What limiting beliefs will you face today? What fears will you dissolve today?
Many people experience discomfort each December and January. December is a really busy month for adults. We’re scurrying around, buying everything in sight for others that we can get our hands on. We’re shuffling off to party after party after party. We’re doing road trips to the in-laws or the in-laws are coming into town to stay with us. We’re trying our best to keep everyone in our lives happy this time of year.
Then, as if all that weren’t tough enough, we’ve got our New Year’s resolutions to write and then worry about, too. We’re quite good at setting ourselves up for stress. It’s no wonder we’re so stressed out. We’re maxed-out. And to top it all off, we’re catching a cold. Sound familiar?
Yet, we push through. We don’t have a choice, really. I suppose we could throw up our hands, capitulate, and then curl up into a ball on the floor for awhile. You could do that, but then you eventually have to get up and face life’s harshness, no matter how brutal the things are you must face.
It is good to face these discomforts. These are what build resilience in people. We cannot only seek pleasure nonstop. We’d be heathens if we did that. And we’d be fat and sassy if we chose that. There has to be some push back on what it is we do. There must be some resistance, whether creative, educational, disciplinary, professional, physical, or otherwise.
Comfort and discomfort are yin and yang, two sides of the same coin. In order to get to the one we want, we often have to go through the one we don’t want or want to minimize in our lives. In order to get the six pack abs, we must go through the discomfort of kettlebell swings and crunches and eating foods we really don’t want to eat again and again and again.
In order to get wealthy, we must go through the discomfort of saving, making proper investment decisions, and even losing money on our road to wealth.
In order to get the good-paying job, we must go through the discomfort of a ten or fifteen or twenty-year career where we experience the roller-coaster ride chock full of emotional ups and giant downs.
We typically must go through the discomfort before we can get to the comfort of what it is we want.
There is good news to be found here. It turns out the the discomfort, when properly faced, isn’t so bad after all. Like any fear, the more you stand tall, proud and face it, the less negative effect it has upon you.
The way I see it, you really do not have a choice but to face your fears head-on. You either face them and sit with them and deal with them or you let them dominate you, diminish you, vanquish you. To me, there is no choice there. I pick the first one: facing them, sitting with them, dealing with them.
If we take the macro, 30,000 ft. view from above our fears, we can see that they’re really a reflection of how we were raised. What did your parents fear? What do they still fear? What your parents fear is very likely what you fear today. If your mom has a deep hatred for spiders, you also harbor a deep hatred for spiders. If your dad always talked about money being one, big, giant pain in the ass, you also likely think today that money is still one, big, giant pain in the ass. If your mom was afraid of getting on an airplane and likely still is, you probably didn’t fly much as a kid, if at all. You may not have even stepped foot onto an airplane until you turned 25.
My dad was scared to death of the water for the first 25 years of his life.
It wasn’t until he met my mom that she calmed him down around water, talked some sense into him, proved to him that she was fine in the water, gradually got him to step into the water on the shallow end, worked it a little farther each day, kept him calm, got him some swimming lessons, got him to eventually dunk his own head underwater (a big step) and know that he would be OK after it, and slowly he became comfortable in the water, facing it again and again and again, and beat his fear of it.
Laugh if you wish. The esteemed Tim Ferriss was the same way. He hated the water for the longest time. He’ll tell you. And Tim grew up on Long Island.
Note that being afraid of the water is no more irrational / strange / weird than being afraid to step onto an airplane. It’s no weirder than being scared to death of spiders or snakes. It is no weirder than being scared to death of money or thinking it is super scarce, hard to come by, a royal pain to deal with, that you will never, ever have enough of it no matter what.
What these really are, are limiting beliefs about ourselves. These were simply things we were taught. We don’t learn to hate things or to be scared of things on our own. People teach us these things. Either parents or teachers or other pseudo-authority figures foist their limiting beliefs or strongly-held negative opinions onto wildly impressionable kids, and thus instill their own limiting beliefs into them. Some teaching. Some gift. (Almost makes you want to cry, doesn’t it?)
Yes, it is sad. The good news is there is something you can do about it, though: you can make sure it ends with you.
You can make sure the irrational fear ends with you. Not on your watch. No. No more.
You can take comfort in the fact that millions and millions of people hop on airplanes each day of the year and fly around the world and are perfectly safe at their destinations.
You can take comfort in the fact that 95% of all spiders are harmless creatures who are far more scared of you than you ought to be of them. Same thing with the snakes.
You can take comfort in the fact that you can learn to dissolve your fear of public speaking by joining Toastmasters, a group of people designed to ease people into the art of speaking easily, quickly and supportively.
You can take comfort in the fact that millions of people swim in the water every day around the world and do not drown. They emerge from the water post-swim perfectly safe, refreshed and happy to have done it.
You can take comfort in the fact that just because your parents disliked money, never felt like they had enough money, didn’t really understand money, and simply always seemed to have trouble with money doesn’t mean you have to be the same way. Many people have money figured out, and no, they’re not the lottery winners. (Most lottery winners go right back to where they were with money before the big win merely a few years later.)
Look at money as a problem to be solved, a discipline, a force of energy. And you get to pick its energy force: either positive or negative. Money can be used for positive things. Money can be used for negative things. Money is not inherently good or bad. It is what we choose to do with it that makes it that thing. Money is simply a problem to be solved. Find someone who has solved it and model them.
You can take comfort in the fact that you can change your limiting beliefs. You can turn them sideways. You can turn them on their heads. Millions of people have done exactly this, and they are so much better off thereafter.
It begins with the theatre of the mind. What will you choose to face today? What will you pick to deal with today? What will you stand up to today and shout, “No more!”
What’s been holding you back? What limiting belief will you choose to dissolve today?