Fear and Doubts come in many forms. The fear of failure, the fear of success. We feel overwhelmed.
We all know that we have to set goals. Setting goals is one thing – reaching them is something else.
How our brain works
Now, the way our brain – that fascinating, mysterious organ – works is: It is really, really good at getting us what we want. It is not good at understanding negations. It is funny how the organ bearing our intellect and intelligence is pretty simple when it comes to linguistic.
Our brain does EXACTLY what we tell him
If we sit down and write down a goal. Our brain gets ready for success. And let’s say then fear takes over, and we think thoughts like: “I can never do it”. Our brain understands: “Oh he wants more of “I can never do it”. Ok, I will get that for him.”
Did you ever notice how germ freaks get sick over average? It is just one of many examples. But if you think “Ughh this person there has a cold. I don’t want to get a cold. I hope I don’t get a cold from this person”. Your brain will probably just understand: “Ah, he wants a cold, let us send the message to the body”. While that will probably not get you a runny nose in the next second, it enhances your chances of getting a cold.
Some people would think of themselves as “positive thinkers” when they are really not. How about: “I will not fail again”. Is that a positive message for the brain?
Why we must check the wording of our affirmations
The universe has 1 million different ways to get us what we want. The more concrete our affirmations are, the more we limit the success. I believe it is best not to tell the universe how to do it’s job and limit our possibilities. So instead of saying: “I will succeed in this job” it is better to say “I will succeed”. Our system is likely to overlook potential other ways to achieve what we want when it presents itself to us. Because we gave a concrete order.
How about self-worth?
Did you ever notice how many people with sudden success get very unhappy with it? They lose their money very soon or resort to drugs and even get depressed.
That is because they deem themselves unworthy. Saying “I want this and that” is not enough. We also have to BELIEVE that we are worth it.
I would like to change an old saying a little bit: Be careful that when you wish for something you are ready to receive it, as you might get it.
One of the most important rules of success is: Be sure you feel you are worthy of the success.
Now here is another trick the brain loves playing with us. I will not go into a scientific explanation on how the brain works. A very simplified way would be to say we have two parts in our brain. The “intellectual” one and the “hunter”.
The hunter regulates everything that has to do with surviving and limiting pain and damage to ourselves. Like when we jump to the side when we see a car driving directly towards us.
Do you blink when a fly is hitting your windshield while you are driving in a closed car?
You would not have blinked if you had thought about it.
While the intellectual is excellent at being creative, thinking things through and creating the hunter only knows: “fight” or “run”.
The hunter stores everything negative that has ever happened to us. This is important as this information is needed to protect us. Most of the time.
Fear and doubts are the reactions of events that happened in the past
The way the hunter works is that as soon as something reminds us even the tiniest biton something negative from the past it will warn us. “It will hurt again”. “No, this is bad”.
That is good when it comes to putting your hand in a pot of boiling water. Not so good when it comes to achieving personal or career goals. No matter if you think: “omg, I am afraid I fail” or if you think “I will not fail again” – we give the brain all the wrong orders. We will attract what we fear most.
For as long as the hunter is in control we will not create, and we will not succeed.
The intellectual does not know about pain. It is analytic, creative and in a way more logical while also being artsier. It finds ways. Not objections.
We do not “fail”. We fall forwards. Every time we fell we learned something on the way that will help us being successful next time.
How to get out of blocking yourself/fear/doubt
When we are in “fear mode” we are in survival mode. The first step is to sit back and analyze your fear. Why are you afraid of failure? Maybe you are afraid you cannot pay your bills. Or how people perceive you when you “fail”. Once you have analyzed the fear, you will understand where it is coming from. Probably a trigger of something in the past. You ARE not afraid of fire before you get burned the first time.
Over time from doing this exercise our brain will create new neuronal networks. The times when the hunter takes over will get less.
Obviously that is not possible when the cold hand of self-doubt already has their hand around our neck. What we do then is we tell the hand to back off for a moment and sit back. Certain breathing techniques can help calming us down (separate post one sunny day). RATIONALIZING our fear calms us down too.
Start a dialog with the hunter when it tells you to shut your system down because you might fail. Ask it: “Hey, hunter, why would you think that.” Hunter will probably answer something like: “well, you know how the electricity company wanted to turn our power off.”. Or “remember susy from 3rd grade who broke your heart”. And you tell it. Hunter, buddy, we are not in 3rd grade anymore, and this is not Susy but an entirely different person. At one point hunter will be like “whatever…I warned you” and let intellectual take over again. At that moment, you can think clearly again. If you treat the new lady like Susy she will probably behave like her, and you indeed will be hurt again.
Whenever you hear a sentence like: I always get … (whatever….sacked, cheated on) you know what has happened. A hunter in his wish to protect has made sure a person sends all the wrong messages to their brains causing it to attract more negative.
After decluttering split it up
Creating an online business, setting goals for the next three years can be a handful. On the way, you learn about a zillion things you did not learn. That is scary to think about. That is why it helps to split it up into little, easy to chew, chunks. Plan what you do this weak. Or this day. Or even the next hour. You will see, it will look way less scary then AND your way is plastered with many small successes.
Two additional tips: 80/20 rule. We achieve 80 percent of any project in 20 percent of the time. Meaning the remaining 20 percent would cost us an extra 80 percent of the time it took us to create the first 80 percent.
70 rule. When you have to learn something look at the world around you. If 50 percent of all people can do it, you can do it easily. If 70 percent of all people can do it, so can you.
Commitment vs formal goal
One thing I am uncertain about is the formal act of writing goals down. 10 years ago I attended a negotiation training. The guy was great. For my next meeting (selling Data Mining projects)I prepared just like I learned. I wrote down my walk-away, my highest possible and my great goal. It turned out the company was just purchased by another company and wanted to make sure they are in control after the merger. I walked out with 4 times my highest goals. Looking back that often happened to me. I was never someone who set goals. Even though, the best of the best all tell you should. I was always committed.
Personally, I believe it is about self-worth, commitment, and emotional intelligence. You can write down on a piece of paper and nail it to your forehead as much as you want. If you are not committed, you will likely not achieve it. I do not recommend to stop setting goals though. Too many clever people believe in it. What works for me might not work for you . Maybe I am just lucky. (One could argue though that “luck” is a combination of being open for success of any size and eliminating “hunter”. And believing firmly “it will be good”).
If you are interested you “try” to do something. Maybe even with the expectation that it might or might not work. You will not give it your all.
If you are committed you are focused. You give a clear signal to your brain. Your brain will find a way. And even if you SHOULD fail…remember: We do not fail, we fall forward.