Talking Ourselves Out of Adventure
Many of us do it. We think things to death, then wonder why we can’t seem to make any progress. Every choice we make, every idea that crosses our minds has to be looked at from every possible angle (and even a few decidedly unlikely ones) before we make a move. Do we make better decisions because of all the time we spend weighing the pros and cons? Does all this thinking hedge our bets and guarantee we’ll make the best possible choice every time?
Not even close! In fact, all our overthinking may cause us to miss the boat entirely; miss an opportunity which may have catapulted us forward into something really wonderful. But we missed the chance because we were too busy analyzing the thing to death.
There comes a time we need to know when it’s important to review all the facts with microscopic focus, and when to get off the dime and just pick something.
A Time to Think Things Through, and A Time to Trust Your Gut
Sure, if you’re making a major purchase or planning a trip to another country you want to make sure you have all the facts you can gather. But most decisions we face are just as easily made by listening to our gut. By now, we’ve had enough experience with different scenarios to know deep down whether or not one choice or another makes sense for us.
Take job interviews for example. Can you honestly say you haven’t reached the point where you know in the first 5 minutes whether or not you and the company you’re interviewing with will be a good fit? Don’t you have a healthy repertoire of red flags that tell you to get the hell out of there because the person you’re talking to is a perfect example of one of your previous bosses from hell? Can’t your gut be trusted to tell you when something feels right, no explanation needed?
The Entrepreneurial Mindset
I talk to a lot of people these days who are considering starting their own business. Most are still working a full-time job and are less likely to do what I did and quit their job before having a game plan. So they have a safety net if their endeavor doesn’t fly. Yet too often, they argue both sides of the decision with themselves, raising perfectly reasonable arguments for any and all choices they are considering. They spend days, weeks, months even, trying to decide whether they’ll take a chance on themselves. Often, they spend so much time trying to decide they talk themselves out of a perfectly good idea. Or worse, they discover that while they were ruminating, someone else took a chance on a similar idea and made a killing while they were still sitting on the fence.
It all comes down to trust. But not trusting others in this case. We have to learn to trust ourselves. We’re like the car salesman who tries to keep you in his office for hours talking about stupid crap, believing the longer he keeps you there, the more likely he’ll wear you down and convince you to take the deal he offered when you first walked in. In the case of ourselves, the longer we think about something, the more likely it is we’ll find reasons to not do it. We’ll wear down our courage, our sense of adventure, our willingness to take a risk on us. And once the moment has passed, we’ll spend another chunk of time beating ourselves up for failing to make a decision. Either way, we lose.
Taking Our Fears by the Horns
I’m here to tell you, it’s not worth all the sweat and strain. In most cases, we know right from the start whether of not we believe in ourselves enough to risk failing. So why do we put on our Actuary hat every time we need to choose?
In most cases, it’s fear. Fear stops people in their tracks more effectively than brick walls, road blocks, or a firing squad. Human nature prefers the safety of the known. The unknown is scary and hazardous, and full of obstacles we can’t even imagine. It’s also full of opportunities, and wonderful adventures which could open our life up and show us an entirely new world. Yet over and over, we’ll convince ourselves to take the safe road; the road we know; the dull, boring, already-traveled-a-million-times road where nothing changes and frankly, we could die of boredom. “It’s safer here.” Our minds will tell us. “I know how to navigate this place.” The scared child inside of us is scared to death of its own sense of adventure, and stuffs it down like a snot-encrusted handkerchief.
Meanwhile, the new person, the change of scenery, the job of our dreams passes us by because we’re too busy proving to ourselves that the timing isn’t right, or there are too many unknown variables, or we’re better off sticking with what we know.
The trouble is, you wake up one day to find you’ve been left behind with all the scaredy-cats who’ve slipped into a rut and pulled it in after them. You’re bored and discontented, but can no longer figure out why because you don’t even attract opportunities any more. You’ve moved off the road where opportunities and adventure travel, and are living in a sad, lonely no-man’s-land of sameness. You don’t even remember how you got there any more.
Change is Healthy
We can adapt to change. We have to be willing to be uncomfortable for a little while, that’s all.
I recently read something about turning your toilet paper roll the other way for 30 days. Essentially, it is something simple and unlikely to turn your world upside down. Yet it’s a change you have to adapt to. The point is to make a change that isn’t going to upset you, just to prove to yourself that you can adapt to it without any serious issues. Once you see how easily you can adapt to small changes in your world, it becomes easier to adapt to larger ones. And adapting to those larger, scarier changes is the key to trusting your gut and removing your biggest block to change; over analyzing.
Releasing Our Anal-Retentive Traits
Hidden inside the word “analyze” is the word “anal” which has come to be associated with people who are overly particular. As I see it, when you analyze the crap out of every situation and decision you encounter, you are, indeed, exhibiting an anal-retentive personality. You allow your mind to force you into a dull, boring rut of sameness while a little kernel deep inside is screaming for something new and exciting.
I won’t lie to you and say I’ve never fallen on my face by trusting my gut. Each time I do, I pick myself up, look at what went wrong, and learn from it. The experience makes my gut a little more sensitive to nuances I hadn’t considered so the next decision I make will have an even better chance of success.
Analyzing less and experiencing more won’t guarantee a smooth road. In fact, you’re likely to find the road a good deal bumpier. But bumps add character so your life won’t be boring, dull, or predictable. Is that really a bad thing?
Showing Gratitude for the Little Things
My gratitudes tonight are:
- I am grateful for the chances I’ve taken, the lessons I’ve learned, and the failures I’ve had to pick myself up from.
- I am grateful fro the people I meet when I stop taking the path of least resistance and instead, take the road less traveled.
- I am grateful for commitments I’ve made to myself. It isn’t always easy to honor what I set out for myself, but the rewards for doing so are immeasurable.
- I am grateful for my willingness to fail so I can learn. The whole process makes me stronger, smarter, and more resilient.
- I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, change, lessons, experiences, health, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.
Love and Light
Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for ghostwriting to help your business grow and thrive. Her specialties are finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author