You probably have heard the phrase “I’ll believe it when I see it.” This is an inherently pessimistic position, refusing to believe without seeing it first-hand. Still, it is my observation that many people go through life with this attitude, always skeptical.
How do you take the first step towards following your passion?
My take on this related to following your passion is that this attitude is really fear. We simply don’t want to believe we can do it. After all, we hear that most businesses fail. The implication is that if we try to start a business, we are likely to fail. Who wants to move forward when its almost assured we can’t succeed?
I have been guilty of this self defeating mindset for a long time. And it doesn’t just apply to starting a business, but in almost any case where we feel our life is not where we would like it to be and make excuses for why we shouldn’t try. We love to see people fail in the media (failure porn). We just can’t get enough of high profile people making huge mistakes, whether it be celebrities, politicians or people we just want to see not succeed.
It is very hard to remain positive in a world with so much negative data coming to us every day, that it is almost like the negative crowds out the positive in our minds.
I do think its possible, in fact necessary to change this around if we really want to enjoy life to its fullest. In fact, “you will see it when you believe it.” Take a moment and read that again. I originally came up with this phrase in a much different setting, but it applies here as well. You will see change, you will see opportunity, you will achieve success only when you believe that you can see it. When you believe in yourself.
Being we take in so much negativity passively throughout the day, it takes deliberate action to change the paradigm towards the positive.
“Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.” – William James
Below are a few tips for changing the pessimistic paradigm and set yourself up for action:
- Refuse to allow yourself to think negative thoughts. If you doubt, if you fear, if you find yourself skeptical, realize that is just a thought and not reality. Compartmentalize that negative thought and replace it with a more positive though. A good book to read that addresses our mindsets is T. Harv Eker’s book “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind.” He goes into states of mind far more thoroughly than I can here.
- Don’t associate with people that are negative. Its said that we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. Surround yourself with positive and action oriented people and they will influence your own actions.
- Associated with the above comment, surround yourself with virtual mentors. Its hard to find real life mentors, and if you can do so…then do so! But also keep in mind there are books, videos and podcasts on subjects related to your passion. Find them and study them. The more you read, learn and bury yourself in positive information, your way of thinking will shift. This has been perhaps the most influential reason I have been able to step out of my comfort zone.
- Write a letter to your fears. Take whatever fear, hesitation, concern that you have that you often think of, that’s holding you back, and name it. More than that, personify it. If its fear of failure, write a letter to failure just as you would if it were a person. This methodology works in grief counseling (writing to death, for example) and it can work for the thing that holds you back. State what its doing to you, how you feel about it and why you are not going to allow it to govern your decisions anymore. This is a concrete step, especially through the physicality of writing. Get mad, let the emotions out and really give it a piece of your mind! It will be cathartic and freeing.
- Take action. This is the hard part, perhaps, but do just one thing, no matter how small, toward your goals. Maybe its setting up a WordPress account, or reaching out to a friend that’s a small business owner, or go to a meetup group. Heck, even go on Linkdin and join an entrepreneur group. Message one of the participants and ask a question. Simply anything. Your mind will automatically try to ‘solve’ whatever is in front of it. If its fear, it will focus on fear and make it real. If its positive, such as reaching out to someone, it will work on ways to make that happen.
Newton’s First Law of Motion (paraphrasing here), is that bodies in motion tend to stay in motion. Once you get going, you are more likely to keep moving.
I remember being a seminary student and having to get up to preach as part of my education. That was a terrifying experience. Not only did my palms sweat, my hands shake, my mouth go dry and my heart pound, I had to wait 20 minutes into the service to stand up and do it. The torture! But I also found that although my voice would shake at times, once I got going, it got easier. In fact, when I finished, it was like the time flew by. But the most important lesson I learned is that people really appreciated what I did. I received a lot of positive feedback, and not because I was a great preacher! No, I think people realize its a difficult task and respect people for putting themselves out there. When I had something of value to say, people would let me know. It was a very humbling experience, and over time I began to look forward to it. Granted the nerves were still there, but it was easier to commit to doing it.
People will support you once you get going, especially if you associate with positive people. In this Country we value self assertiveness, so there won’t be a shortage of people that respect you for what you do.
The bottom line is that you have to believe you can do it, believe you deserve what it is you want, believe you can achieve a better life.
Shift your thinking. When you believe it, you’ll see it.