The brain is an amazing device. We use it to discern patterns, project a future reality for ourselves, and figure out simple solutions to complex problems. (Of course, it also controls our beating hearts and about a million things we don’t even think about, too.)
I think it’s fair to say that the brain is the single biggest advantage we have against the rest of the natural world.
It’s also one of our biggest limitations.
When we think about career motion and all of the promise that comes with it, we get excited.
But then when it comes time to actually make a move into the unknown, we often panic.
Why? Because we rationalize our insecurities and ignore the obvious: fear is the biggest block for change.
The Dispassionate – But Critical – Observer
There are a bunch of great expressions that describe how suddenly smart we become when we judge from afar.
It’s amazing how insightful we can be when we have time to reflect with no pressure, and we’re playing with house money. The first one – “armchair quarterback” – is my favorite, because it completely ignores: having two seconds to make a meaningful decision; the panic of having 350-pound invaders wanting to rip you apart; and playing in front of 80,000 people who will either deify you or crucify you, with no in-betweens.
Oh, and it also ignores the slight detail of not having the physical abilities of a world-class athlete.
Why aren’t all decisions that easy?
Getting in too deep
The more invested we are in a situation or decision, the difficult it becomes. The situation itself doesn’t change, but our perception of its importance sure does.
And perception is everything. Because how we see the world – and our place in it – is entirely interpretive.
We can be as big as we want, or as small as we feel we’re destined to be.
But neither is “right,” they’re just the product of our thinking.
So what do you want to produce?
Avoidance can be irrational
When I left university a bit early, I was convinced my job prospects were nil. Why wouldn’t they be? Despite my work ethic and experience (I had already had 15 jobs by that point), I had decided that every door would be closed because I didn’t have that piece of paper.
And I was right!
Because I didn’t even try to get a job – at home, at least.
I suppose because my brain wanted to show me how irrational emotions can be, the “scared” part of me that waved a white flag to success at home, showed absolutely zero concern with travelling to the other side of the world with little money, no friends, no family, and no job.
Sure, that was easy!
Make fear logical
Then there are guys like Richard Branson, who would take a million chances, often with little to no experience in the area.
But he didn’t manage through fear: he just managed the risks that came with the unknown. If he couldn’t afford the capital for a large new business venture, no problem: he would just negotiate a short-term lease that would be long enough to see profits if they were possible, and short enough that he could just bail if it were a bad idea.
And that’s the key to managing fear: make the situation as objective as possible. But guard your perspective! It’s easy to justify inaction when we look “objectively” at our fears, and not the situation.
Be passionate about your goals – not your limitations.
Have you ever let fear get in your way of something you wanted? How did you get over it? Tell us in the comments!