2016 is the Year of “Happy” at Lexicon. We’ve taken on the challenge of helping you find more of your own, bringing you holistic tips and techniques to help you find not only professional success but personal fulfillment. At the beginning of this month we launched a challenge to get that going.
Day eight of the 30 Day Life Challenge…
What would you do if you just believed you could?
No, I’m not talking about “I can fly, I can fly!” It’s basic physics and biology: without some outside apparatus, humans can’t fly–but we can do all sorts of other things. In thinking about the challenge we issued at the beginning of the month to gain life experience by experiencing more of life, I wondered what keeps us from getting out there sometimes. Fear is way up there on the list, I suspect, for most people. Fear of unknown, fear of failure, fear of the judgement. But my father, wise wacky man that he is, always taught me that fear is an acronym: False Evidence Appearing Real. Most of the things we fear are really silly once we get past them. Including the fears I just mentioned.
Here’s the thing, fearing what you don’t know is counterintuitive and counterproductive. For one, you can’t know what you don’t know; you’d just be walking around in a constant state of fear (which, honestly, some of us are). But that’s a drain of mental and physical resources. Knowledge is power. Instead of fearing what you don’t know, why not get out there and start learning. You’ll find that snakes aren’t so bad, most spiders aren’t deadly, rats while disgusting are really intelligent, clowns can only hurt you if you get close, heights are only a danger if you dangle yourself over the edge, and so on. Our fears and phobias are mixed up in a quagmire of ignorance and over active imagination. Take one away, and you’re left with imagination that leads to adventure.
Feel Free to Fail
On thing we do know is failure. We all fail every now and again, and sometimes quite often. Fearing it is pointless because it’s simply going to happen. But that’s how we grow. You can’t learn to walk without falling on your backside a few times. Without failure we can never reach our potential because we are constantly trying to shield ourselves from the embarrassment or pain of the only thing that will help us to our greatest goal. Failure is the stepping stone to success. Ask any successful person and they’ll tell you that. No one simply falls into successes lap, no matter how easy it may seem from the outside.
The fleeting nature of judgement
And that’s the real thing isn’t it… most of us simply don’t want any one else to see us fall flat on our butts. We don’t want anyone laughing at our stumbles–which unfortunately people are prone to do. I’ve never quite understood why the first thing people do when they see someone slip on ice (or a banana) is laugh. (My first inclination would be to help and see if the person is hurt–then, if they’re fine, laugh!) It’s human nature I suppose. But the test here isn’t whether or not other people laugh, it’s whether or not we can laugh at ourselves. I was reading my horoscope today (I find it a fun exercise, whether it resembles my life or not), and this is what it says:
You are projecting an aura of calm today–so what if deep down inside you are frazzled and frayed? Focus more on what people perceive you to be, not on who you really are–especially since what they are going to perceive will be so helpful to your reputation! Accept all compliments and don’t even thing about making any self-deprecating jokes. As far as you’re concerned, you believe that you are as big a rock star as everyone else says you are.
This is what I got from that: Perception is Everything! It about how you perceive yourself, more than how others see you.
Although you may feel frazzled and afraid on the inside, other people usually can’t see that. Most of the time, those embarrassing stumbles that feel so humiliating to us aren’t even a blip on other people’s radar. A friend of mine said to me once: “Other people think about you far less than you think they do.” At first I found that statement disturbing, and then I found it freeing (which was my friend’s point). No one is standing there waiting for you to slip on that banana. And nine times out of ten, no one will remember that you did by next week. So take the fear out of judgement, and put on your game face.
You’re a rock star! Believe it.
Today I challenge you to do something you’ve always wanted to do but didn’t think you could. Maybe that’s rock climbing or bungee jumping or petting a snake or writing your first chapter or starting a business… whatever it is, do it. Start the process today. Even if you don’t finish it today or get it quite right on your first try, that’s okay. The point is you took a chance–you took that first step. And that’s a life experience.
Kate E. Stephenson is a freelance communications specialist whose business encompasses content writing, comprehensive editing and quality resume services. Lexicon is her brainchild, a blog all about Language—insight into today’s job market and hiring tips, book releases and reviews, and general folly concerning the many mysterious facets of the English language and human communication. Be sure to read more about Kate, check out a full listing of services, and enjoy her columns here on Lexicon and on Kate.Book.com!