I talk with tons of folks who aren’t happy about the direction that their life is heading. They say, ‘so, I’m stuck in this job that I hate, and I’m stuck with the weight that I have, and I’m stuck with X and Y and Z,’ and I nod and patiently listen. I’m told about troubles that are both great and small, and how these obstacles are preventing them from doing what they need to be doing. I nod and patiently listen. These folks will continue the discussion and pepper it with shotgun blast excuses as to why they can’t do X, Y, or Z. After listening to the barrage of emotionally charged tripe, it’s hard to nod and patiently listen anymore.

Why?

Because it’s bullshit. Absolute and complete bullshit. You know what’s preventing you from being awesome? Fear. Fear controls you. Fear makes you shiver in your boots. Fear makes you make excuses as to why you’re not doing something or another. I talked about the fact that you don’t need permission to be awesome. I’ve also talked about the fact that there’s going to be friends who will do what they can to shoot you down and I’ve talked about the fact that there’s no right time for awesomeness. I’ve talked about how fear is a motivator, so you’re probably tired of me harping the points. But it comes down to fear. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of public places, fear… fear of change.

Everyone’s got the fear of change to some extent, but there’s going to be excuses which don’t even mention the fear of change. There’s going to be ‘well, this person’s standing in my way’ or ‘I don’t have enough money’ or something to that effect. You know what? These are just excuses because very few folks want to admit that they fear change. So, I look at those who aren’t making enough money… and I think that they’re scared to pursue other avenues. I find folks who aren’t doing what they love because they’re scared of enjoying it, or scared of the change, or scared that they’ll get fired from their current job. Excuses are ways of saying, “I’m scared.”

Comfort and Fear

You’re preventing yourself from becoming awesome. You’re captivated by your fears. And you’re looking at your imprisonment and thinking that you could very well become comfortable with the bars. Having the yoke around your neck is quite soothing because it’s something that you’ve been taught to endure for a long, long time. So you keep with the job that you’ve got, and you keep with the partner that you’ve got, and you keep with the money situation that you’ve got because you fear change, and that fear of change convinces you that you’re comfortable where you are. So you’re playing comfortable… you know, like those socially awkward people trying to convince themselves that they’re really comfortable with the way that things are.

Don’t forget laziness

Fear, comfort and laziness are the holy trinity of not getting crap done. You’re stuck sitting around the house, waiting for the miracle, but you don’t want to get off of your ass to pursue it. You’re waiting for the way out, and you’re waiting for the opportunity to happen… but the thing is, is that opportunities happen for those who are constantly putting their feelers out to the world. Opportunities happen for those who are looking for them. Opportunities and really cool stuff happens to those folks who were there at the time. We get comfortable and lazy because there’s no goals on the agenda. Pretty soon, that time has passed and things have changed anyway. Damn.

So how do you get out of it, and become awesome?

Do something

There’s a bunch of ways to become awesome. Here, I talk about practices and persistence that makes it easier for us to DO stuff rather than not do stuff. You’re more awesome, point blank, when you’re doing stuff that is in tune with your passions and and you’re combining it with persistent self effort. Take eleven minutes out of your day and use it to pursue the thing that you’re wanting. No excuses. No rigamarole. No whining. Just do something for that eleven minutes.

Record it

Doing stuff in public offers a great push toward the awesomeness. So, if you’re working to lose some pounds, talk about it in one of your blogs. If you’re stopping smoking, then take that and talk about it. Whatever you’re doing, talk about it in a potentially public forum. You know why? That way, you have some of your own personal accountability going on. You have something that you can refer back to in a pinch, and look at the pep talk and remember that exuberance that you felt when you first started. You’re going to spend a ton of time looking at your own personal pep talks.

Make that thing public

One thing that public acknowledgment of your doing stuff has is that others can potentially hold you accountable to that thing. In other words, you might not have the faith or confidence in yourself to be awesome, but you might have the faith and confidence in other people to be irritated with you if you don’t follow through. Don’t be afraid to make those bold claims as you’re working to pursue the things that you love. When you’re talking about it, that means that your mind is focused on it. When you’re planning, stuff works out better than if you weren’t.

Go around the barrier

Your mental landscape is an awesome place. There’s two realms that are fighting it out for dominance. There’s rulers of those kingdoms which have strengths and weaknesses. There’s thoughts which show which side is winning at any given point in time. One side plans out junk. The other side is impulsive. As the one who’s controlling the planned out side, you’ve gotta be the one who dictates the behavior. So, you’re finding stuff that’s preventing you from doing the awesome thing. Well, you don’t have to walk through the barriers that the other side has put up. You can walk around. So, you see awesome on the other side of the barrier, the trip might be a little longer… but you’ll still be able to get your paws on the prize.

Look for different ways of doing the stuff that you’re having trouble with. See if there’s anything that fits into your own mental landscape, see if there’s anything that particularly resonates within you. You might be sitting there and looking at the fear from one angle.. but when you gaze at it from another.. it’s two dimensional and not this insurmountable wall ST:TNG had an episode about two dimensional beings that are difficult to detect through standard means)

Tiny Tiny Tiny Eeedy Beedy Steps

That fear is a result of that other side of your brain saying ‘hey, we’re going to die’ … and that part of your brain fears dying more than anything. The bitch here is that there’s absolutely no degrees of ‘we’re going to die, we’re not going to do it’ — it’s either on or off, engaged or idle. But, you can play games with yourself on getting over the fears. You play the one that you might have played with a sibling or your parents… the ‘see how close I can get without annoying them’ game. You decide that you want to stop smoking.. well, freaking out the crazy part of your noggin isn’t going to help. So.. instead of that, tell yourself that you’re still a smoker, you’re not having a smoke right now. Or if you’re a compulsive spender.. you have the money, you’re just not buying anything right NOW.

So, when you’re all fearful about the future because the back of your brain thinks that you’re going to die, there’s a few ways to handle the shivering and the shaking that comes with fear. I’ve found that taking the tiny steps really helps. If I go a little further and a little further.. the thing that’s supposed to be fearful gets pushed further and further back. After a while, it’s pushed back far enough so something can be done.

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