Greatness appeals to the future. If I can be firm enough to-day to do right, and scorn eyes, I must have done so much right before as to defend me now. Be it how it will, do right now. Always scorn appearances, and you always may. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Trusting intuition and making decisions based on it is the most important activity of the creative artist and entrepreneur. If you are facing (and fearing) a difficult life decision, ask yourself these three questions:
1) “What are the costs of inaction?” I find it can be helpful to fight fear with fear. Fears of acting are easily and immediately articulated by our “lizard brains” (thanks Seth) e.g. what if I fail?What if I look stupid? If you systematically and clearly list the main costs of inaction, they will generally overshadow your immediate fears.
2) “What kind of person do I want to be?” I’ve found this question to be extremely useful. I admire people who act bravely and decisively. I know the only way to join their ranks is to face decisions that scare me. By seeing my actions as a path to becoming something I admire, I am more likely to act and make the tough calls.
3) “In the event of failure, could I generate an alternative positive outcome?” Imagine yourself failing to an extreme. What could you learn or do in that situation to make it a positive experience? We are generally so committed to the results we seek at the outset of a task or project that we forget about all the incredible value and experience that comes from engaging the world proactively, learning, and improving our circumstances as we go along.
Up to now, trusting my intuition has not been one of my strong points. At the risk of being repetitive myself, the abuse I endured as a child really did destroy my soul. I have been filled with self-doubt, low self-esteem, and a general dis-trust of people and most situations. But, for whatever reason, I came upon this #Trust30 challenge. Along with other positive things happening in my life, such as group and my new ‘teacher’, I have experienced more growth in the last eight months, than I have in the last twenty years. This is amazing to me. These daily prompts have been an excellent catalyst in helping me to grow into my true ‘self’. The connection I have felt with people who are also taking this challenge has been a pleasant surprise. I always felt so alone in the world. Now, after reading so many other ‘journeys’, and the realization of knowing that others struggle too, I do not feel like an outcast from society. It has taken me so long to understand that we are all basically on similar journeys. I have come to the awareness that my difficulties in life are not a character defect in my personality.
There are many things I am ‘facing and fearing’; several ‘difficult life decisions’. FEAR has been the core feeling driving the direction of my life. “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.”-- Franklin D. Roosevelt
This is such a profound statement. When I think about it, FEAR IS the greatest emotion ‘to fear’. In my life, fear has been the worst enemy. It has stunted my spiritual growth; it has caused me to live in stagnation; it kept me in the state of ‘reacting’ to people and situations. From fear, anger and hatred mushrooms and takes root in the soul.
To answer question number one:
‘What are the costs of inaction?’ For me it is simply stated with one word—death. No, not physical death; death of the soul; death of the mind.
To answer question number two:
‘What kind of person do I want to be?’ Fearless, is the word that comes to mind, first and foremost. If I can get past my fear, then the mask will fall. Without fear, maybe all the other attributes that lay in wait, will begin to blossom from my being. I want to be a kind, giving, caring person, FULL OF LIFE. I want to be able to help others in their struggles. I want to plant seeds of hope where hope does not reside. I want to be true to my Self. That will entail making very difficult, life-changing decisions. I think I have found a role model in my ‘teacher’. She has gone through some very difficult times in her life—the death of a young child, rearing three daughters, and more recently, a divorce due to an unfaithful husband. I do believe that having mentor/mentors can help one on their journey to wholeness.
To answer question number three:
“In the event of failure, could I generate an alternative positive outcome?” Can we really predict the future? I would hope that I could turn failure into a positive learning experience. This is exactly what I am trying to do at this very moment in my life. If I succeed now, then I will grow and become stronger. Coming out of the depths that have kept me conquered, will grow the capability to overcome other failures. Fear will be tamed. Fear will no longer become the crippling trait it has been in my past. This will allow the blossoming of my true Self. I will be free to fail over and over, ‘let the tears water my soul’, and blossom again after each failure. I will do this repeatedly throughout the rest of my life. We will always risk failure if we live in awareness and not live our life asleep. For as we all know, change is the only constant in life. (Heraclitus) And where there is change, the possibility of failure always exists.