I think I have been living with a slight handicap. Though positive, sensible, and intelligent, my mind likes to drift toward over-thinking. I start out thinking about the great possibilities and outcomes, and then my handicap kicks in. What about the negative? What if this happens? What if that does not work? There is simply too much “what if it doesn’t” and not enough “what if it does.” In my world, everything negative “could” happen to me, but the reality is that it “doesn’t” happen to me. Yet, when it is time to take the next risk, my silly mind disregards the reality that I am more success-prone than failure-prone. If anyone else has figured out this phenomenon, comment below and explain this brain complexity to me.
In a world where we are surrounded by negative news, rare cases, and the need to report it all on local and national news sources, it is easy to believe that “bad” things are more likely to happen to us than the “good.” It is easy to fear that we are just one poor decision away from the “negative” knocking on our door.
I am starting to believe that there is some negative we can prevent and some that we cannot. If we reject the idea that perfection is attainable for humanity then we must also accept that the universe will not deal our life a “perfect” hand. The end result may look perfect but the process never is. As a child, if even one child was reported to have drowned on the news, my parents likely didn’t want us to go swimming that summer. Well, I should note that one of my siblings actually drowned before (but survived), so that might have contributed to their fear. The funny thing is that in my case I was actually on a swim team in 3rd and 4th grade so I knew how to swim. I was no Olympian in the making, but I could swim across the pool and back. Despite my training, my mind always considered the possibility that I might drown if I was not careful. So, instead of learning how to become a better swimmer, I learned to always keep the edge of the pool in sight. To make it worse, I heard of one man on TV drowning from a leg cramp, so I was quite sure that if I wandered into the deep end for too long my leg muscles would rebel against me too. I was letting the negative outweigh the positive possibilities. I assessed the risk and decided to be cautiously complacent.
There is nothing wrong with considering the risk in any situation, especially when it comes to goal setting and trying new things. My problem has been in balancing the pros with the cons. For every negative outcome there is also the possibility for a positive outcome. Yes, it may not work, but what if it does? Yes, you may get hurt, but then again you might not. Yes, your life may be altered, but maybe it might change for the better. All you need is one more pro than con for the entire scale to weigh in as positive. If there was any negative at all, I considered it a loss or potential failure. However, I don’t think life works that way — the positive just needs to outweigh the negative.
So what have I been doing to overcome my handicap you ask? For every negative fearful thought, I try thinking of the corresponding positive outcome. Then, I try working toward the outcome which will bring me the most happiness or success in life – usually that outcome is on the “pros” side of the list.
How do you balance your thoughts?