So often, in everyday life, we are faced with important decisions concerning new challenges. These could include applying for a new course at university or deciding on taking a new job. These kinds of challenges are a vital component of our ability to grow and develop as an individual. The more we test ourselves, including our boundaries and potential, the more we will discover about ourselves. It’s simple. Challenges are merely new opportunities for us.
Yet, we can’t always view it that way. When we embark on such challenges, we must also recognise the prospect of failure. However, rather than focus on the opportunity a situation may provide, we instead focus on the possibility of failure, and what it would feel like to fail.
This leads to the notion that embarking on new challenges can be fear-provoking, leaving the fear of failure too much to handle. This may increase our avoidance of certain challenges altogether, and thus choose to continue down the same avenue we were on initially. We search for an excuse we can repeat to ourselves to enable us to stay in our comfort zone.
However, in truth, staying in our comfort zone, especially when done out of fear, may not always be perceived as comfortable. In avoiding certain challenges, we limit our opportunities to learn more about ourselves. This can lead us to feel stuck. Plagued by discomfort, anxiety and a sense that all is not quite right.
There may be times and situations in which avoidance may be the recognition of perfectly good and realistic reasons. However, we will face difficulties when we fail to recognise that we are making those excuses. Possibly, deep down, we are afraid of what others could say about us, and perhaps worse, what failure might mean about us. Yet, rather than acknowledge our fears and insecurities, we reason and bargain with ourselves that it “isn’t the right time now”, or that “this opportunity isn’t that big of a deal”. In reality, we are just scared.
Instead, we must face our fear head on. By imbuing a simple mentality into our daily lives, we can learn to in still its many benefits.
- Firstly, acknowledging and accepting our fears, reduces the load that stress frequently accompanies with new problems. Rather, by reframing the problem in a positive light, it becomes less intimidating.
- Secondly, it adds context to the problem. As the mind immediately begins thinking about possible effects and potential responses to problems, this can allow us to break down the problem and analyse it easier.
- Thirdly, this mindset encourages growth, by forcing you to adapt and advance yourself on a constant basis.
- Lastly, by constantly reframing every problem you face, you will begin to recognise the perpetual nature of this mindset. Each and every future problem will become easier to handle, as well as forming a strong progression of reinforcement.
Unfortunately, there is no magic switch to shift our focus to a more positive mindset, however, by incorporating the above, small steps we are heading in the right direction.
Finally, there are simple methods that, in time, can ameliorate this process. Including:
- Using “I” statements, such as “I recognise this is a problem, but I have the capacity to see it through”.
- Endeavour for a positive outlook on each solution
- Be mindful of how your friends and family approach problems. Are they optimistic? Do they approach each problem as a burden?
- Learn to recognise when situations only serve to make you sad, angry, upset or any kind of negative emotion. If you can recognise these signs, it’s time to make a change.
- Think twice; Act once. Don’t immediately react to every situation. Take a step back and see if you can re-evaluate the problem in a positive light. This will take practice.
- Attend to and recognise your progress. Each step, no matter how small, is still movement in the positive direction. Be kind to yourself and track just how far you’ve come!
Our Psych Up! resources in March are based on The Power of Challenges. Make sure to stay tuned for our weekly blog post updates, as well as our podcasts and webinars.
For more information about performance psychology, the MBTI, managing team differences or anything else mentioned, get in touch with our team today.