It’s a common belief that people don’t like change due to the fear of failure and the potential pain that comes with it.
But, is it really change we fear?
Consider this: if you’re not in shape and you want to feel better, you crave the change of being healthier. If you’re struggling financially and want more freedom and choice, you desire the change of having more money.
The Actual Fear
The fear you experience isn’t change itself but the new actions required. Breaking old habits or changing your thinking can be intimidating. Without prior success in an activity, this feeling is understandable.
Questions like “I’ve never done this before, so how do I know I won’t fail?” are common. These are fueled by a culture that often punishes failure, especially on social media. Fear of public humiliation is deeply ingrained in us, a survival tool inherited from our ancestors. For them, where rejection meant life-threatening consequences.
However, reluctance to leave our comfort zone is the biggest nemesis of fulfilling our potential. Inaction leads to missed opportunities and personal growth, and ultimately, regret. The question “What could have happened if I took that action?” can be the most painful.
We Don’t Have To Be Slaves To Our Old Programming
Our modern brains can override ancient fears. Failure can be reframed: a failed attempt is an experience that didn’t yield the desired result. It could be due to incorrect methods, poor timing, or factors beyond your control.
Remember, you have succeeded in many areas. Learning to read, write, walk, drive, or mastering daily work tasks are all skills you developed over time, through mistakes and persistence.
The problem is our focus on mistakes and shortcomings, often amplified by societal norms. This focus can overshadow our successes and hinder growth.
The Simple Solution
A solution I learned from my mentor, Darren, involved experimentation and learning from mistakes. In 2017, Darren tasked me with hosting virtual calls on a platform I was unfamiliar with called ZOOM. His advice was straightforward: “Study the YouTube videos about it, then go push every button. Learn what they do, make mistakes, and learn from them.”
He was urging me to dive into new experiences, accept initial failures, and grow with each attempt. Failure is not the opposite of success; it’s a crucial component. By pushing every button, you allow yourself to experiment, learn, and achieve higher levels of success. This approach is about continuous improvement, resilience, and pursuing excellence.
When you’re learning new tasks or activities, embrace every outcome. Each ‘wrong’ button pushed brings you closer to the right one. Embrace this mindset, and you’ll find that success is not just about reaching a goal, but about the richness of the journey.
My early days of learning, how to master ZOOM were painful and sometimes embarrassing. However, by reviewing the videos and practicing, I was able to master many of the aspects of this valuable online tool.
As a side note, neither Darren, nor I could have predicted he was preparing me for a global pandemic, which forced people into virtual meetings. Because so many people were uncomfortable with this new way of communicating, I was ready to help them because I had three years of experience under my belt — a massive positive benefit I could not have anticipated in those early frustrating days of learning how to use ZOOM.
No matter what you pursue, expect discomfort or fear with new actions. Use that energy to propel you forward. Push every button, discover what works, what doesn’t, and how to adjust. Doing so can lead to success beyond your imagination.
P.S. A word of caution in relationships: avoid pushing your partner’s buttons. That usually leads to conflict and pain—a topic for another post.
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