Security, stability and safety don’t exist. You think they do but they do not. It’s something made up in your mind or it was a story, a fairytale, someone told you. Probably someone you trust implicitly. And you chose to believe them because it felt good.
Well wait a second. Maybe you didn’t “choose” to believe it. Maybe something in your brain, your primitive Lizard Brainotherwise known as your amygdala, latched onto it because the alternative to security, stability and safety is uncertainty, fear and failure. It was easy to believe the fairy tale about security, stability and safety.
- What has all three of those S’s? Your job? Your family? Your next meal? All of those can and will disappear in the blink of an eye. The things you cling to that are your 3 S’s can and will leave you unless”¦. Unless you decide to be remarkable. Choose to be great at your job, being a husband or parent or even a consumer of meals. Enjoy them with every ounce of your being. It’s hard to do because it sounds silly. “What do you mean be remarkable?” That’s your lizard brain telling you to do something easy instead of doing something great.
It’s easy not to be a great husband or father. Don’t do anything. Just sit there. You risked nothing. You didn’t have to put yourself out there and risk failure or disappointment. You grabbed a beer and sat and watched Two and a Half Men. You didn’t do this once, you do it a majority of the time. Ok, all the time.
Same thing at work. Don’t make waves. Put your head in the sand like an ostrich even though you KNOW what works and what doesn’t. Even though your boss is an idiot and you could fix or improve whatever it is you do. Don’t do anything.
The cost of doing nothing is a long slow failure that will result in uncertainty, fear and failure. The exact place you were trying not to go to. Sometimes that’s called retirement.
That idea is stupid. I don’t know how to do that. It’ll never work.
You’re right, forget it. You can’t argue with a Lizard Brained thinker until they realize those “failure” thoughts are just your Lizard Brain talking.
The Lizard Brain is not my concept. Seth Godin writes about it. But you’ve never heard of it until now. Better late than never. At least you’ve stumbled across this blog, that’s good.
You suck because you are afraid of uncertainty, fear and failure. Rather your Lizard Brain tells you that you are. It drives everything you do. But your lizard brain, that tiny part of your psyche that makes your palms sweat when you speak in public or tells you to check facebook instead of talking to your husband or gets you to crack another beer and watch American Idol instead of playing with your kids or being great at your work takes over. Because it’s easy without risk.
“How did this happen?”
If you have to ask that question, you have a serious problem. You probably listen to your Lizard Brain too much. That little voice in the back of your head that would rather spend hours upon hours of doing nothing that matters rather than putting yourself out there to expose your strengths and flaws to possible success (“or failure and death” says the Lizard Brain).
Ever known someone who always has “bad luck” Or who can never quite get it together in their personal and professional life. Sure. It’s everyone. Everyone has issues and problems, hence, we suck. It’s that stupid part of our brain that fears the unknown because, well, it’s unknown.
I spent almost 12 years in a career I loved and where I excelled. It provided security, stability and safety. My family was always taken care of and I was in the upper echelon of success and in a position to affect organizations with a clear career path in a well respected career. The pension and medical plan was unbeatable too. I was vested in just eight more years if I would have stuck around. Everything anyone would ever want. Who would give that up!
I did. I quit.
All the other Lizard Brains told me I was crazy. You only have eight years to go!, they said. What are you going to do!, they wondered aloud. What about your family!, they cried.
It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. This was a very personal decision because
So what’s holding you back from making a plan and doing something else?
“When I grow up I want to have a pension”
Go ask a 6 year old what they want when they grown up. They say things like; a veterinarian, a lawyer, a police man, a mommy, or President.
But go ask a 35 year old; I want health benefits, reliable income, security, great wages, safety, a decent house, stability and a shiny car.
The 6 year old wants to do something because it appeals to them even if they don’t know why. Even with limited knowledge of the job or career they honor what that person does not what they get for it.
The 35 year old has obligations. College loans, car loans, kids, wife, mortgage, plasma TVs, blah, blah, blah. All of those are your Lizard Brain driving you to do what’s easy without risk of failure”¦ which in the end will cause something to fail. Something will happen like, you’ll lose your house to foreclosure because “the right thing” to do was buy instead of rent. And then your company failed because of the other Lizard Brains who run it. Or get a college education is the only way to get ahead”¦ until you don’t have a job and all you have is student loans, or maybe you got married and got lazy and then your wife left you because you aren’t the person you used to be. Or you just couldn’t wait for that new gadget so you pulled out your credit card and charged it. And let’s remember you used that credit card because your Lizard Brain knows it’s easy and that saving money is hard. You might fail to save enough or die before you can buy it! Yes, that is what your Lizard Brain thinks.
You failed to be remarkable. It’s your fault. You suck. Stop sucking.
So now what?
Answer the question; what would you do if you could do anything? Make the proposal at work for something better? Or heck, just do it without permission. Be a better Dad by being present and in the moment? Start that book or blog you’ve been meaning to write but just don’t have the time? Figure out what it is and do it. Failure isn’t that bad. Failure is totally fine. You will not lose everything. You will not die. I promise. If you die, that’s mere coincide.
You have the time. It’s the same 24 hours every single day. Everyone has competing priorities. Everyone has a life. Everyone also has thousands of excuses not to do what they want. What’s holding them back”¦ fear of failure probably. Either you make things happen or things happen to you. It’s your choice. You make that choice (or your Lizard Brain does) every day.
You’ll probably fail a little bit. That’s okay too. What is the cost of failure? It’s not as bad as you might think. If it involves a lot of money, pay with cash. If you are going to be ridiculed because your service or ideas focuses on a small amount of people, that’s okay. Just enjoy it while you are doing it.
You have to do one thing, suspend the thought of instant gratification. If you are trying to building something you aren’t going to get instant gratification. It’s takes times. So enjoy the milestones. Do whatever it is you want to do because it’s going to make you happy.
Total failures… until they weren’t
- Abe Lincoln lost a bunch of elections before being elected President.
- Thomas Edison took 9000 experiments to get the light bulb right.
- Winston Churchill failed 6th grade.
- John Grisham’s first novel was rejected by about two dozen different organizations.
- Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard.
- Henry Ford’s first two automotive companies failed.
- Albert Einstein’s parents though he was so dumb they told him to quit school.
It’s okay to fail. It’s just one more step on the way to achieving your greatness. Just stop listening to your Lizard Brain.