It’s easy for forget. It’s easy to be overwhelmed fear…by
But you have to be open to being uncomfortable in order to grow. That’s not to say that you need to struggle profoundly, but you do need to be willing to learn. The process of learning is all about spending time in the ‘unknown,’ dealing with uncertainty.
We need to intentionally put ourselves in new situations where we encounter the unfamiliar
Take current health and fitness trends, for example. Chances are you’re a well-informed individual, who’s aware of fitness trends and health research. Maybe you’re even personally interested in working out in order to improve your health, achieve a personal goal or learn a new sport. In any case, you know that in order to become stronger, faster, increase agility and balance, you have to challenge your body.
If you don’t periodically switch up your routine – whether you lift weights, do yoga, or run – your level of fitness stabilizes. This is what’s known as homeostasis, a tendency toward equilibrium in the body’s physiological processes. This rule of thumb applies to our psychology as well. In order to learn, we need to intentionally put ourselves in new situations where we encounter the unfamiliar.
If you’re even remotely like the rest of us, that is, you are not an interstellar alien or mythical creature of some sort, but human and therefore fallible, you can recognize how hard it can be to try new things. Even if you embrace the new in multiple areas of your life – trying new foods, traveling, meeting new people, and so on, you have some awareness of your own particular patterns that hold you back.
“The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear Itself”
Franklin D. Roosevelt said it best.
Even the most fearless among us experiences fear. It is inarguably a survival instinct, rooted in our ancestral past when we needed to be cautious in order to avoid untimely death. However, we’ve transitioned from a primitive to a more sophisticated way of living, and no longer need to fend for our lives every second of the day. It’s time to challenge the fears that haunt us.
What Will Happen When You Do Things You Couldn’t Do?
When you endeavor to do the thing you cannot do, you’re most likely to fail at least a couple of times. Failure is completely normal and it provides valuable information. If, for example, your goal is to become a competent public speaker, because you’ve been held back by performance anxiety, you’re most likely going to flounder a bit when you first begin. And that’s okay. It’s what learning is all about.
If you think about it, failure is probably the worst thing that will happen when you set out to do the thing you cannot do (yet). And when we fail, we might experience embarrassment, disappointment, even shame. This is when many of us give up on our big goals. Who wants to voluntarily feel like dirt? No one. It’s wise to plan ahead on what you’ll do when the powerful urge to save yourself from your wretched state has nearly convinced you to quit.
It may be beneficial to have a support group in place before you set out on your goal. To return to the public speaking example, you might consider attending Toastmasters International to learn presentation skills and practice in a support environment. If you want to tackle addiction, look into Alcoholics Anonymous or similar group. Having allies can be particularly important for individuals who are battling conditions like addiction.
Aside from the fact that you have nothing to lose, think about all that you might gain. Odds are good that you’ll find you’re capable of more than you thought. You will definitely learn something, perhaps that you don’t even like public speaking. Or maybe you’ll discover that you love and excel at writing speeches.
Bottom line: Do that thing you cannot do! You’ll make mistakes, even fail, but you’ll probably meet a new friend or two along the way. There’s nothing to lose.