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September 20, 2022

It's Not As Bad As You Think It Is

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Have you ever talked yourself out of doing something that was important to you? Maybe you were with a group of friends and you didn’t have the courage to explore something new. Maybe you’ve been postponing an important conversation because you don’t want to create confrontation. Or maybe you’re unwilling to dive into a new passion because you don’t know what you’re signing up for.

What I’ve found to be true in my life is that it’s usually not as bad as you think it is. Exploring with friends wasn’t as scary as you thought it would be. That tough conversation was actually well-received by the other person. You discover that you're more capable than you believed yourself to be once you got your hands dirty in that new passion.

The reason people are so hesitant to do new things is because they talk themselves out of it. They tell themselves a convincing story that rationalizes why they shouldn’t do something. In that internal dialogue, what’s happening is your subconscious mind is preventing you from doing things that might threaten you. It’s the uncertainty and unpredictability of the outcome that prevents people from getting started, because what comes to mind is the worst case scenario (which of obviously undesirable).

This is called negativity bias. Our brains have evolved to flag the negative things that could happen to protect us. So by default, when there’s doubt or uncertainty, your mind fills in the gaps with the things that could go wrong because that’s what will keep you safe.

But it’s very rare that the worst case scenario actually plays out. That’s why it’s not as bad as you think it is. You experience the reality of the situation rather than the assumed negative outcomes your mind forecasts, and you’re pleasantly surprised when you experience the truth of it. It’s not as scary, challenging, painful, or threatening as you made it out to be. And when you start to see through the story your mind is making up about whatever it is in front f you, you can start pursuing things more courageously and with more confidence.

Now let’s integrate this concept into your life by reflecting on this question - What’s something that you want to do but you’ve postponed it because you don’t know enough about it?

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