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Why We Must Do The Thing We Cannot Do

Why We Must Do The Thing We Cannot Do

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

Why We Say What We Won’t Do (but Still Say It Anyway)

Why We Say What We Won’t Do (but Still Say It Anyway)

Every day we say a lot about what we want and will do.

“I want to pet a cat.”

“I want to buy a house for my parents.”

“I don’t want to be single anymore.”

“I will love you no matter what.”

“I will work harder in the future.”

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    It’s easy to make plans for the future. And we make resolutions all the time. Consider that a full 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February.[1] And that a vast majority of relationships (plus many marriages) end as well with break-ups or divorce. The best intentions and the best-laid plans generally speaking end in failure.

    No one intended to lie

    In general, people make these kinds of promises or resolutions with the best intentions. They don’t want to fail; if anything, they want desperately to be right, to improve themselves, and to make their friends and family happy. So even if a resolution doesn’t work out, when they utter them, it’s far from a lie.

      People often speak without thinking. They say what comes to mind, but without really thinking it through. And what usually comes to mind is wishful thinking – the ideal result, not what’s possible and practical. It’s tempting to fantasize about a beautiful and perfect future: a good romantic relationship, to have the approval and respect of your parents, and to have a successful career.

      But how to get what you want is not always clear to you in the moment you utter it. It’s hard to see beyond just the easy, idealized image. The challenges you may come across, the disappointments and sadness you may face – none of that is anywhere to be seen in a daydreaming mind.

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      Wishful thinking often end in crushing disappointment

      The problem is this. Wishful thinking and fantasies will only end in disappointment if you don’t follow through. You disappoint your friends, your family, your boss, and – most importantly – yourself. This can really take a toll on your own psyche and sense of self-worth.

            At a personal level, you’ll have so many unfulfilled dreams and goals. This is an incredibly common situation for people everywhere. As a teenager, you might have dreamed of what your life would be like as an adult: happily married and with a successful and high-earning career by the time you’re 25. But these are two seriously challenging goals that take planning and effort. Many people find themselves alone and in a dead-end job – rather than a career – wondering where they went wrong.

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                On an interpersonal level, making empty promises is hurtful and damaging to relationships. Friendship and healthy family relationships are built on trust. People who want to be your friend take you at your word and expect you to follow through. If you tell your friends that you’ll “be there for them,” but never pick up the phone, they will be hurt and no longer want to hang out. The same is true for family or even professional relationships. You might find it tempting to tell your boss that you’ll finish a major project “by the end of the week,” without considering whether this is plausible. If you are unable to complete the task in the timeframe that you set, it’s not easy to regain your boss’s trust.

                Keep what you want to yourself

                It’s vital to be clear about what you want. Notice when people around you are prone to saying “I want ___” and “I don’t want ____.”

                Kids are very prone to saying all their wants out loud, partly because they don’t have the independence and resources to get it themselves. This is why children and young people are often vague about what they want in the future. They have lots of wants without a concrete plan on how to get them.

                This is one of the challenges of being an adult. As you gain the practical ability to provide for yourself, and as you learn from your mistakes, it’s more and more important to be clear about how you plan to get what you want.

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                  Practice visualizing plans to attain your goals. For example, you might want a pet – everyone shares pictures of their dogs and cats on Instagram! But before you go out to adopt one at the shelter, make sure you visualize all the things you have to do to take care of your pet. Pet-ownership involves: cleaning up after it, house-training it, taking it to the vet, walking it, buying it food, and making sure that it gets plenty of stimulation and exercise.

                  If you want or need a car, think about how much you need to save to purchase the car, the cleaning and maintenance costs, how to pay for regular car insurance, parking costs, et cetera.

                    If you really want something, don’t just say it. Plan for it and do it. Create conditions that make what you want inevitable. Do small things consistently and make it a habit. You’ll amaze yourself and your friends if you constantly work on attaining your goals. Read more about how to follow through your goals here: Why I Can Be the Only 8% of People Who Reach the Goal Every Single Time

                    It’s easy to make or break promises. Set yourself apart from others by being reliable, deliberate, and thoughtful. Match your intentions with planning and action, and you’ll find that you’re happier with yourself and that your relationships are enriched.

                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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