I was having lunch with my friend and colleague C. W. Miller, and I was telling him about one of my goals and the steps I was about to take toward it. The whole thing sounded pretty crazy—stupid even—when I said it, which I acknowledged. C. W., however, just laughed and said, “It’s only stupid if it doesn’t work.”
Ha! I’d never thought of it that way, but he’s absolutely right, because if it does work then it was inspired, innovative and genius! Yet, we’ll hold back and totally eliminate that possibility because we’re afraid we might look or feel stupid if it doesn’t work out the way we hope.
The truth is sometimes things won’t work out the way you want them to, and the old “fear of failure” thing can keep you safe from having to experience that. Of course, it also keeps you from ever experiencing how great it feels when things do work out. Holding back doesn’t keep you safe—it just keeps you contained. It makes you numb.
And yet, no matter how much you try to “not want,” you still do, and there is a ongoing internal conflict about it. You’re angry, sad, depressed, irritated or just seem to “check out” and don’t really know why. Only you do know. You know you’re not happy with the way things are in your life, but you just aren’t willing to admit it.
What have you been afraid to admit you want? What have you held back from doing because of what others might think? What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? What would you try if you knew you could never look stupid no matter what happened?
Whether it is making a change in a relationship or career, going back to school, writing a book, starting your own business or moving to a new place, you can’t be afraid of looking stupid or you’ll never do it—you’ll never do anything. You’ll never really live.
So, forget about whether it seems stupid or not and follow what your heart says. Play the “what if” game—the What If It DID Work Game. Live it out in your mind and feel the excitement of it happening. And, if it doesn’t work out exactly as you thought it would, you haven’t failed—not even close! You’ve done something! You’ve made an incredible leap out of your comfort zone and have embraced a totally different way of being—you’ve become willing to allow yourself to dream and go for what you want. And that is never stupid!
PS: If you have people in your life who routinely make you feel stupid, figure out why and deal with it. People who truly care about you want good things for you—even if it means changes in what you do for them. Ah, but that is another article! Look for it soon!