Advertising
Advertising

Why the More Threats We Fight Every Day, the More Successful We Become

Why the More Threats We Fight Every Day, the More Successful We Become

Your boss has asked you to speak at your company’s annual employee conference. In fact, he’s penciled you in to talk for 15 minutes in front of an expected crowd of 800 people. There’s just one problem… you’re terrified of public speaking!

Instead of relishing the chance to shine in front of your colleagues – you’re consumed by trying to find a way to get out of doing the speech.

Fear of public speaking is common. However, instead of allowing fears such as this to hold you hostage, you can turn them into powerful springboards to success.

Before I reveal how to do this, let’s first take a look at some common threats, and our typical responses to them.

Are You Struggling to Cope with Threatening Situations?

Imagine for a moment that time travel is real.

You decide to go back thousands of years to see how our early ancestors lived. Once you arrive at your chosen destination, you quickly discover that life at that time was riddled with dangers. There’s physical fighting between different communities, animal predators to avoid, and a constant threat of starvation.

Advertising

It was during these tough and treacherous times that early humans developed something called the ‘fight or flight’ response. This response can be described as a physiological reaction to a threat or attack that causes the body to immediately release a hormonal cascade. This hormonal release shifts the body into extreme physical alertness, allowing either a defense to be mounted, or alternatively – a quick getaway! (Spend some time watching cats and dogs, and you’ll frequently see this fight or flight response in action.)

While the fight or flight response is obviously helpful in life-or-death situations, it can be a negative thing when triggered by less serious events. For example, you may feel that a subordinate colleague is plotting to take your job. If you allow this situation to trigger a fight or flight response, you’re likely to either engage in a physical confrontation with your colleague – or if you choose to flee, then you may end up handing in your notice.

Neither of the above reactions are rational. In truth, either one of them will leave you out of a job. Instead, you’d be much better off thinking of positive ways to deal with the situation. For example, you could develop your skills and experience to keep you ahead of your colleague, or you could speak directly to them to ascertain what their specific career goals were.

It’s vital that you’re able to clearly distinguish between life-threatening or highly-dangerous situations, and everyday threats such as family arguments and work pressures. The latter situations should not trigger a fight or flight response in you. As we’ve seen, this is likely to cause these situations to become even more negative. Instead, seek for non-aggressive and harmonious resolutions to your conflicts.

These 2 Simple Insights Will Help Boost Your Personal Growth

Is self-improvement important to you?

If yes, then you’re in the right place, as I’m going to give you two powerful insights that could definitely change your life for the better.

Advertising

1. Everyday threats offer you the chance to push and develop yourself.

Picture for a moment that you’ve just graduated from university. You’re excited by what you’ve learned and by the high grades you’ve achieved. However, after a few weeks of applying for relevant jobs, you discover that you’re not even making it to the interview stage.

As a new graduate, you may have anticipated that finding a job would be plain sailing. However, this expectation hasn’t been matched by reality. You now feel stressed and despondent.

What’s the problem? Is there a solution? Or should you just give up?

The answer to this dilemma is to find out where you’re going wrong. To do this, you should perform a personal SWOT analysis (SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats).[1] You can complete this analysis by spending time thinking about your personal strengths and weaknesses, what opportunities are open to you, and what external threats you may face.

Once you’ve completed your SWOT analysis, you should be able to clearly identify key positives and negatives. To come back to the job-seeking example above, your SWOT analysis will most likely indicate that a principal weakness of yours is a lack of work experience. To counter this, you could offer to work for free for a few weeks, or perhaps accept an entry-level role to help get your career started.

Everyday threats should be seen for what they are: opportunities for you to advance in life.

Advertising

2. Your comfort zone can be defeated when you embrace threats.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the term comfort zone. However, in case you’re not, I’ll give you a brief explanation.

Your comfort zone is the place where you feel mentally and emotionally at ease and free from pain.

For instance, if you’re single, you may have difficulty asking people out on a date. However much you like a prospective partner – something inside holds you back. You’re embarrassed to ask them out, and you’d feel much more comfortable with them asking YOU out.

The problem with comfort zones is that we have a tendency to get stuck within them.

Once this happens, our ambition and drive wanes, and our thought processes start to deteriorate. For these reasons, the term comfort zone can also be rendered as mindless zone!

Fortunately, you can use threats to help you break out of your mindless zone.

Advertising

As an example for you, think of a time when you’ve had a problem with a neighbor. It might have been that they were constantly making noise late at night, or their car was regularly blocking your driveway. For most of us, our comfort zone would prevent us from speaking directly to our neighbor about these problems. However, by embracing the issue, you could choose to use it as an opportunity to increase your confidence and boldness. By doing this, you would be stepping outside of your mindless zone – and at the same time, you’d hopefully be resolving the issue with your neighbor.

Other ways to smash through your mindless zone include:

  • Facing your fears.
  • Trying something new.
  • Moving towards a goal.
  • Changing your mindset.
  • Doing everyday things differently.

The secret to all these techniques is to start with small things – and then work your way up to bigger things. By doing this, you’ll also build a habit of continually stretching your beliefs and goals.

Threats are everywhere. But that doesn’t have to be a negative thing. By embracing threats, and learning from them, you can fast-track your personal development.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

More by this author

Craig J Todd

UK Writer who loves to use the power of words to inspire and motivate.

