Monday, March 22, 2010

Don't let new opportunities pass you by out of fear based on past experiences!

Have you ever thought about a friend, only to have him call you 5 minutes later? This is called "synchronicity." While I don't believe we can cause synchronous events, I do believe we can use them productively.

Many of us respond to experiences based on past outcomes. If we've been hurt when we reached out to someone, we are less likely to reach out to a different person. If we've been rejected when we've offered to help to someone, we are less likely to offer similar help to a different person.

It is human nature to protect ourselves. Here's how we can protect ourselves yet still expand our experiences, deepen our relationships with others, and fully express who we are. When we find ourselves fearing to take an action, we can think through this process:

  1. what outcome am I concerned about -- being rejected, being insulted, being hurt, being embarrassed, looking stupid, looking naive, other?
  2. where did this concern come from -- in what environment(s) and/or with whom has this outcome occurred?
  3. are these experiences likely to be universal -- are they likely in all situations or with all other people? Are there environments in which or individuals with whom the outcome has been different?
  4. what are the risks of testing the universality of this outcome in this situation or with this person?
When we follow these four steps, we weaken the glue between our past experiences and our current opportunities. We become open to new possibilities and to achieving our current goals.

Try it out and let me know the outcome!

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