What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
There you go. That’s it.
If you ask yourself this question and answer it honestly and realistically, you’ll be amazed what you discover. Too often, people end up staying in miserable situations — jobs or relationships — for years because they are afraid that they will fail if they leave.
As a society, we don’t consider it a case of insanity, but maybe we should. Think about it: Basically, they’re saying that a few months of being broke or lonely is worse than being mildly unhappy forever. It’s a self-imposed prison sentence with invisible bars. When you look at it this way, it should be easy to make a change. That choice should be a no-brainer, right?
Unfortunately, most people don’t look at it this way. Instead of focusing on what could go right by making a change or by focusing on how much less downside there is to making a change, we never even consider what already is going wrong by not going for it.
Let’s change this way of thinking. Today, take a moment to ask yourself, “What would I do if I wasn’t afraid?” and then go out and try it. Sure, you might fail. More often than not, people don’t get it right on the first try. You may even look back and think, “Why didn’t I do this years ago?” The answer to that question is simple: You were afraid, and you let that fear stop you from trying. Some quick tips to consider to help this process are:
- Be open: Be more open to new ideas, alternatives, sharing, understanding and feedback. The more flexible you are, the more quickly you can adapt.
- The wrong action is usually better than no action: Don’t let your uncertainties paralyze you. Use what you have to do something now. If it doesn’t work, then you learned something. If you stand around waiting for the perfect conditions, you learn nothing.
- Develop a comfort with failure: No, that doesn’t mean accepting failure or enjoying losing. It means that you need to learn than failure is part of success. Without trying and failing, you’ll never learn what you need to succeed (unless you get lucky and get everything 100 percent right on the first try). One of my favorite phrases is, “If you aren’t making mistakes you aren’t trying hard enough.”
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