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Last Updated on March 12, 2020

7 Reminders for Overcoming Fear to Make Big Life Changes

7 Reminders for Overcoming Fear to Make Big Life Changes

Overcoming fear and making changes is hard.

It’s even harder when it’s a big change — breaking up with someone you love, leaving your old job, starting your own business, or hundreds of other difficult choices.

But even if it’s obvious that making a big change will be beneficial for us, it can be tough.

We worry. How do we know if we’re making the right decision?

We wish we knew more. How do we make a decision without all of the necessary information?

We feel stuck. How do we get past fear and move forward with that thing we want to do?

Well, I certainly don’t have all the answers, but here are 7 tips that should help you move forward and make a positive change in your life.

1. You’ll Never Have All the Information

We often avoid making important decisions because we want more information before we make a tough call.

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Yes, it’s certainly true that you need to do your research … but if you’re waiting for the crystal clear answer to come to you, then you’re going to be waiting a long time. As humans, we are curious creatures and our need for information can be paralyzing.

Life is a series of guesses, mistakes, and revisions. Make the best decision you can at the time and continue to move forward.

2. You Need to Have Enough Courage to Trust Yourself

We make all sorts of excuses for not making important changes, but the limiting belief that often underlies many of them is that we don’t trust ourselves.

We think that if we get into a new situation, we won’t know what to do or how to react. We’re worried that the uncharted territory of the future will be too much for us to handle.

Give yourself more credit than that.

You’ve dealt with unexpected changes before right? And when your car got a flat tire on the way to work, how did that end up? Or when you were unexpectedly dumped?

In the end, you were fine.

Have enough courage to trust yourself. No matter what happens, you’ll figure out a way to make it work.

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3. What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

Like jealousy, most of your fears are created in your own head.

When you actually sit down and think about the worst case scenario, you’ll realize that there are actually very few risks that you can’t recover from.

Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?”

Once you realize the worst isn’t that bad, you’ll be ready to crush it.

4. It’s Just as Much About the Process as It Is About the Result

We’re so wrapped up in results. We worry that if we start out towards a big goal, then we might not make it to the finish line.

Guess what? You’re allowed to change your mind.

Furthermore, just because you don’t reach the final goal doesn’t mean you failed. You chose the goal in the first place. It was arbitrary. You’re allowed to choose a new goal halfway through. Failure is not a destination and neither is success.

Enjoy the process of moving forward.

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5. Continue to Pursue Opportunity

If you’re on the fence about a big decision, then you might be worried about getting locked into a position that you can’t escape from.

Think about it a different way. New choices rarely limit your options.

In fact, new pursuits often open up even more opportunities. One of the best things about going after important goals with passion is that they open up chances and options that you never could have expected in the beginning.

If you pursue the interesting opportunities that arise along the path to your goal, then you can be sure that you’ll always have choices.

6. Effort Matters, so Use It

It sounds simple, but one of the of the big reasons we don’t make change is because we don’t try. And we don’t try because then it’s easy to make excuses for why we don’t get what we want.

Flunk that test? Are you stupid? “Of course I’m not stupid. I just didn’t study. I would have got an A if I actually studied.”

Stuck in a job you hate? Why haven’t you found a new job yet? “Well, I haven’t really tried to get a new job. I could totally ace that interview if I wanted.”

Why do we make excuses like these to ourselves? It’s because if we try and fail, then we just failed. But if we don’t try, well then we can chalk it up to laziness.

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Get over it. Failure happens to everyone.

And the funny thing is, if you actually try — because it’s pretty clear that most people aren’t trying — then you’ll win a lot more than you think.

7. Start With Something Manageable

You can’t climb Everest if you don’t try hiking beforehand.

Maybe applying for your dream job seems intimidating right now. What can you start with today?

Can you talk to someone who already has that position and see what they think makes them successful? Can improve your skills so you meet one of the qualifications?

You don’t need to be a world changer today, you just need to make a small change in your own world.

