How Playing It Safe Can Ruin Your Life by Gary Korisko

ImageImageHave you ever missed out on a great opportunity because you played it safe?

Think about it. Look back over your life and think about the things you could have done. The opportunities you could have taken, the people you could have befriended, the experiences you could have savoured.

But back then those things seemed scary and risky. Wanting to play it safe, you elected to stay in your comfort zone at the time.

From where you sit now, you can easily and clearly see that you should have acted upon some of those things. In retrospect, those things were scary or risky at all – just different and new. They were, in all actuality, blessings that you walked away from.

It’s a sobering and outright sad feeling, isn’t it?

 

Playing It Safe Isn’t About Safety At All

You’re not the only one who has done that. Most of us have a tendency to play it safe.

Some of us equate playing it safe with being sensible and prudent. But most of the time, it’s something else all together.

The real problem isn’t safety or risk at all. The real problem is fear.

As humans, we are hard-wired to allow fear into our decision making. Most of us simply don’t understand fear, where it comes from, or the role it plays in what we choose to do or not do.

By understanding it more, you can prevent fear from clouding your decision-making process.

It’s Not Brain Surgery

What if I were to tell you that there was a little tiny part of your brain that pre-wires you to avoid risk and play it safe? Well, there actually is.

It’s called the amygdala and it plays a big part in what motivates us to behave the way we do. One of the functions of the amygdala is processing emotions – particularly those associated with survival. Like the emotion of fear for instance.

When you are in a familiar situation that you know to be safe, your amygdala is happy and secure – and so are you. But when something new or seemingly risky comes along, the amygdala kicks into high gear. It lets you know, “Hey, we’re outside our comfort zone here. Retreat! Withdrawal!”

Sometimes that reaction can save your life. Other times it can hold you back from a more fulfilling life.

The trick is learning to know the difference between valid fears of very real danger to our safety – and invalid fears of something new.

Mauled or Embarrassed – The Choice Is Yours

There are basically two types of decisions we make when we perceive danger or consequences. The first type, I call safe decisions – which are survival based. They keep us alive and assure we have adequate food and shelter. The second type I refer to as fearful decisions – which tend to keep us from taking less life-threatening risks and prevent us from spreading our wings.

Let’s take a look at some examples of both.

Safe or Feaurful

Safe decisions come from a very real fear of severe consequences to your health, life, or quality of life – while fearful decisions come from someplace completely different.

Look at that right hand column. If any one of those scenarios goes as badly as it’s capable of going, what happens? Does anyone die, go to prison, or lose their shelter? No. As it turns out the things we fear most seem to be much more about our feelings than they are about very serious consequences.

“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened.” – Mark Twain

Our Five Most Common Baseless Fears

In my professional life, I’ve noticed time and time again that there are five major feelings-based fears that people let trip them up on their path to a better life. You’ll notice that they’re all very closely related.

1: Fear of failure

Have you ever passed on an opportunity to try something truly exciting because you were afraid you might fail at it? I have. The ironic thing is the fact that if you don’t try, you’ve already failed. So there’s really not much to lose. And yet we talk ourselves into believing that by not risking failure we’re somehow better off.

2: Fear of rejection

If you pitched your idea to the boss, or asked out that cute girl you like, or submitted your novel to a publisher, you might get rejected – and rejection hurts. So instead of feeling that emotion, we limit our potential and call it “playing it safe.”

3: Fear of inadequacy

This one usually manifests itself as, “I’m not good enough to do this thing I really want to do.” While this fear doesn’t necessarily originate from survival instinct, it’s no less powerful than any of the others.

4: Fear of unworthiness

Closely related to the fear of inadequacy, the self-talk associated with the fear of unworthiness sounds like, “Who am I to think that I might achieve that thing?” It comes from a place of humility, which normally is a good thing. But it’s also self-deprecating and destructive.

5: Fear of further commitment

This one should sound familiar, because we’re all guilty of it from time to time. We don’t always pass on opportunity because we’re afraid that we’re not good enough. Sometimes we know darn well that we’re good enough, but the ramifications of succeeding and the additional commitment needed after success is achieved scare the bejesus out of us.

Fighting Emotion With Logic

So now that you know that these fears are normal and that you’re not the only one who struggles with them, the question becomes: What can you do to get over them?

I find that instead of fighting raw innate human fears head-to-head, it’s best to use logic to take their power away.

When you find yourself letting any of those fears stop you from bettering yourself, run yourself through these three questions:

1: What is the worst thing that could happen if I ignored my fear and did this?

Take out a pen and paper and list all the potential (realistic) consequences. Would there be a loss of life, health, or livelihood? Or is the real risk just having to temporarily deal with an uncomfortable emotion like rejection or embarrassment?

