More Scary Stuff
With the probable exception of some basic instincts – or motivation toward self-preservation – we’ve just flat learned to be afraid of about all the rest of the stuff we’re afraid of. I know, the word “about” is a cop-out but I’m using it because I’m not really sure where this next mega-fear comes from.
The one fear that trips most of us up is – the FEAR of the UNKNOWN!! It has provided the foundation for some really great movies and TV programs but it has also managed to slap the snot out of most of us at one time or another. If someone will hum the theme to “The Twilight Zone”, I’ll proceed. Thank you.
To start, let’s lump a bunch of this together into the category we’ll simply label as “The Future” (I think I’m overdoing this capitalization stuff. Sorry…) Most of us have a tendency to spend an inordinate amount of time and energy thinking about what is lurking just around the corner. We imagine (as in image – create a mental picture of) all sorts of bad things. We latch onto a few perceived facts and using our worst mental programming, fill in the blanks with the very worst negative scenarios we can possible conjure up. We then extrapolate from this erroneous foundation through all the imaginary conversations and situations to the most creative, catastrophic conclusion possible. What a cool thing to be able to do! But here’s the best part. If we focus really, really hard on our mental movie, there’s a fairly good chance that some of it may actually come true!
For those of you who are sure that I’ve blown a gasket, just hangy on a minute and you’ll see where I’m going with this…
OK, back to the future (I think I’ll suggest that as a title for a movie trilogy…). Here’s what we know for sure about our future. Nothing! Zip! Nada! Gar Nichts! Zero! It just ain’t happened yet – at least that we know of. And yes, based on our knowledge of the facts related to a given situation coupled with a fair amount of deductive reasoning, we can predict with varying degrees of accuracy what may happen on down the road. But can we really know? Ain’t no way! Life has altogether too many variables to be able to plug them into a pat formula to predict the future.
I could waste time and space here giving you a pile of examples on how our personal projections have turned out to be something other than we expected. We’ve all had enough life experiences so we can individually look back and grab a few dozen on our own. Just think about projected conversations or confrontations with your boss, employees, significant other or children that never came to pass and you’ll get the idea.
We “what if” and yeah but” ourselves into inaction and/or mega-stress. We numb ourselves out to prevent us from facing our imaginary future. We think of a thousand ways to avoid the catastrophic future that we’re so certain awaits us. Why do we do that?
What’s the alternative to
this miserable approach to life? How
about taking whatever facts – I repeat, facts – we can gather on the situation
and using them as a foundation for our projections, fill in the blanks (the
unknown stuff) with positive scenarios.
For planning purposes and to provide a bit of flexibility, it’s a decent
idea to snag maybe two or three different positive possible blank
fillers that could provide a couple of positive outcomes. Focus on these positives and start taking
whatever steps you need to take to address your situation. Slide into your future with the probable
assurance that the outcome will – at least in the long run – be beneficial to
everyone concerned. (If the outcome is
not nearly as pleasant as you would have wanted, at least look for the lesson
contained in the whole situation. There
probably is one in there for you. )
Focusing on the potential positives really does give us a distinct advantage. It first of all, provides a more constructive (as opposed to self-destructive) foundation to use to draw up a reasonably logical plan of action. It helps us feel better about the whole process. Instead of being scared about the possible monsters lurking in the darkness somewhere down our path, we are better able to use our adrenaline surges as the fuel to blast us into – and through – the upcoming adventure. And – no BS here – the more we focus on positive efforts and a resulting positive outcome to our situation, the more likely it is that the end result of our endeavor really will be positive! It’s sort of like a self-fulfilling prophecy thing. We will usually get out of life no more than we expect.
Our mind is pretty incredible. It is capable of whisking us down the road to our own special hell – or propelling us toward a considerably more desirable destination. The direction we wind up traveling is up to us.
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