Thinking, In Itself, Does Not Mean You're Making Progress
Courage Is Calling by Ryan Holiday is the book I’m now reading.
As Part I of the book focuses on fear, I’ve been reflecting on how fear has impacted my life.
Specifically, the section I read today struck a chord with me as it’s something I’ve, like most people, struggled (and continue to struggle) with.
And it’s… the fear of making choices.
We are terrified of making choices because we’re afraid of making the wrong decision – and thus of the resulting consequences – of taking a risk, of what other people think… the list goes on and on.
Then, we become paralyzed by analysis paralysis.
Ironically, we believe we’re making progress because we’re thinking about what to do. ;’)
Don’t get me wrong; I recognize the first steps to change are, awareness and desire.
However, a thought that does not result in an action is nothing much, and an action that does not proceed from a thought is nothing at all, as the adage goes.
The belief that thinking in itself is progress is a “feel-good” method as it’s easier to believe we are, in some way, advancing our lives instead of facing the reality that we are not.
It’s much harder to accept we’re giving in to our fears and not moving forward in life while also seeing (thanks, social media) other people take action and advance theirs.
I’ve discovered that fear can be a source of growth and opportunity over the years.
And if we’re not experiencing the hesitation caused by fear, we’re not pushing ourselves enough to create truly fulfilling and meaningful lives.
The following are two steps that I take to manage and overcome my fear of making decisions:
1. First, I acknowledge and break down my fears.
What are my options?
Which opportunity has the best potential for growth?
What are the consequences of the options? (I try to anticipate potential setbacks.)
What is it that is preventing me from achieving my goals?
Why do I care about what other people think?
Am I living the life I truly want to live?
2. Second, I leap.
After considering the questions above, I act on the option that I believe is the best at the time, based on all of the knowledge I have.
Because, as I’ve discovered over the years, the longer you wait to make a decision, the harder it becomes to make and commit to one.
Furthermore, there’s no such thing as a right or wrong decision. The only thing I know for sure is I’ll always make my decision right in the end.