Category Archives: Avoiding the Button-Pusher Trap


Button pushers destract us from living our authentic life
Photo: George Hodan

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. – Steve Jobs

Button pushers abound. They are everywhere. They come in all sorts of different guises:

  • The boss who’s never satisfied and never praises even your best work
  • The acquaintance who always one-upsmanships you (“You’ve got a headache? I’ve got a migraine!”)
  • Gossiping neighbors or coworkers
  • The cable company that takes away programming you and your family are used to, and the only way you can get it back is to buy yet another “package” from them with a bunch of other programming you don’t want
  • In-laws (need I say more)

These button pushers sap our energy by redirecting our energy toward anger and frustration, and in the process they chew up valuable time in the present, we could better use toward our own future achievements.

There’s a lot of advice out there about how to handle button-pushers, including:

  • Don’t take the bait in the first place – ignore them
  • Steer clear of them in the first place
  • Feel sorry for them instead of angry, because obviously they have emotional troubles
  • Count to ten

 All great advice, but easier said than done.

 So, maybe we need to look a little deeper to determine the real reason we so often indulge button pushers, and why it’s so hard not to be suckered into their negativity trap.

I have a theory that it stems from a misguided and subliminal attempt to put off dealing with feelings within ourselves that maybe we’re not quite worthy of, or capable of, getting on with the business of living our own lives, on our own terms. Somehow, maybe we don’t deserve to achieve our greatest desires.

We are like the would-be artist, standing before the easel, afraid to touch brush to blank canvas.

In other words, button-pushers serve to distract us from our own demons, and provide us with excuse after excuse to procrastinate our life away.

Because button pushers can often serve as handy-dandy distractions for what’s really bothering us about ourselves, attending to the problems generated by button pushers, we subconsciously buy for ourselves time away from the real work of our life – getting our own emotional house in order, arriving at what we truly want out of life, setting our own goals, and letting nothing and no one derail our plans.

However, the moment you claim the right to the ownership of your own life, free and clear of all guilt or doubt, the moment you follow both your gut and heart, you begin to write your own script, free of the results of other people’s thinking, eschewing any ‘ghost writers’ in the process.

In this new context, button-pushers begin to diminish in their importance. They become pin dots in the night sky, barely visible next to your great big fiery sun!

If you find yourself ‘going off’ frequently at the hands of button pushers, this may just be the sign you’re looking for that things need to change. If you use button pushers as ‘litmus paper’ in this way, then they have served you well, at last!

Please share your thoughts on this subject in the Comments section below.

In the meantime,

Bestest to all,Cynthia Dalton signature