Taking Chances & Making Changes

KSL Television ~ Studio 5� 

“Take that leap of faith”ââ?¬Â¦”Feel the fear and do it anyway”ââ?¬Â¦”Jump and the net will appear.” These common phrases support the notion that we can indeed take risks and make necessary changes in our life. So, who or what trips us up along the way and tells us we can’t? It isn’t failing we fear; it’s our thoughts about failing that are debilitating. Many people attribute the fear of taking chances with the fear of failure. We gravitate towards homeostasis as human beings. We like what’s familiar.Ã? Our situation may actually be very uncomfortable but at least we know it! There are no surprises. I often tell clients weÃ? need to get sick and tired of being sick and tired in order for us to be motivated enough to change. It’s all about shifting our focus. Psychology is very simple – whatever you focus on is what you’re going to think; whatever you think is how you’re going to feel; and however you feel is exactly what you’re going to do. We have to want to change and experience life to the fullest, more than we want to stay comfortable. That requires risk!

Let Future Regret Motivate

Simply put: If you are never scared, embarrassed, or hurt, it means you’re not taking chances, pushing and pursuing personal growth. But there is risk in not risking: there will come the day, 20 years down the road, when we’ll look back at our lives, and we will be more disappointed by the things we didn’t do than by the ones we did. Pain or imagined regret can be motivating. I think this is why “Life-Lists” have become so popular. Individuals are making lists of things they want to accomplish while they’re alive. Live with the future (or end) in mind. And remember, it’s not actually doing something new that frightens us; it’s our thinking about doing something new that is detrimental.

“I’ll Handle It!”

So how do we contain these fearful thoughts? Have you ever noticed how children will take a chance? They’re not afraid of being wrong! A six-year-old was putting her whole heart and soul into a drawing of God. And her teacher said, “But nobody really knows what God looks like.” And without missing a beat, she said, “They will in a minute!” If we’re not prepared to be wrong or challenged, we won’t risk trying our hand at anything new. Ask yourself, “what is the worst possible thing that will happen if” and attachÃ? it to anything. For example, “What would happen ifÃ? I try and make crÃ?¨me brulee for the dinner party and it fails?” Or, “What if I reach out to someone and thy dismiss me?” Or, “What if I paint the house and I don’t like it?” The answer? “I’m going to do the best I can to prepare myself and then I’ll handle whatever happens!” Get to the place where NOT trying your hand at something causes more discomfort than trying and failing. You will be wiser regardless of the outcome.

Learning = Doing What You Can’t

Many times we’re afraid ofÃ? doingÃ? something new because we don’t know how to do it. But isnt’ that the whole point of learning something new? Keep doing what you cannot do until you can. Learning something new actually changes the brain physically. The brain is primed to seek and respond to what is novel. Any major break away from the ordinary – even brushing your teeth with the opposite hand – stimulates the brain. Our memory, cognition, and motor abilities start to decline around 30 (if you can believe!) but anytime you learn a new skill, you change the brain physically. Let’s say you learn a new piece on the piano – from Chopsticks to Chopin – if you looked at the brain after mastering it, you’d see changes in the response of millions of neurons. The brain is a ââ?¬Ë?plastic’ instrument that has continuous capacity for change.

Keep doing what you cannot do – it’s the only way we learn anything, and it keeps our brains fit which is every bit as important as physical fitness.

Take One Risk Everyday

This is from the wisdom of Eleanor Roosevelt. “Do one thing everyday that scares you.” And, if you knew you couldn’t possibly fail…..what would you do? Ask an acquaintance out to lunch. Pick up the phone andÃ? return that call you’ve been dreading.Ã? Take up a new sport, class, or hobby. Reach out to a professional for mentoring. If someone responds oddly to you simply say, “Hey, I’m taking new risksââ?¬Â¦this is one!” There is something about honesty that brings defenses down and confidence up.

Risking daily allows you to live in an ampler world. Risking allows you to be somebody else – someone gutsier – in small doses, and then savor overtime the rewards of that courage.

Again, it all goes back to our beliefs. And particularly our belief about what we feel we deserve.

“How Good Can I Stand It?”

A question I often ask my clients is, “How good can you stand it?” Most of us can’t stand it really good – “I mean, what would the neighbors think? What would my family say? If it’s too good, surely something bad will happen. I don’t deserve to have things too good.” Very often we hit a comfort level and don’t go past it because of our self-imposed limits. We all have a threshold of deservingness. I have found the best to clear out the confusion is to start being grateful for anything, even this pen or my notes. When I do, I change my inner state and begin to attract (or at least to notice) more to be grateful for. When you are honest about the goals or life-list you want to accomplish, answer them with “Why not me?” Just how good can I stand it? And keep raising the bar!