Boost Your Morning Motivation with These 30 Refreshing Routines Characteristics of Critical Thinking (And How to Think Critically) How to Connect With Someone Deeper Within a Short Time One Item That Is Often Absent in Resumes but Extremely Important: Soft Skills What to Do When You Hate Your Job (for Both Who Choose to Stay and Quit)

Trending in Productivity

1 How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement 2 5 Less-Known Reasons Why Less is More 3 10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance 4 How to Take Good Notes at Work: 6 Effective Ways 5 3 Techniques for Setting Priorities Effectively

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

What is decision fatigue? Let me explain this with an example:

When determining a court ruling, there are many factors that contribute to their final verdict. You probably assume that the judge’s decision is influenced solely by the nature of the crime committed or the particular laws that were broken. While this is completely valid, there is an even greater influential factor that dictates the judge’s decision: the time of day.

In 2012, a research team from Columbia University[1] examined 1,112 court rulings set in place by a Parole Board Judge over a 10 month period. The judge would have to determine whether the individuals in question would be released from prison on parole, or a change in the parole terms.

While the facts of the case often take precedence in decision making, the judges mental state had an alarming influence on their verdict.

As the day goes on, the chance of a favorable ruling drops:

Advertising

    Image source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

    Does the time of day, or the judges level of hunger really contribute that greatly to their decision making? Yes, it does.

    The research went on to show that at the start of the day the likelihood of the judging giving out a favorable ruling was somewhere around 65%.

    But as the morning dragged on, the judge became fatigued and drained from making decision after decision. As more time went on, the odds of receiving a favorable ruling decreased steadily until it was whittled down to zero.

    However, right after their lunch break, the judge would return to the courtroom feeling refreshed and recharged. Energized by their second wind, their leniency skyrockets back up to a whopping 65%. And again, as the day drags on to its finish, the favorable rulings slowly diminish along with the judge’s spirits.

    This is no coincidence. According to the carefully recorded research, this was true for all 1,112 cases. The severity of the crime didn’t matter. Whether it was rape, murder, theft, or embezzlement, the criminal was more likely to get a favorable ruling either early in the morning, or after the judges lunch break.

    Advertising

    Are You Suffering from Decision Fatigue Too?

    We all suffer from decision fatigue without even realizing it.

    Perhaps you aren’t a judge with the fate of an individual’s life at your disposal, but the daily decisions you make for yourself could hinder you if you’re not in the right head-space.

    Regardless of how energetic you feel (as I imagine it is somehow caffeine induced anyway), you will still experience decision fatigue. Just like every other muscle, your brain gets tired after periods of overuse, pumping out one decision after the next. It needs a chance to rest in order to function at a productive rate.

    The Detrimental Consequences of Decision Fatigue

    When you are in a position such as a Judge, you can’t afford to let your mental state dictate your decision making; but it still does. According to George Lowenstein, an American educator and economy expert, decision fatigue is to blame for poor decision making among members of high office. The disastrous level of failure among these individuals to control their impulses could be directly related to their day to day stresses at work and their private life.

    When you’re just too tired to think, you stop caring. And once you get careless, that’s when you need to worry. Decision fatigue can contribute to a number of issues such as impulse shopping (guilty), poor decision making at work, and poor decision making with after work relationships. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.

    How to Make Decision Effectively

    Either alter the time of decision making to when your mind is the most fresh, or limit the number of decisions to be made. Try utilizing the following hacks for more effective decision making.

    Advertising

    1. Make Your Most Important Decisions within the First 3 Hours

    You want to make decisions at your peak performance, so either first thing in the morning, or right after a break.

    Research has actually shown that you are the most productive for the first 3 hours[2] of your day. Utilize this time! Don’t waste it on trivial decisions such as what to wear, or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

    Instead, use this time to tweak your game plan. What do you want to accomplish? What can you improve? What steps do you need to take to reach these goals?

    2. Form Habits to Reduce Decision Making

    You don’t have to choose all the time.

    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to be an extravagant spread every morning. Make a habit out of eating a similar or quick breakfast, and cut that step of your morning out of the way. Can’t decide what to wear? Pick the first thing that catches your eye. We both know that after 20 minutes of changing outfits you’ll just go with the first thing anyway.

    Powerful individuals such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t waste their precious time deciding what to wear. In fact, they have been known to limiting their outfits down to two options in order to reduce their daily decision making.

    Advertising

    3. Take Frequent Breaks for a Clearer Mind

    You are at your peak of productivity after a break, so to reap the benefits, you need to take lots of breaks! I know, what a sacrifice. If judges make better decisions in the morning and after their lunch break, then so will you.

    The reason for this is because the belly is now full, and the hunger is gone. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University social psychologist[3] had found that low-glucose levels take a negative toll on decision making. By taking a break to replenish your glucose levels, you will be able to focus better and improve your decision making abilities.

    Even if you aren’t hungry, little breaks are still necessary to let your mind refresh, and come back being able to think more clearly.

    Structure your break times. Decide beforehand when you will take breaks, and eat energy sustaining snacks so that your energy level doesn’t drop too low. The time you “lose” during your breaks will be made up in the end, as your productivity will increase after each break.

    So instead of slogging through your day, letting your mind deteriorate and fall victim to the daily abuses of decision making, take a break, eat a snack. Let your mind refresh and reset, and jump-start your productivity throughout the day.

    More Tips About Decision Making

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next