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5 Amazing Things You Gain By Doing The Unthinkable

5 Amazing Things You Gain By Doing The Unthinkable

Last year, my family learned how to scuba dive. Along with my husband and our three grown sons, we wanted to learn a new skill — something we could take with us for years to come and enjoy together on future vacations as well.

When catching up with friends and I would tell them what I was learning, every single one immediately told me, “I could never do that.”

All of them had already given themselves permission to not even try.

They wrote off not just my scuba diving experience off, but every other challenge they could have imagined or dreamed.

To them, the idea of doing something hard on purpose seemed unthinkable.

On occasion, I would get asked, “Why are you doing that?” And after listening to my answer, some people were left in bewilderment while others didn’t quite see the attraction to forcing myself to learn a new skill. After all, no one was making me do this.

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I will admit that learning to scuba dive was not easy. I have bouts of claustrophobia and have a fear of drowning. Who wouldn’t, right?

When I am nervous or afraid, I become somewhat sarcastic — what some people interpret as “wit.” I’m just keeping it real. That way, no one sees just how scared I really am.

With scuba diving, one of the skills you must be tested on and pass is filling your mask with water while you are underwater and then getting rid of the water in your mask — while you are still underwater. It sounds impossible. I didn’t believe it could be done either. If you are a nose-breather like me, the last thing you want to do is suck all of the water in your mask in through your nose. Although you have your regulator still in your mouth so you can breath, mastering this skill pushed me hard. I even practiced at home so as not to panic in class.

Eventually, the day came when we actually went out onto a small boat into the Gulf of Mexico where I needed to put everything I had learned to the true test. When it was all said and done, we had all completed six dives to depths of 80 feet below the surface, seen numerous sea species, and I for one learned more about myself than I can remember. In addition, I gained a few things as well.

There are five things we gain by doing things that challenge us and might even be considered “unthinkable.” Here they are.

1. Positive attitude

When we challenge ourselves, we struggle with our fears. We are trying something new and the uncertainty that lies on the other side of any feat could be enough to sway us to never try anything new again. However, once we accomplish what we set out to accomplish, our attitude shifts. Everything that once held us back has no hold over us — and we know it.

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The way we think about everything going forward changes. The mental game we play can ruin even the smallest of things we hope to accomplish. Doing something most would consider “unthinkable” changes all of that. Our perspectives are no longer jaded with the opinions of others and instead are filled with the positive mindset one only gets by achieving success. Immediately, we begin to believe where doubt once lived and our mindset is completely different — to the point of never being able to return to the way it once was ever again.

2. Confidence

Growing more sure of oneself is not something that comes when the task at hand is easy or predictable. In fact, quite the opposite is true. When we take on a task that seems too daunting for most, our belief in ourselves most likely will be questioned. However, when one replaces that seed of doubt with something much more firm and strong, then the doubt no longer can be planted again. We begin to trust our abilities and push ourselves to be even more than we were before.

As we grow more confident, our sense of adventure heightens and some of our acts become even more daring and brash. We become someone who will not give up and allow any momentary setbacks to propel us forward. Any doubt we once had can’t even find a place to hide anymore.

3. Excitement

When we accomplish something scary or hard, we get super excited in ways we don’t while doing just normal everyday things. That excitement just grows as it releases endorphins into our body and we need to “feed that high” the only way we know how — to do more exciting things.

Doing what was once deemed as “unthinkable” creates a frenzy that stirs emotions of thrill and enthusiasm. Without realizing it, that feeling is something we become addicted to as we begin to make different choices that perpetuate that sense of “feeling alive.” It begins to stimulate more ideas, allowing creativity to creep in everywhere we look. At times, our excitement can be lead by impulses otherwise never imagined.

4. Courage

It’s hard to be strong when you aren’t sure you can do something, but after you do it, you become less fearful of anything else. Whether you go looking for a challenge or one just shows up on your doorstep one day, you remember what it took to do something hard and you remind yourself of not only what you’ve done, but who you are.

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When you do something “unthinkable,” fear no longer comes along for the ride, hoping you will turn back or chicken out. It knows better. Staying calm and level-headed in times of crisis or chaos will allow you to dig deep and find what your spunk looks like, baring your gnarly teeth of the guts it took all the way. You just wait patiently for the next dare and greet it with open arms, almost as if to say, “Let’s see who gives up first. It won’t be me.” You become braver in every aspect of your life.

5. Motivation

We are inspired by the acts and words of others. Especially when they do something we consider to be “impossible.” What was once something we deemed as impossible now has a different look. Without knowing so at the time, our mere witness to such experiences change us in ways we never imagined they would and we begin to want to accept challenges as well. New ideas are born. Our perspective changes and our inquisitive nature becomes more daring and bold, even if others don’t see it right away. We notice the boring and routine in our lives and we begin to ache for the actions we long to take.

Motivation is found in the smallest of acts we take — we begin to exercise to lose weight, beginning with running a simple mile. We begin to learn more from other likeminded individuals and, like sponges, soak up everything we can. Every ounce of knowledge becomes another stepping stone in our quest to move forward and achieve what no one else has believed to be possible. Once that motivation has begun to take shape and move, it becomes something that cannot be stopped or derailed by anyone.

Conclusion

At one time, all things were unthinkable — whether it be fire or a round wheel. Invention and the willingness to try new things often led to failure. However, in learning, we give ourselves chances to do better and often exceed our own expectations.

Once we start to feel the above, our mindset completely changes. The world becomes our playground and amazing things begin to unfold. Most likely, the things we never could have imagined become our foundation for the way we choose to live going forward.

We have heard what others said couldn’t be done. We believe their words to be true.

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However, when push came to shove, we proved them wrong. There is a bit of irony thrown in that in order for one to do the unthinkable, once must, in fact, do the unthinkable.

In doing so, the most amazing things change our way of thinking and our outlook in the future, ultimately changing us in the process.

At one time, learning to scuba dive seemed unthinkable to me. Not even a blip on my radar.

Do something hard once in a while. Challenge yourself in ways everyday life doesn’t.

You may think “it can’t be done” or find another reason why you shouldn’t even try. However, giving yourself a chance to find out and gain these five attributes that you will carry with you for the rest of your life will only make you better. Then, the only question will be, “What do I do next?”

Featured photo credit: Dino Reichmuth via unsplash.com

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Michelle A. Homme

Author, Speaker, Quote Writer, Empowerment Coach

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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