Every outcome of choice has equal potentials to succeed or fail- but if you choose to anchor your mindset in the fear and risk of failure before you take action, guess what? This will ensure you never take action at all, or, if you do, you doom yourself to fail anyway, based on your negative expectation injected in every thought!
It helps if we accept that fear and risk is simply a certainty that accompanies Life. Some risks have become so familiar to us, that they no longer seem like a risk anymore and we harbour a false sense of safety in undertaking those tasks. Think of driving a car for instance- once you have your licence and months or years of experience, do you start worrying every time you think about going for a drive? Do you begin running through all the pros or cons or all the potential mishaps that could occur whilst driving, every single time you grab your keys and walk out to start your car?
Familiarity and past experience, certainly helps us to strengthen our beliefs in our own capability and steadily builds our confidence. But how many people have you seen come unstuck and had an accident, simply because they have become over-confident in their abilities and have completely forgotten about the real risk that still exists? That is because there are ALWAYS factors outside our control- in a car for instance you cannot control what another driver does, the mistakes they might make or the adverse road conditions- but you can choose to be precautionary, particularly observant and responsive.
So it is with other parts of our life. We often resist making a change we might need, simply because we consider our fear and risk is too great- but really it is more a case of not feeling confident to succeed in unfamiliar territory. Let’s take changing your career as an example. You may have developed a career path that you would now consider yourself to be experienced in, but you no longer enjoy your work. It is impacting on your normally positive state of mind- perhaps it demands far too much of your time and you want to devote more of yourself into your family. You know deep inside that you really need a change and wish to explore other career alternatives, but there are two main things which will keep you stuck where you are….
1/ Doubts in your own self-belief. The ‘What if’ I don’t succeed in a new job…or don’t know enough about small business to try self-employment? Perhaps I am not flexible enough or smart enough to retrain?
2/ Fears emphasised by others. Other people in your life will often impose their own limited beliefs and perspectives upon you. These are all their OWN fears, but if you take them onboard, they become YOUR fears too and can quickly undermine your positivity. They also may have other subconscious motives, such as not wanting life to change in any way and maybe worried YOU will change and become different to the person they have known.
Other people have different life agenda’s and ‘needs’ seeking to be satisfied. But likewise, we all do not hold the same fears, which means sometimes other people can provide valued reassurance and encouragement, because they see beyond our fear(that does not exist for them) and can see the possibilities that you can’t.
While we remain focused on that which we fear, we will not see a lot of positive possibilities that exist also. The most beneficial attitude which serves us most productively, is to simply accept that fear and risk exists in every life challenge. Get comfortable and accepting of this belief. Then consider that this belief is only one side of the coin. Flip the coin over and examine the growth and positive outcomes that could equally come from the opportunity or decision you are trying to make. This evens the stakes somewhat! Just as for learning to drive, if we focused only on the risk of getting in a car and the potential for accidents we have when we are ‘learner’ drivers and even later when we are experienced…we would never find the courage! But the reality is that we perceive greater benefits than the risks – even though you could really not have a greater risk than physical injury or fatality from a car accident! Strange huh?
To successfully embrace change and challenge willingly, with all the related fear and risk that come along with them, is ultimately dependent on how compelling a case we make in our own mind to positively motivate us to do it! If we have solid reasons for our ‘Why’, then we are capable of rising to any challenge, overcoming problems along the way, picking ourselves up again after we may have experienced a setback or temporary failure. I say ‘temporary’ because that is all a failure can ever be if you don’t let it alter your intentions and continue moving forward with a new approach.
Our greatest fear and risk in life should be- to do NOTHING… to never take a voluntary risk- because without challenge, we do not grow or develop our characters and ability, we remain safe and the same forevermore. Our self confidence only remains whilst we are doing something familiar- as soon as we step outside of that ‘bubble’, we can’t cope. So our confidence does not grow ‘organically’ from new experience, it stagnates and becomes stunted, which creates more fearful attitudes if things don’t remain the same. That is why some people find it almost impossible to cope when a sudden change occurs in their life which was not of their own making- such as loss of their job, or a breakdown in their relationship.
Just like maintaining physical fitness, it has been said time and time again, we must ‘use it or lose it!’ You could say the same goes for our ‘CHANGE muscles’- the less we use them, the weaker they become and the harder we find it to be adaptive to new circumstance and make the adjustments needed to make the most from any situation we find ourselves in life.
Living our lives in pursuit of total certainty, absent of any level of fear and risk, will leave us feeling unfulfilled, bored and less happy. Sometimes you really DO need to feel the fear and do it anyway!