Hey there rebel!
You know that friend who always comes to you with the same problem? You want to help them, but you can't, so you hope they'll go see a therapist or listen to their mother... and then they come back with the same problem.
Your friends probably feel like this about you, too. ;)
We all have friends like that, and we can't help them because they have to help themselves first... even though they don't know how.
Do any of us know how to overcome fear? I don't think so.
And then came the TED talk.
I recently watched the TED talk I believe could change all that friends-in-fear loop going around. And before I tell you how, I want you to watch it.
Did you watch it? Did you laugh a lot? Yeah me, too...
I laughed so much I almost missed the whole point, the single point that made this one of the wisest TED talks I have ever watched, period. On the surface Simone teaches us that we don't always have to think of rational solutions to our problems. Crazy solutions help, too, and they're fun.
When we go deeper, however, we learn that you can overcome any fear or limitation if you're just willing to try and do uncomfortable things.
Your problem is not insurmountable.
You may have lived with your problem your whole life, you may have lived in fear for most of your life, and you're thoroughly convinced you can't do something you've never been able to change and that you'll always be who you are.
But we are people! We evolve, learn, grow, improve, and every once in a while, we surprise ourselves. And under any circumstances-
Which is what Simone did - she was always the best student and when she was faced with the impossibility of being the best at something she was probably going to suck at for a very long time, she did something amazing.
She did not give up, which is what most people would do in this situation.
This is how Simone overcame her limitation, her fear of failure, and created her whole new life and career. By letting go of what she was supposed to do and how she was supposed to do it and inventing her own rules.
Which is what most creative rebels do.
And you don't have to be super creative for this to work - you just have to use a simple question, like "What can I do in this situation so I won't feel miserable?" or "How can I make this situation a win even though it's clearly not a win?" or "What if I forgot everything I ever learned about this? Where would I start?"
Asking weird and creative questions like that leads to the best answers!
The story of how I overcame... me.
I'm a big believer that we should be ourselves, but you have to agree that sometimes we develop the worst habits and succumb to our worst fears.
When I was faced with a rather impossible-to-overcome limitation, the kind of limitation that has defined my whole life and that starts from inside me, I tried everything until I overcame it. Why did I bother? Because I wanted to be happy. Because I knew if I didn't overcome it, I would be in a rut my whole life. It was a choice between a rut and something better. So I chose something better.
My limitation was that I could never finish any big project, ever.
I tried all the productive crap, everything the peak performance advise, and guess what, nothing like that worked because I'm not like them, they're not like me, and they probably even find this stuff easy. So what I finally did to overcome this crippling limitation (crippling for my chosen career) was:
I asked a lot of questions...
- How can I avoid this the next time around?
- How can I make things different for the next project?
- How can I make it easier for myself?
I asked every question I could think of and most of them brought me interesting and even scary answers. I had to face myself and my own human nature on a daily basis, but I persevered. And I finally finished a book last summer.
I could finally bypass this natural tendency to leave things unfinished by asking the impossible question, What would it take for me to finish this thing? And the answer was equally impossible - you have to NOT CARE whether this thing is any good or not. You just have to write it without judging it.
At first it felt weird, but then it was so much fun that I ended up with a book that wasn't "perfect," but a book that I could actually edit.
And then synchronicity came.
Isn't it ironic how we suffer for our whole lives trying to figure things out without asking for help, but the minute we ask, someone helps?
Right around that time, I was reading You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero - yet another hilarious thing that helped me - and there was a quote:
And it set me on fire. And I decided to trust the Universe more, let it help me more, be more open to its helping hands. And then nothing happened for a few months because you know how these things need to germinate and to really solidify in the brain before true change can be set into motion...
And early this year, synchronicity knocked on my door again, a friend gave me a recommendation of a tool I could use to be more productive and finish my courses. Because of course I was procrastinating like a MOFO.
And you know what I thought? I would never do that!
And that's when the quote popped into my head - we spend our whole lives stuck in our little boxes of this is me and this is not me and I can do this and I can't do this, but that is where our limitations get the best of us. So when the quote popped into my head, I decided I should better try that damn tool.
A couple of months later - today - I have everything finished.
I'm not kidding - my whole life I have not been able to finish a big project or product because I hate that last 2 percent, I'm a sprinter, not a marathoner, and I let it DEFINE me and CONFINE me into the kind of existence that I was kind of comfortable in, but I knew I could not make my dreams come true in.
I knew this was the land of dying dreams, and I no longer wanted to live there.
Will you stay stuck in your life or fly beyond it?
I know what you're thinking... she has no idea what my problems are... and in any case, I'm not create enough to ask these kinds of questions or trusting enough to be open for the answers or brave enough to overcome my fears...
I have heard and made every excuse in the book, but I will not let these excuses define my entire life or stop me from finding my true happiness.
I invite you to join me on "the other side." Here's how:
- Write down your most crippling limitation right now, the thing that's stopping you from making your dreams come true.
- Forget about how hard it is to overcome it, forget about who you are or what you can or cannot do, just forget about all that.
- Ask a gazillion of questions that could maybe allow you to overcome or bypass or trick your limitation into forgetting it has you.
- If you struggle with perfectionism, you can ask, In what sort of situation would it be impossible to strive for perfection? Or... how can I make perfection look silly and stupid and undesirable? Or... What can I do for 30 days that is the opposite of perfection? Etc.
- If your sensitivity is screwing your life, you can ask, In what sorts of situations am I always calm and how can I simulate that? Or... Is there a way to make my sensitivity work for me? Like for example if I make it a game or a sport or I start rewarding it? What would happen? Etc.
- If you're used to being the best and are afraid of failing, do like Simone - aim for the opposite, aim to fail, and have fun.
- Answer those questions and don't be afraid to sound crazy. Just brainstorm like a crazy person who doesn't know what reality is and how it works.
- Try everything, get out of your skin, and don't be afraid to make a fool of yourself because it is those people that usually win big.
- Finally, be open to anything that lands on your lap, it might be the Universe working for you and sending you what you need - even if it looks like the last thing you need or like something you don't even want to touch, eww.
- And report back to me with your experiment. :)
Courage is doing things while you're scared shitless.
So I'm not even asking you to be brave or to change your personality or something equally as ridiculous. I am asking you to ask a bunch of crazy questions and to be open for the answers. That's all you can do.
And that human beings are like human bodies - if something is limited, something else makes up for it. So you might be there thinking you're lacking, but actually, you have all you need in this place and this time.
I truly believe that we all have the ability to overcome anything and reach our full potential, but most people are afraid to do it because we all tend to get really comfortable in being average and living normal lives. And overcoming yourself to achieve amazing things is NOT easy or comfortable.
So I'll ask you to be brave for a second and jump, it'll get easier after that, and then reaching that dream at the end is going to be so. worth. it.