Most People Think With Their Fears and Insecurities Instead of Using Their Minds, is just one of the chapters in my book, Sustainable Excellence, Ten Principles To Leading Your Uncommon and Extraordinary Life that was published by Five Stones Press and is being featured in the Authors’ Lounge.
“Always do what you are afraid to do,” is a quote attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson. But how many of us actually do that? Why do most people think with their fears and insecurities make decision for them without engaging their minds? What is preventing so many people from living their uncommon and extraordinary life?
Our brains are hard wired to avoid pain and discomfort and to seek pleasure. To the brain, the status quo is comfortable and familiar and should be left alone. Our minds know our fears; it knows our insecurities, and it discerns our vulnerabilities, and uses them against us any time we look to grow or expand our knowledge. That’s why most people think with their fears.
Let’s take the example of a person wanting to look for a new job as an example. We all know people who are stuck in dead-end positions. These people would benefit from a change in jobs. But for some reason, they stay put. Why is that? I’d suggest it’s because when they decide to find new employment, their brain kicks in and starts pointing out all the reasons they should stay put. Things like: You are making good money. You are accustomed to the routines, and the work is easy. Furthermore, you may not get along with your co-workers at a new job.
Whatever the reason, to the brain, a new job presents all types of uncertainty and uncomfortableness. If you are in a position you have outgrown, and it would make sense to explore new opportunities, your brain will fight you on making that change.
We don’t like to live in an uncomfortable state (remember: most people think with their fears), but that is the only place where real growth can occur. When I was a high school basketball coach, I use to constantly remind my players that they needed to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
As such, I would move players in and out of drills during practice that I knew caused them anxiety. I wanted them to be uneasy. Not because I wanted them to fail, but because I wanted them to realize they could succeed at something that made them uncomfortable.
The only way we can grow; the only way we can push past our comfort zones is to do what we find unpleasant and undesirable. It’s in those painful, challenging, and sometimes embarrassing moments that real growth can occur. And when improvement happens, that is when the common can become the uncommon and the ordinary can become the extraordinary.
In 1976, the United States gold-medal-winning Olympic Swimmer, Shirley Babashoff, had one of the greatest quotes I’ve ever heard. She said, “Winners think about what they want to happen, losers think about what they don’t want to happen.”
Winners can override their brains and focus on the things they want to occur. Losers concentrate on the negative aspects of competition and can’t see the positive qualities of pursuing a goal or a dream.
If you want to lead an uncommon and extraordinary life, the only way to make that happen is to embrace the uncomfortable and continue to do the things you don’t like, and that you don’t want to do. To override your fears and insecurities, your purpose in life has to be bigger than the pain that confronts you.
To put this in simple terms, if you were to go to the gym and pick up a 10-pound dumbbell and do ten arm curls but you didn’t find the movement difficult, your bicep muscle will never grow. However, if you used that same 10-pound weight and did arm curls until you exhausted your muscle and couldn’t do another repetition, you are stressing that bicep muscle, and as a result, it will grow and get stronger.
That same tactic works with your mind. If you stress and push your mind by doing things that are uncomfortable and uneasy, it will grow and develop and you will be able to overcome your fears and insecurities and become a stronger and more determined individual.
Overcoming your fears and insecurities is just one of the principles contained in Sustainable Excellence. Some of the other principles you will learn include: how to live the life you were born to live, the importance of failing often, especially when you are young, how to be part of something that is bigger than yourself, and why it is important to listen to understand as opposed to listen to reply.
Each day on Motivational Check, I expand on the ten principles in his book through a Thought for the Day, an inspirational or motivational video or story, and my Monday Morning Motivational Messages.
You can commit to making these principles part of who you are. You have the ability, but do you have the mental fortitude to incorporate these principles into your soul? The question is, will you use these principles to lead your uncommon and extraordinary life, or will you settle for a life of the ordinary and common? The choice is yours.