What Are You Afraid Of?

Yesterday I read this on Seth Godin’s blog:

Rehearsing Failure, Rehearsing Success

Sunrise on Silver LakeThe active imagination has no trouble imagining the negative outcomes of your new plan, your next speech or that meeting you have coming up.

It’s easy to visualize and even rehearse all the things that can go wrong.

The thing is: clear visualization, repeated again and again, doesn’t actually decrease the chances you’re going to fail. In fact, it probably increases the odds.

When you choose to visualize the path that works, you’re more likely to shore it up and create an environment where it can take place.

Rehearsing failure is simply a bad habit, not a productive use of your time”

Seth usually writes about business, especially internet marketing and creating great companies and products, but in this case, I think he has hit on a prescription for life.

I started this blog because I have been doing a lot of thinking about my future – what I want to do, who I want to be, and so on. This post from Seth made me face the fact of how often I am afraid. I am afraid to make certain leaps of faith, to risk too much, to make too many changes all at once.

To make matters worse, it isn’t just fear. I spend too much time in my head rehearsing all the terrible things that could go wrong. I don’t frame it that way, of course. Instead, I tell myself that I am planning out how to react to various scenarios – but how often do those scenarios end in me having complete success?

Practically none.

I think as a culture we tend to not want to “set ourselves up for failure” or “set our expectations too high.” We call it being practical. How often as children were we encouraged to be more realistic? We are afraid of dreaming too big, of wanting too much, of being disappointed. But what is the alternative? Planning for failure …and getting exactly what we expected.

Photo credit: longviewhill