The Folly of Fear-based Choices

I have done some pretty stupid things in my life. One time, I bought a new car, because my old one had an oil leak. The price to fix it was about the same as one month’s payment on the new car. If I would have taken the time, I might have been able to fix it myself. I even got the name of a friend’s friend that could have fixed it for a case of beer. Instead of dealing with the problem, I ran away from it and ran toward a whole new problem (the new car).

The best thing I could have done back then was get the car fixed. Unfortunately, I was a little on the shy side and didn’t like to ask for help. Why? Who knows, and my avoidance of that problem led to many more financial problems down the road.

I haven’t done something that stupid in a long time. But I still occasionally dip my spoon into the bowl of stupid and partake of it. Usually, this has to do with my own insecurities. I don’t want to look foolish in other people’s eyes. And my perception of their possible perception of me drives me to do some silly things.

For instance, if we are talking and I don’t understand what you are saying, I will ask you to repeat it. If I can’t get it the second time, I might nod my head in agreement. This could be some valuable information, and now I am missing it. When I can’t connect the blanks later on, I have to go through the painful process of trying to reacquire it much to the dismay of the person that gave it to me.

The idea that someone would judge me based on my lack of knowledge, on my inexperience, or naivete is almost paralyzing. Yes, I know this is an ego problem. But it’s the truth. I try do anything I can to avoid it. Well at least until recently.

It has taken me a painfully long time to learn this lesson, but I have to stop worrying about other’s opinions of me. There’s a good chance, nobody is really even paying that much attention to me anyway. If my quest is knowledge, I can’t allow imaginary obstacles to prevent from obtaining it. I have to let go of my pride and remain the student.

Men go to far greater lengths to avoid what they fear than to obtain what they desire. –Dan Brown

The things we fear are often only a figment of our imaginations. It would be a shame if that is what is keeping us from pursuing the goals that would lead us to a better life.

Train for Courage

Courage 12/12/2019

Those first two months in my new position at work was rough. Everything was new. My level of expertise was developed in a quick training plan. I had very little experience in the field to draw from. To present my work was daunting as well. What if I made the wrong call? It could have an effect on the livelihoods of my fellow co-workers.

But as the days went by, I developed a greater familiarity with the work I was doing. I continued to train on my own. I grew in experience. Now, I make calls with greater confidence and present those calls without fear.

It’s my theory that the better trained you are, the more natural courage you have, because you have a belief in yourself. –David Hackworth

What are the things you fear? Is it a rational fear, or is it something that you can conquer? If other people have found a way, then it is possible for you to find a way as well. Bring to light that which you fear. Become familiar with it. Train for the inevitability that you will have to one day face that fear. Prepare yourself now, so that you don’t shy away from it when the day comes. With courage you will be able to rely on your training and overcome the obstacle that stands in your way.

Wasted Mental Effort

There have been many times that I have played the scenario out in my head. Stricken with anxiety, I mentally act out each step. How will it go down? How can I prevent the inevitable? When the trial has come and gone, it rarely was ever as bad as I imagined it. All the stress was for no reason. It was wasted mental effort that could have been put to better use.

We are not fortune tellers. We cannot predict the future. No good comes from imagining and then expecting the worse case scenarios to come true. What happens, happens. We can prepare daily to overcome any obstacles thrown our way. But to live them out before they occur is an exercise in futility.