More Tips to Help You Make Changes in Life

Featured photo credit: Victor Rodriguez via unsplash.com

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James Clear

James Clear is the author of Atomic Habits. He shares self-improvement tips based on proven scientific research.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero

What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero

Ah, Inbox Zero. An achievement that so many of us long for. It’s elusive. It’s a productivity benchmark. It’s an ongoing battle.

It’s also unnecessary.

Don’t get me wrong, the way Inbox Zero was initially termed is incredibly valuable. Merlin Mann coined the phrase years ago and what he has defined it as goes well beyond the term itself.[1]

Yet people have created their own definition of Inbox Zero. They’re not using it with the intent that Mann suggested. Instead, it’s become about having nothing left in immediate view. It’s become about getting your email inbox to zero messages or having an empty inbox on your desk that was once filled with papers. It’s become about removing visual clutter.

But it’s not about that. Not at all.

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Here’s what inbox zero actually is, as defined by Mann:

“It’s about how to reclaim your email, your atten­tion, and your life. That “zero?” It’s not how many mes­sages are in your inbox–it’s how much of your own brain is in that inbox. Especially when you don’t want it to be. That’s it.” – Merlin Mann

The Fake Inbox Zero

The sense of fulfillment one gets from clearing out everything in your inbox is temporary at best, disappointing at worst. Often we find that we’re shooting for Inbox Zero just so that we can say that we’ve got “everything done that needed to be done”. That’s simply not the case.

Certainly, by removing all of your things that sit in your inbox means that they are either taken care of or are well on their way to being taken care of. The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” is often applied to clearing out your inbox. But unless you’ve actually done something with the stuff, it’s either not worth having in your inbox in the first place or is still sitting in your “mental inbox”.

You have to do something with the stuff, and for many people, that is a hard thing to do. That’s why Inbox Zero – as defined by Mann – is not achieved as often as many people would like to believe. It’s this “watered down” concept of Inbox Zero that is completed instead. You’ve got no email in your inbox and you’ve got no paper on your desk’s inbox. So that must mean you’re at Inbox Zero.

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Until the next email arrives or the next document comes your way. Then you work to get rid of those as quickly as possible so that you can get back to Inbox Zero: The Lesser again. If it’s something that can be dealt with quickly, then you get there. But if they require more time, then soon you’ve got more stuff in your inboxes. So you switch up tasks to get to the things that don’t require as much time or attention so that you can get closer to this stripped down variation of Inbox Zero.

However, until you deal with the bigger items, you don’t quite get there. Some people feel as if they’ve let themselves (or others) down if they don’t get there. And that, quite frankly, is silly. That’s why this particular version of Inbox Zero doesn’t work.

The Ultimate Way to Get to Inbox Zero

So what’s the ultimate way to get to Inbox Zero?

Have zero inboxes.

The inbox is meant to be a stop along the way to your final destination. It’s the place where stuff sits until you’re ready to put it in the place where it sits until you’re ready to deal with it.

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So why not skip the inbox altogether? Why not put it in the place where it sits until you’re ready to deal with it? Because that requires immediate action. It means you need to give the item some thought and attention.

You need to step back and look at it rather than file it. That’s why we have a catch-all inbox, both for email and for analog items. It allows us to only look at these things when we’re ready to do so.

The funny thing is that we can decide when we’re ready to without actually looking at the inbox beforehand. We can look at things on our own watch rather than when we are alerted to or feel the need to.

There is no reason why you need an inbox at all to store things for longer than it sits there before you see it. None. It’s a choice. And the choice you should be making is how to deal with things when you first see them, rather than when to deal with things you haven’t looked at yet.

Stop Faking It

Seeing things in your inboxes is simply using your sight. Looking at things in your inbox when you first see them is using insight.

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Stop checking email more than twice per day. Turn off your alerts. Put your desk’s inbox somewhere that it can be accessed by others and only accessed by you when you’re ready to deal with what’s in it. Don’t put it on your desk – that’s productivity poison.

If you want to get to Inbox Zero — the real Inbox Zero — then get rid of those stops along the way. You’ll find that by doing that, you’ll be getting more of the stuff you really want done finished much faster, rather than see them moving along at the speed of not much more than zero.

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Featured photo credit: Web Hosting via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merlin Mann: Inbox Zero

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