One of the things I come across on a pretty regular basis are people’s fears and apprehensions about trying something new or showing a video of themselves doing a hobby because they are worried about the imaginary comments that people might make.
I wouldn’t even want to take a guess at how much money it costs me per anum on missed opportunities. Someone looks at a video or a post on what I do think that’s pretty cool but they are either brand new or they are worried that they aren’t strong enough to come and train with me or Edinburgh Barbell. If you were to stop and catch yourself during this thought process you would see pretty quickly just how monumentally fucking stupid it is.
I don’t think I am going to take that new job because I don’t earn enough yet.
In this context, it might seem pretty absurd to you, for some people this statement makes sense as well! I’ll get to you later. For you to be even in a position to be contemplating a new opportunity you need to be in a place where it is realistic for you to take it up.
- You will have had to pass through an interview or selection process
- Coming through that process you probably have the skills needed to exceed in the role
- The person offering you the salary see the value in your proposition
Everything in this scenario is set up so that you have through merit deserved the opportunity to earn a better wage, so for most people, this means that they will not see it as ridiculous to accept the proposition or to take advantage of the opportunity being offered. Think of the process that has to lead to this opportunity –
- You had to decide upon what degree may be to take (did you let other people’s opinions influence you here?)
- You needed to take an entry-level position somewhere (did you end up somewhere you didn’t want to go or end up within a role you didn’t like because someone said something?)
- Maybe you have worked your way up the ladder got a few positions, took on more responsibilities (are you as effective as you could be? Do you second guess yourself constantly?)
- You made the decision to look actively for better opportunities elsewhere (maybe you didn’t because you are “loyal”)
- You have gone through the interview process and here you are with an opportunity you are ready to take on via MERIT.
There have been literally thousands if not tens of thousands of moments that have to lead this moment where you could have taken a wrong turn or not acted because you had apprehension about what others might have said or thought.
What people might think, what they might say and maybe pigs will fly.
The first obvious absurdity in this thought process is that you are literally making things up in your own head. You are creating apprehension and barriers to your own advancement based on imaginary thoughts and imaginary reactions. If you drop your handbag into a tiger enclosure it makes sense to not jump in and get the bag because there is a mother fucking tiger in there and the chances of getting mauled to death are very real. If you drop your handbag into an empty enclosure that you can see is empty not jumping in to get the bag because there might be a tiger being airdropped into the enclosure via helicopter doesn’t really make much sense.
What if people think X?
The first thing that enters into people’s heads before they go and stick their neck out or step outside of their comfort zone is what will people think. Well let’s assume you do something and 25 people in your general circle of acquaintances have a negative take on it
- Are you a mind reader? If so then maybe you can be cautious about the negative feedback you can MINDREAD from these people. If you can’t read minds why the fuck do you care about what people think?
- Do these people actually mean anything to you? Jen in accounts might think you’re a shit head for taking the action you have done, but you hate Jen from accounts her opinion means less than nothing, annoying her would give you pleasure. If the person you are worried about what they think cares about you and you care about your opinion then you will find a way to work it out and chances are they will be happy for you and support your decision as long as your not doing something self-destructive or stupid.
- Thinking about killing someone isn’t the same as killing someone – it is incredibly common for people to have thoughts of causing harm to other or themselves with fleeting thoughts are symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder. If these people were to act out their compulsions or thoughts the rate of violent crime would be orders of magnitude higher than they are however this is not the case. Thoughts are often fleeting aberrations that leave people as quickly as they come.
What if people say Y?
The next thing that people worry about is what people will say about what they or doing or how people will talk.
- There is probably someone right now talking shit about you behind your back – do feel that sharp stabbing feels behind your shoulder blade…? No weird you should have fucking heard what Jack and Jill were saying. The simple reality is REGARDLESS of why you are or what you do some people are not going to like you, some people are going to bitch about you and like it or not your mates are going to bitch about you as well from time to time. It’s human nature and there is fuck all you can do about it. The sort of person who “never says anything bad about anyone else” is storing that shit inside and isn’t venting, this is NOT a healthy behavior. There are elements of our brain who aren’t rational they are emotional and irrational they also need to be exercised (the chimp brain from the chimp paradox). The sort of person who rants and vents calms the irrational part of their brain by letting it fling shit everywhere. The unexercised chimp brain is not a healthy place to be they are a bubbling pot of scalding fury ready to spill over. You are completely oblivious to the vast majority of shit talking people do about you and it makes no difference to your life.
- People are fucking cowards – the VAST majority of people (i.e. those who are sociopaths) will go out of their way to not say what they really think to your face they will talk around the subject or when you ask for feedback they will just spoon feed you nonsense so they can avoid awkward scenarios and honest feedback. The only sort of person who is going to kick you the real deal are firstly the sort of person who is trying to wedge into a soft spot or a home truth to cause distress or to offend you or secondly the person who genuinly cares and is trying to help you improve. The first kind of person isn’t something you should care about and the second kind of person is someone you should listen to and keep around you as they are a real friend or colleague.
- Keyboard warriors aren’t worth the paper they are printed on – online opinions are actually worthless unless the person is paying for your services or has delivered the feedback to face to face you can take the feedback with a huge grain of salt. When the price of entry is free and even worse anonymous you can be sure that the people giving you feedback positive or negative really didn’t invest much into that feedback. Unless the person you are listening to has skin in the game then you can pretty much ignore their opinion.
Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraudsyndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments, and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. – Wikipedia 2018.
For some people no matter how good they are at something or how far they get in an activity or field it will never be enough they will always be worried that they aren’t good enough or that they aren’t meant to be where they are. This has a name – Impostor syndrome. If this is you and you are in a merit-based field then you can take a second to pat yourself on the back for the good you have accomplished and keep it in the back of your mind you can’t fake it till you make it forever. The reason you haven’t been rumbled is because, YOU ARE NOT A FRAUD you are just good at what you do.
The more apprehension you have about something the more you should consider taking action
Our minds enjoy homeostasis when things remain the same and don’t change we feel happy and at home which is insane because the only thing we can guarantee with pretty much 100% certainty is that things will change over time. That being said our brain is also hugely well adapted to making us envy others and making us unhappy with our own lot in life. We are unhappy about our current position in life and loathed to do anything about it, cheers brain.
When you feel a pang of apprehension or you are asking should I really go through with this or should I really be trying this, those are sure-fire signs that you are doing something outside of the norm you are pushing outside of your comfort zone. The huge feeling of reward you get after doing something like this and seeing the results (if it goes well) is tremendous reinforcement that you should probably try that again. However, chances are you’re going to fuck something up.
Don’t let that fact put you off doing something again because it’s all part of growing and achieving goals. You will know better when you try to do something again what the pitfall was you fell into it will allow you to practice and prepare so next time you are in a better position to leverage your new found skill and knowledge to do better.
Never worry about what other people think, what do you think?
I think we have covered quite a few apprehensions people have and maybe given them some rationale arguments about why it’s a silly way of thinking and why you might want to second guess yourself next time you are entering into that way of thinking.
When was the last time you asked yourself – what do I think? What do I want to do?
Too many people are scared about asking themselves what they want to do or doing things for themselves first. Well, you can’t help others if you can’t help yourself. It is, in fact, selfish to NOT push yourself and to NOT better yourself. You are selfishly remaining in an infantile state. The more you push yourself the more you grow the more you can bring up those around you.
The next time you are thinking about doing something scary or pushing into a new avenue of personal growth stop being so fucking slefish and let yourself get uncomfortable.