215: Does ‘The Incumbency Fallacy’ lie about what is possible for you?

215: Does ‘The Incumbency Fallacy’ lie about what is possible for you?

Welcome to this episode of our short daily podcast - A Slice of Therapy.

Subscribe on : Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | YouTube | RSS Feed

.

With Alun Parry https://liverpoolpsychotherapy.co.uk

Autogenerated Transcript

00:01
you’re listening to a slice of therapy
00:03
with me alun parry
00:06
[Music]
00:11
in today’s episode i want to talk to you
00:12
about the incumbency
00:14
fallacy that’s incumbency
00:17
so an incumbent just means the person
00:21
who is currently
00:22
holding office so the current president
00:25
of the united states
00:27
is the incumbent president
00:30
and i mentioned that example because
00:32
back in 1951
00:34
the usa actually passed the
00:37
20th the 22nd amendment to the us
00:40
constitution
00:42
and that amendment actually limited
00:46
presidents to save in no more than two
00:48
terms
00:49
so the most that a president can serve
00:52
is
00:52
two terms of office now the reason why
00:56
this happened
00:57
is because franklin d roosevelt
01:01
had won not one not two not three but
01:03
four
01:04
elections as president and so
01:08
the lawmakers started to get worried
01:11
about the extra power that might be
01:14
being held
01:16
by the incumbent simply because they
01:19
were the incumbent
01:20
that there might be a special power that
01:22
is given
01:24
simply to the way that things are
01:28
and it’s an interesting thing because
01:30
this is true of
01:32
ideas and situations too when an idea
01:35
and a situation is in place
01:39
we can think that it’s not changeable we
01:41
can assume
01:42
that that’s the way it is and because
01:46
that’s the way it is
01:47
that must be the way it’s always been
01:49
and so therefore
01:51
that must be the way it’s always going
01:53
to be as well
01:55
it’s that special power that we give
01:58
simply to the way that things are
02:01
and we assume that because they’re that
02:03
way now they must have always been
02:06
and that’s the only way they can be
02:09
and so that incumbency that situation or
02:13
idea that’s already in place can
02:14
actually limit us
02:16
in all sorts of ways
02:20
you know for many many many years for
02:23
all of human history in fact
02:27
it was believed that it was impossible
02:29
for the human species
02:32
to run a mile any faster than four
02:35
minutes
02:36
nobody could run a four minute mile
02:40
in fact some people actually believe
02:42
that if we tried we’d
02:44
do all sorts of damage to ourselves we’d
02:46
kind of implode
02:49
and it was a fair assumption because for
02:51
all of human history as far as we knew
02:53
nobody
02:54
had actually broken that barrier of the
02:56
four minute mile
02:59
nobody and then
03:02
in 1954 roger bannister
03:08
broke the four minute mile
03:11
this thing that was absolutely
03:13
impossible
03:14
had now been broken now for all the time
03:18
nobody had done that because
03:20
everybody believed it was impossible
03:21
then he did it
03:23
and the weird thing is that in the year
03:26
that followed
03:28
like within a year of him doing this
03:31
impossible thing
03:33
37 other people had done it too the year
03:36
later
03:37
300 more suddenly
03:41
this thing that was impossible
03:45
was now more than possible and it seemed
03:47
everyone was doing it
03:50
and it’s interesting because
03:55
once we have this sense
03:58
of the way things are
04:01
it can limit our sense of the possible
04:04
so if i’ve never made money then i can
04:06
believe that
04:08
i can’t make money and i won’t if i’ve
04:10
never found love then that must mean
04:12
that i won’t find love
04:14
if i’ve never won anything then i won’t
04:16
win anything
04:17
or even we might say well i’d love to do
04:20
that
04:22
but it’s just not possible the thing is
04:25
though
04:26
is it true and there’s a couple of
04:29
questions that we can
04:30
start poking whether that’s true and the
04:33
first one else is
04:34
the first one is has anyone else ever
04:37
managed it
04:39
because if you find someone has already
04:41
managed
04:42
that thing that you’re saying is not
04:44
possible for you
04:46
then they become your roger bannister
04:49
so just knowing that somebody out there
04:52
has done it
04:54
can be as powerful it was as it was for
04:57
those 337 people
04:59
who suddenly broke the four minute mile
05:02
once roger bannister did
05:04
because it changes our sense of the
05:06
possible and that in itself is a
05:09
powerful thing
05:11
and you know for that matter this thing
05:14
that you say just isn’t possible
05:16
when you look into your own history have
05:19
you ever managed it
05:21
one of the things i like to ask people
05:23
when i work at them is
05:25
tell me about a time
05:28
when you’ve done this thing that you’d
05:30
like to do
05:32
because typically when we go into our
