As promised, today we are delving deeper into number 3 from the “Do more things. Cross more lines.” posting.
So, I will admit, some things probably need to be done well the first time. Brain surgery, for instance. Or parachuting. You just don’t wanna make a wrong move there. But for so many things in life, we keep ourselves away from amazing experiences just because we believe that we may not do it “right” the first time.
Often, it’s our brain’s defense mechanism. It senses danger in unchartered waters and it’s trying to protect us. The thing is, your rational mind has the ability to override this fear. Override, not eliminate. You can change the dynamic so that the fear is still sitting there but it doesn’t have the same power over you. Just begin talking to it, like it has been talking to you. Make it a two-way conversation. Here’s how:
1. Answer the questions—No one likes to be ignored. This includes the part of you that is afraid. It wants attention. It needs answers. “What if this doesn’t turn out the way we want? What will we do if we lose? What if we lose a friend or partner over this? Is this really worth the effort and time? What if we are not good at it? What if they laugh at us?” In your quiet time, take the time to write down the questions your fear is asking and answer them, very clearly. This serves two purposes. It reminds you that this is a worried friend, not a formidable enemy. It also teaches you to follow these worries to a logical end, experiencing them fully, and realizing that you can handle whatever issues arise.
2. Ask your own questions—It’s only fair right? As long as you are imagining things that haven’t happened, imagine some good things. Or funny things. Or crazy things. Just create space for new possibilities. Ask yourself, “What if this is the most amazing experience of my life? What if they love it and want me to come back next week? What if I win and this match/game/fight propels me to the next level?” Answer these questions for yourself as well. You see, we become good at what we practice. The more you practice creating these positive scenarios, the better you will become.
Now that you’ve learned how to sit courageously with that fear, let’s address one of its most pressing questions: what if I don’t do it well the first time?
This is where the “ready, fire, aim” technique applies. Your action must be decisive, but it need not be perfect. All of the basics in life—walking, eating, talking, writing, reading, jumping rope, etc.— you learned by trial and error. You took a step, learned from your imperfect step, made adjustments, and gradually improved. Imperfection is a necessary step to achieving perfection. The joy lies in the growth process, and in seeing that powerful self within you develop and flourish.
So set your expectations low. Your first goal is just to overcome the inertia. Then you can step back, assess your performance and make any necessary adjustments. The next time, your goal is to do better than you did the first time. After that, it’s safe to start setting some realistic goals. This will keep you moving forward.
Ready, fire, aim.
See you next week!