Our left brain, logic brain, wants proof. It needs evidence to commit to a certain level of thinking. It resists anything that conjures doubt and even worse, vulnerability.
I had this conversation with a client this evening. She is struggling with a dead-end job that is sucking the life out of her. She’s fearful of leaving though due to a long list of what if’s. She recalled the last time she was out in the marketplace in search for a job. “There are very few positions, basically no possibilities,” she said.
To her, this is fact. She has proof. There are no possibilities.
It is hard to get motivated to look for something you don’t believe is there. (Except if it’s weed or your last cigarette, of course.)
I challenged her thinking. “Is it true that there are no possibilities?”
“Yes, in my experience I know that there are no possibilities.”
We know better. Always. Don’t we? What we’ve experienced is fact.
But is it? Is it really true?
Is it true that there are no possibilities today just because there were very few before?
Could it be perhaps the horse blinders we wear are just too narrow?
Can we let go of what we thought it would all look like for long enough to open up to new and different opportunities?
I was a tenured teacher with a master’s degree when I moved to Hawaii in 2007 and became a valet for six months, happier and freer than I’d felt in years. I meet lawyers waiting tables pursuing their passions more and more, and ex biz execs who become ski instructors and chefs and entrepreneurs.
I’m halfway through Thrive, Arianna Huffington’s new book, where she says that given the opportunity, she would do it a whole lot differently the next time. She would worry less. She’d sleep more. She’d focus more on the present moment. All things that were under deep scrutiny when she found herself face first on the floor of her office in a puddle of blood wondering just how she’d been measuring success all along.
In an interview with Sheryl Sandburg, good friend of Ariranna’s and Facebook COO, the two discussed the issue of “if then” thinking. If this happens, then I will feel this way.
The problem with this “if then” thinking is that we are always relying on outside sources to dictate how we feel. We are in reaction mode rather than that of creative manifesting.
When I asked my client, “How do you feel when you believe the thought, there are no possibilities?”
She expressed that she feels defeated and frustrated and scared. (All emotions that have a physiological effect on the body if they linger on, btw.)
“So if we know, for a fact, that the statement: there are NO possibilities is actually NOT true. How would you feel without that thought?”
She admitted to feeling lighter and less anxious. More motivated, and possibly even excited.
And please know I’m not just picking on her, we all do this. Isn’t it so obvious on paper though? How ridiculous this is? That we insist on believing something that is actually NOT true, something that makes us feel like shit and keeps us unmotivated from even digging us out of our current situation–the very fucking problem we’re facing.
Bonkers. Totally bonkers, right?
And we all do this in some way shape or form. Insert whatever whacky thinking you experience and you’ll see the same breakdown.
Is it that we are so terrified to believe the best possible outcome that we’re willing to accept self sabotage instead? Is vulnerability so excruciating, it’s worse than being miserable in a dead-end job?
Sometimes when we let go of the tight-white knuckled-grip of the monkey bars, voluntarily or not, we find that we were only two inches from the ground all along.
What is there to lose besides some shitty thinking and a job you hate?
Call me crazy or naive. Call me a hopeless dreamer. Call me whatever you will, but just remember, I’m happy. I’m happy believing that the world is filled with opportunities. I’m happy believing that I have the power to create the life of my dreams. I’m happy proving myself right, even if it doesn’t happen overnight.
And I want nothing more than for you to be happy.
I leave you with this: Are you crazier for thinking you can? Or crazier for believing you can’t? You decide.