05:34
past this thing this current reality
05:36
that we find ourselves locked
05:38
within that we think oh it’s always been
05:40
this way and it always will be so
05:42
therefore it’s not possible
05:44
strangely enough when we look back
05:48
into our history you find that actually
05:49
we’ve done it before
05:52
now i tell myself that i could never run
05:55
i just
05:56
clearly was not a runner and the reason
05:59
why i told myself that was
06:01
because i wasn’t running and i wasn’t
06:04
finding the motivation
06:06
to run and if i run it might be once
06:09
every now and again and
06:10
i’d stop and yet
06:13
when i looked into my own history
06:17
three years earlier i’d successfully
06:19
trained for
06:20
and run a 5k race
06:24
so if it wasn’t possible for me to run
06:27
how on earth had done it three years
06:29
earlier
06:31
and so even yourself
06:34
you can be your own roger bannister
06:37
because when we’re trapped in an
06:39
incumbent idea
06:41
or an incumbent situation
06:44
simply because it’s like that now we can
06:47
kid ourselves
06:50
that that’s the way it must always have
06:52
been
06:54
and that’s the way it always will be
06:57
as well and yet when i checked i found
07:00
out that that wasn’t true at all
07:03
and this is powerful this
07:06
uncovering of this incumbency fallacy
07:09
as i call it this lie the what is in
07:13
place now
07:14
is the way it’s always been is the way
07:16
it can always be
07:18
because when we change our sense of the
07:20
possible
07:21
the possible changes just as it happened
07:26
once roger bannister broke the four
07:28
minute mile
07:29
the possible changes and so reality
07:32
changes too
07:35
and so what we have then once we
07:37
discover this
07:39
role model who has done this before this
07:42
thing that we tell ourselves
07:44
is not possible once we find that in
07:47
fact we are our own roger bannister
07:49
because we notice that we’ve done it
07:50
before
07:52
or even some elements of it
07:55
what that gives us is a new belief and a
07:58
really empowering question
07:59
and the new belief is i could do that
08:04
no longer that this is impossible no
08:06
longer that i’m trapped
08:08
by the current situation and the how
08:10
things are now
08:12
must be how they always are but i could
08:15
do that and the empowering question
08:20
that that gives us is that when we find
08:22
someone else who’s done it we can ask
08:24
well how how did they do it
08:27
and if it’s us even better
08:31
because we can ask ourselves well how
08:33
did i do it before
08:36
when i’m there thinking that i can’t run
08:39
and then i realized that three years
08:40
earlier i did actually train
08:42
and i run a 5k race
08:45
how long did i do that
08:48
because by digging into that with our
08:50
new belief of the possible we can
08:52
actually uncover
08:53
the techniques and the strategies that
08:56
help us
08:56
change the current reality and create a
08:59
brand new one
09:00
or to put another way to change life
09:04
itself so let’s recap
09:08
we saw first of all that the u.s
09:11
constitution was changed
09:14
in order to limit the power of the
09:16
incumbent’s president
09:18
because they believed it had a special
09:20
authority as roosevelt just kept winning
09:23
and winning and winning and winning
09:26
elections
09:27
and we saw too how this was the case
09:31
with ideas and situations as well
09:34
the until roger bannister broke the four
09:38
minute mile
09:39
it was considered humanly impossible
09:42
and then automatically 37 others did it
09:46
within the space of 12 months
09:49
and we looked at this thing that i’ve
09:50
been calling the incumbency fallacy
09:52
the belief that how it is now is like
09:55
some kind of natural law
09:57
and that’s how it’s always been and so
10:00
that’s how it always will be
10:03
and we look to how to find role models
10:05
either out there in the world
10:07
or our past selves
10:12
breaking that incumbency fallacy and
10:14
building a different sense
10:16
of the possible because once we do that
10:19
we can dig into how this supposedly
10:21
impossible thing was achieved
10:24
and build some strategies to do it too
10:28
so if you like this idea then
10:32
let me know what you think of it and of
10:35
course you can work with me one-to-one
10:38
i’m alun parry you can find out more at
10:40
liverpool psychotherapy dot co dot uk
10:43
even if you’re not local because i do
10:44
work online and please share the episode
10:47
with others who might benefit
10:49
who might enjoy the episode and of
10:51
course please subscribe
10:53
to the podcast yourself because it’s
10:54
completely free and it means that you’ll
10:56
never miss an episode again
10:59
so thanks very much for listening and
11:01
i’ll
11:02
be back again tomorrow with another one

For counselling and psychotherapy in Liverpool and online, find out more about The Liverpool Psychotherapy Practice