News Flash: There’s No Such Thing as a “Fear of the Unknown”
How often do you play the What If… game?
What if I take this job and hate it?
What if I decide to move and regret it?
What if I end up broke and homeless?
What if I never fall in love?
You’ll often hear people talking about their fear of the unknown. Let’s pause and think about that. How doyou fear something you don’t yet know about? It’s not possible. So, what you really fear is your inability to handle the unknown.
Chew on that for a moment.
Here’s the good news. Now that you realize what you’re really afraid of, you can work on believing in yourself so you’ll be more confident navigating the twists and turns of life.
A great way to start recognizing your strengths is to make a list of 10 accomplishments. These can be big or small — maybe you completed your doctorate program or knitted your first scarf.
Next, review what you’ve written, and identify the traits and skills it took to accomplish the goals.
Attention to detail?
Ability to think outside the box?
Now, consider how you can apply these traits to this “unknown” that you fear. Doing so will help you to see you have what it takes to handle any and all obstacles.
Another great tactic is to take the “What If?” game a step further to the “Then What?” game by answering the What If.
“What if I take this job and hate it?”
Ok, so what if you do?
“Well, then I’ll be miserable.”
So you’ll be miserable. Then what?
“Well, then I’ll hate going to work.”
So you’ll hate going to work. Then what?
“I’ll have to look for a new job.”
Ok, so you look for a new job. Then what?
You catch my drift. By answering the “What If” with “Then What,” you eventually come to a point where you’ve reached a worst case scenario of sorts. This is where you get to tap into your accomplishment qualities to come up with a plan.
I once read an interview with Tim Ferriss, the author of The Four Hour Work Week, where he said (I’m paraphrasing), “If you fear that you’ll go broke and have to live off rice and beans, then live off rice and beans for a week to see if you can do it. Take the sting out of the fear.”
While that may be a bit extreme, it’s the same idea. Identify your worst case scenario, and then figure out what you’d do.
So to recap, here’s your challenge for this week:
- Write your list of 10 accomplishments.
- Identify the qualities you used to succeed.
- Think of an area of your life where you feel scared or uncertain.
- Consider how you can apply those traits to your worst case scenario.
Tim also said, “Most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.”
Don’t be one of those people.
Come talk with my in the comments of this post to be sure you don’t make that limiting choice.
Until next week, keep taking those small steps to Live Out Loud
Love this. Such a great way to put a positive perspective on a situation where we would normally focus on the negative. Love your writing!
Thanks very much, Kim! It’s all about perspective, right? As most things are…