before, many times: Why do we put things off? It makes more sense to face an unpleasant task and get it out of the way so we can do those things we want to do.

    Somehow, I think it has the same root cause as “enabling”. My wife’s daughter (came as an accessory to the marriage) is lazy and cannot do things for herself. She called her mother to look something up on the Internet and send her the results. My wife knew my displeasure at her enabling behavior, but did it anyway. Through me, no less!

    Do we like pain? Challenge? What is it? Would you mind passing some of that fire? I need another bit.

  2. Most of the ones you listed seem to be methods for procrastination. I’ll surf the Web when I should be doing something productive. Not just for productivity’s own sake, but putting off certain things that I know darn well that I have to do. I’ve puzzled about this before, many times: Why do we put things off? It makes more sense to face an unpleasant task and get it out of the way so we can do those things we want to do.

    Somehow, I think it has the same root cause as “enabling”. My wife’s daughter (came as an accessory to the marriage) is lazy and cannot do things for herself. She called her mother to look something up on the Internet and send her the results. My wife knew my displeasure at her enabling behavior, but did it anyway. Through me, no less!

    Do we like pain? Challenge? What is it? Would you mind passing some of that fire? I need another bit.

  3. I used to be really really bad at these types of behaviours. I used to get late fees, overdraft fees, parking tickets and speeding fines. I was an unorganised mess.

    I used to drink too much, smoke too much, not go to college (when I was supposed to) and try to get away with doing nothing.

    Luckily for me I have definitely got out of those old habits.

    I tend to procrastinate a lot though still. The internet is a BIG time waster. It can be a massive time saver, but in the wrong mindset, it’s like a time “black hole”.

  4. I used to be really really bad at these types of behaviours. I used to get late fees, overdraft fees, parking tickets and speeding fines. I was an unorganised mess.

    I used to drink too much, smoke too much, not go to college (when I was supposed to) and try to get away with doing nothing.

    Luckily for me I have definitely got out of those old habits.

    I tend to procrastinate a lot though still. The internet is a BIG time waster. It can be a massive time saver, but in the wrong mindset, it’s like a time “black hole”.

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