I often wonder how often I am truly afraid. Sure we all have fears, but if you stop and think about it, more often than not isn’t fear another word for procrastination?
Every aspect of your life can be affected by fear, but it would seem that more often than not this is not fear per se, but this is merely procrastination rearing its ugly head. A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, so what stops us from consistently taking that first step? The simple answer is also one of the cruelest ironies of life–that inaction is much easier than action.
Why does fear stop us?
You know that for pretty much every human being on planet earth, losing weight will have tremendous benefits for their life. If we can assume that most everyone would agree with that statement, why do people struggle with their weight?
Because inaction is easy, and action is, not hard, but harder. When you have been at work all day, and you are tired and cranky what is easier when you come home-popping open a beer, ordering a pizza and watching a game on TV or working out for an hour and eating a healthy, sensible dinner? Yeah, you are right I would much prefer to do the former rather than the latter. Why? Because it feels good, yet it is not nearly as good for us as the latter. At that moment, the inaction seems a lot more pleasurable than the action.
So are you ever truly afraid?
Of course, you are. Like it or not, fear impacts every part of our life. Fear of rejection, fear of the unknown, fear of change…These are all reasonable fears, yet they all have the common thread of a lack of ability to take that first step.
Going back to losing weight, haven’t you ever dreaded getting on a treadmill but then after a few minutes you start to loosen up a bit, you start to get that endorphin rush, and by the end of the run, you feel great body, mind, and soul? Have you ever wanted to ask somebody you are attracted to out but stopped yourself because of fear of rejection or humiliation or whatever you imagine the worst outcome could be? Have you ever gotten up the nerve to ask somebody out and been rejected?
We have all probably been down these roads in our lives, and I am willing to bet that even though neither are necessarily pleasant experiences, in the long run taking action is far more satisfying than not and therein is the key: I don’t think the result of the action is nearly as important as taking the action itself.
So now you know what is stopping you? How do you make a change?
We are like new pianos. Yeah, I know–what does that mean? When you get a new piano you have to constantly have it tuned because the strings are new and they get out of tune quite easily; however, over time they begin to “learn” that in-tune state and pretty soon you are only having your piano tuned occasionally.
If you are letting fear and procrastination limit your life, you have to re-tune your brain, your physical being, heck every single part of you to learn a new way to re-tune yourself so staying “in tune” becomes the rule and not the exception.
We have taken the first step, how do we walk the other 999.99 miles?
In theory, this is the easy part, yet in practice, it is the most challenging. Your fear wants to stop you and convince you to put off to tomorrow what you should do today. Stop doing that!
I find simple things matter. I put a small sign on my bathroom mirror that I see at least every morning and every night that reads “enough?”. Am I doing enough? Am I spending enough quality time with my kids? Am I working out enough? Am I eating right? Am I pushing myself to do work that is great instead of just good or OK?
A corny saying I know, but I am doing that little bit extra so that my life is extraordinary instead of just ordinary. That’s the real trick–no huge change, no monumental epiphanies, just a small, steady change in everything you do in every minute of your life. You don’t walk the entire 1,000 miles at once; you take the first step.
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