3 Reasons The “It’S Hard To Stop Smoking” Myth Is Perpetuated
“We all know how hard it is to quit smoking,” declared the TV host.
(I thought that an odd statement from a man who I’d heard profess that he’d never smoked himself.) He then introduced his guests, three recent quitters who’d appeared on the early morning show five months prior and, in front of their families an millions of viewers in TV land, dramatically tossed their cigarette packs in the trash. Now they were back to speak of their progress.
Much to the disappointment of the skeptics out there all three were able to confidently label themselves “non-smokers.” One had quit with the help of the nicotine patch nuts e juice, another used Chantix and the third received acupuncture therapy. Then came the bombshell burst that, despite its potential percussive power, went unheard.
“On a scale of 1 to 10,” the host asked, “how would each of you rate the difficulty of quitting?”
“4,” said acupuncture.
“Yeah, that would be about right,” proclaimed the patch. “I’d say 4.”
“1; it really was no big deal,” stated Chantix.
Then the show’s chief medical expert was asked to comment. She congratulated them for their successes but cautioned that they would have to be wary because of the high incidence of relapse during the first year; thanks for the vote of confidence, Dr. S. Within minutes she had a scathing email from me demanding that she stop perpetuating “the myth.” Three guest had declared in front of millions of people that quitting smoking was no big deal!
The myth states that quitting smoking is akin to living the rest of your life with a pain similar to giving birth to a rosebush. Following are three reasons why I believe this lie is perpetuated.
#3. It gives the unsuccessful quitter an excuse when he fails. “We all know how hard it is to quit smoking,” he proclaims. “Of course we all know,” agree his disappointed supporters.
#2. In the unlikely event the quitter succeeds it gives her unparalleled bragging rights. “Hey! Did you hear that I quit smoking?”
“Holy cow, that’s unbelievable! I climbed Everest last Spring wearing Speedos and wooden shoes and thought that was tough. But you quit smoking? That’s unbelievable; we all know how hard it is to quit smoking!”
And finally, the #1 reason that the myth is perpetuated is…
Because we tend to get what we expect in life. If we believe the car salesman will cheat us we look for evidence to support that belief. If we believe a certain ethnic groups will act in a certain way we will find reasons to be right. If we believe that performing a specific task, like quitting smoking, will be difficult, our brain will demand that belief be validated.
I came to believe that quitting would be easy–and I got just what I expected.
(If you’d like more information on the power of beliefs in creating our reality, please visit this page on my website, “A Personal Growth Journey”.)