July 13, 2021

Your Next Want

You've said it; you’ve heard it; you’ve been asked it - what do you want? It’s a huge question and most of us have a list. It’s too much to ask. I want to be financially stable. I want a puppy. I want to have millions. I want to retire. I want to live in a lakefront mansion and sip iced tea all day.

We all dream of winning the lottery. We all let our minds wander to places where we perceive our problems will vanish and life will be endless bliss. It's like the old story of the nine year old boy who is once asked; "So Sam, what do you want to be when you grow up?" and Sam quickly replies; "I wanna be rich!" 

Tougher Done Than Said

It took me years to grasp the concept of the fear of success. It sounded counterintuitive. The fear of failure, to me, is easy to understand. You don't want to fall on your face or run out of money or have to give up things you have your life. The embarrassment of failing is terrible. But, what about our fear of what we will do if what we try actually works? How will you handle the responsibility of that dream coming true?

The marketing genius Seth Godin once challenged that it's easier to fail small. Complaining about the fact we never amount to anything or we're not meant to win or no one ever gives us a break, is way easier than the unwavering persistence required to achieve something we want.

It's Way Too Big

In my opinion, it's easy to say you want a Bugatti Veyron because odds are pretty good it will never happen. It's much more difficult to identify the small shifts we need to make every day to get to the bigger dreams we possess. My business partner and I have been working on a project for close to a year. There are days we wonder if we are out of our minds. But each day, you push a bit more, ask a little bit more, and keep at it. Giving up now will only make us forever wonder what if we had kept going. 

You have dreams. You have things you want to accomplish. You have stuff that may feel a little out of reach. But I'm willing to bet if you suspend those for just today and think about what you could do right now to get what you need right now or your next want, over time, those bigger things will come clearer into focus. 

Let's try that and see what happens.

July 3, 2021

Forward Steps Back

I was thinking about a situation that happened a couple of years ago that sucked. Life moved on but I still think about it. I've asked numerous people if they have events they relive in their heads over and over again. The answer is almost always yes because most of us do. But why is that?

I'm not suggesting we don't relive happy memories, but the challenges seem to cut deeper for some reason. Is it perhaps because we are still learning a lesson? I know this, the more we try and not think about those events, the more we think about them. If I was to ask you to not think about an orange elephant riding a motorcycle  good luck getting that image out of your head!

Beware of the Lizard Brain

I'd consider myself a fairly smart dude, so why can't I just tell myself to stop letting something that has already happened, which I cannot change, continue to bug me? It has to do with the part of the limbic system in our brains that is in charge of fight, flight, feed, fear, or freeze. It is our survival mechanism which decides what we do next if we are experiencing stress. It's why we can't seem to get started on the project even though we know the deadline looms.

If we have a situation, current or past, real or imagined, it will react immediately. If we are experiencing or have experienced pain, it will focus solely on that moment. When I think of that event, it's as if I am reliving it over and over again. 

Negative vs Positive

Perhaps this is more prevalent in Western culture, but we seem to do it more often when remembering negative situations over joyous ones. Do we think we don't deserve joy and need to pay for pain? I'm obviously not a psychologist but I think there's something to that. Our frontal lobe is in charge of reasoning, motor skills, higher level cognition, and expressive language. So our complicated brain starts to fight with itself. 

I've started an exercise and like most when you begin, I'm terrible at it, but I'm trying to think of five positive things in my life or events that have happened whenever a negative thought or memory crosses my mind. When I can do it successfully, it actually works. So perhaps you can try it if you can't seem to get past a negative event in your past.

I wonder how the elephant balances on that motorcycle? 

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