Monday, June 27, 2011

What Price Fear?

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

Gentle readers, let us take Dan Andrews' points, one by one ...

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.

Your MatchGirl supposes, dear reader, that the real cost of inaction is your own happiness. It is regret. It is the price of looking back on your life, on your days an wondering "What if...?" Your MatchGirl, those of you who have been here since the beginning, has certainly spent some time regretting paths not taken. I try, very hard to love my life without regret, but that does not mean that I don't, from time to time, look back on this "Choose Your Own Adventure" story we call life and wonder, "What if I had done this instead of that? What if I had been brave enough to ask that question?" One thing I do know... every time I have faced my fears and been brave enough to ask for something I really, really wanted in life, things have turned out exactly the way I wanted them to. The cost of inaction is regret.

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.

I want to be a happy person. This has been a long time coming. Doing the things I am doing now, working on the projects I have going, working at the job I have and being in the relationship I'm in - these things make me happy. And my projects, as I push forward, will only lead to greater happiness. This I know.

3) “In the event of failure, could I generate an alterative 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.

Gentle readers, your MatchGirl has been here. She has been low. She has been (near) destitute. But she kept her head above water and not only forged a path for herself, but she found herself a whole new career and community, just by doing what she loves most - connecting with people and connecting the people she knows with people they will find interesting/helpful/useful. This is something I will always find fulfilling - no matter the scale.

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