2: What is the absolute best thing that could happen if I ignored my fear and went for it?

List all these, too. How might your life be different? What things might you learn? Who might you have the opportunity to connect with?

3: Are the possible consequences under #1 worth the potential benefits under #2?

Take a good look at both lists and give this question some thought. If the consequence of a particular action is death and the upside is a 10% pay raise – then your choice is simple. Avoid death.

But if the consequence of your action is rejection and the potential benefit is your dream career, swallow your fear and go for it.

Logic Tames The Beast

I know this seems incredibly simple – and it is. It’s simple and obvious because we just took an emotional issue and made it logical.

When you take the emotional power away from your fear and look at the situation as data – good decisions become much easier.

Do me a favor. The next time you find yourself “playing it safe”, run yourself through this quick exercise. Reduce the emotional to the logical. Then come back and let us know how things turned out.

Link to original post: http://addicted2success.com/life/how-playing-it-safe-can-ruin-your-life/

SUCCESS REDEFINED

“The definition of success–To laugh much; to win respect of intelligent persons and the affections of children; to earn the approbation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give one’s self; to leave the world a little better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition.; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm, and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived–this is to have succeeded.”— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Success is not determined by your background, your childhood, your environment and it does not favor a particular DNA makeup. It does not depend on what you do not have but what you have. You can only offer what you have, you cannot go beyond that but you can stretch your thoughts to an extent that it gets you going and off the ground. Success answers to a particular thought system in which you create on your mind. It’s the state that gives you the required energy needed to push on even in the midst of the storm. In everyone lies the potential to succeed no matter how often we have failed. Winston Churchill defined success as going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm. Every step to success is filled with a predicament to failure but it depends on how you view both personally. It is either you see failure as a stepping stone to success or failing indeed. Most people do not believe that they can do great things, they just aim for mediocrity. They do all they do because everyone else is doing it.

Remember Thomas Edison, does it ring a bell. If you have not known him yet, I will put it in these simple terms. He invented the light bulb but before he did he failed on so many experiments before the breakthrough. You can only be successful if you experiment often, it does not matter how much time you need to do that. What about Steve Jobs, he did not drop out of school only but he dropped in to a course that set the path for the beautiful fonts we see on our computers today. Abraham Lincoln failed so many times before he became the President of the United States of America. Ask any man that has attained real success they will tell you they really had so many shoddy ride with failure before having a great ride to success. One singular thing distinguished them, they never failed to try.

Success like Wisdom is always available but you choose to answer that call. A lot of people believe that failure is an indicator that you will not succeed but that is not true as you can learn from them and move on. It is even more possible to fail when you take on bigger chances though it sets you on the pace for greater success. It is quite disheartening to see a lot of people go on a suicidal mission because they have been portrayed as failures either through self – judgement or the judgement of others. You cannot live an unhappy life and expect success. Success is a product of happiness. Been cheerful is all about perspective and it will not matter if you are a success or a failure. You choose what you become, how you become what you want to become and you determine why you should become what you want to become. So success comes from the way you act. The way you act comes from the way you feel and think. Therefore to succeed you must first change something within yourself.

In Africa especially my country Nigeria, our view of success needs to be redefined. It is causing a great effect on this present generation. It is more like go to College, study any course, get a degree and pronto you can work in a bank. The fact that money is being counted in the banks does not mean there will be excess money to spend around. More so there are few banks even if more were created it is never enough to meet the large population of youths who vehemently see their future there. There is ample pressure on young people in this country that if you do not go to College, you can never be successful. This has led to the rising population of young people writing University Entry Examination every year with fewer facilities available to accommodate the growing population. So many youths see success as a mirage and as a bid to make quick money. Meanwhile there are still much more young people that are frustrated and depressed. Though there are no excuses for such feelings but that is the price paid for ignorance. We can give the world a challenge, we can bring home anything we want but it must be something positive and different from what it used to be. Our beloved country is in dire need of great thinkers, entrepreneurs and innovators, which could be you. Do not let the situation around sink you into the deep waters instead we should rise up to this challenge. The World Awaits Us.

Every step of failure leaves you with a lesson to succeed. It does not matter how often you have failed but how well you are willing to learn, correct your mistakes and try again. Success is an on-going path, a journey and not a destination.  When you succeed in anything there is always a craving to achieve something greater. Each day presents us with great opportunities. There are always new things we can do, new methods of doing what we know how to do best and keep moving. Success principally depends on the laws of change. Change keeps you aware that you need to succeed even in the midst of failure. Gain knowledge, take action and do not stop trying. Success is in you! It is time to let it out.

It is my utmost desire that youths in my beloved country will discover their potentials, be courageous and confident enough to take that path to greatness.