Why Succeeding Is More About Defeating Ourselves Than Others


Wednesday, 9.04pm

Sheffield, U.K.

I was listening to Amy Porterfield’s podcast today and her guest, Brooke Castillo, said that the first time you do a webinar “your body literally thinks something is about to attack you and that you can die”.

Which made a picture jump into my mind – one that stayed there.

As human beings, we avoid pain. The pain of failure, the pain of rejection – any kind of pain.

In fact, we’re so fearful of pain that it can make us put things off – avoid doing things that will end up being good for us.

It’s a well known fact that we hate losing much more than we like winning. The ratio is something like five to one.

And this is a problem when we try and do anything new or different or better.

You know the old saying – if you’re so smart why aren’t you rich?

The problem, perhaps, is that if you’re smart enough to know all the ways in which things can go wrong, then you’ve got much more to be afraid of.

You create a monster in your mind, a monster that represents what failure looks like. Then, that monster sits in your way and stops you from doing things that you need to do.

And the problem is that this is a physical barrier, not just a mental one. Your body senses your brain’s fear and creates a mix of chemicals that physically cause you to want to run and hide.

To do anything but that horrible task of reaching out and making a cold call or connecting with someone new.

So, what are you going to do. What should one do when faced with a monster in one’s own mind.

Perhaps one could start with looking.

Many years ago, I was taught how to solve problems in engineering. I found analog circuit design hard, and a particular problem just wasn’t making sense to me.

My lecturer at the time just said look at the problem. Just look at it.

And so that’s what I did. For around three days.

All I did was look and think and look and think. And look and think about it. And think about what I could do about it.

And then suddenly, after three days, it felt like a rock had moved, something had shifted and suddenly I could see my way to an answer.

I can’t remember any circuit design now… but I do remember that feeling of being able to push through the fog and discomfort of a problem simply by staying put and looking at it.

And I think perhaps that’s how we can deal with monsters.

Because really, we only have a few choices open to us.

We can turn and walk away.

We can try and go around them… but we’ll probably find that they just move into the path we’re taking or we find new ones in our way.

Or we have a staredown. If we stand their long enough, they’ll get up, shake their heads and walk away.

Perhaps really that’s how we succeed.

Not by being the smartest or the wealthiest or the best connected.

Just by being the one that doesn’t back down.


Karthik Suresh

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