Your Hesitation Comes From Your Imagination
July 11, 2021
Should I make my point, or Should I keep quiet? Should I apply for this new opportunity, or should I let it pass? When it comes to making any decision, there is this wretched hesitation that keeps dogging us.
We may think that we don’t know enough or may not be good enough or capable enough. Those are excuses we give ourselves for not doing something.
Our struggle with hesitation in crunch situations is rooted in something fundamental.
As humans, we are endowed with one faculty that no other species has—our ability to imagine. In a microsecond, our minds can vividly imagine something happening in the future. Sitting in the present, in the mirror of your mind, you can project an image of some make-believe reality happening in the future.
But, unfortunately, at the same time, our brain is also designed and hardwired through evolution to stop us from doing anything that could cause us harm, whether physical or emotional.
Now, when you marry these two features of our brain, you have this strange paradox where you want to do something, but thanks to your brain’s ability to imagine the future, you start imagining all the things that can go wrong.
You want to share an idea on a zoom call, and your brain gets into overdrive imagination mode.
“What if my idea is silly and everyone ignores it, or worse still, what if someone challenges my idea and I can’t defend it- I’ll look like a fool, and I’ll feel shitty about it. I am better off keeping quiet.”
Sadly, our hesitation in most situations stems from the same faculty that is a source of our superpower- our imagination. We imagine something terrible happening even if the odds are negligible and we don’t act.
I have a simple hack to deal with this sense of hesitation that threatens to cripple us in many situations.
Tell Yourself “I Am Ok With Something Going Wrong”
Imagine(it’s the same superpower again) you are in a situation where you find yourself hesitating.
Think of all the possible scenarios your mind is conjuring as bad outcomes and tell yourself that I am ok with those things going wrong. For example, I am ok with making a pitch and having a rejection thrown at my face. Or I am ok with asking someone for help and getting no response. Or I am ok helping the other person even if I don’t get any credit.
Pre-decide that you will let your imagination do what it does while not letting it to stop you from doing what you want to do. Resolve that you are ok even if something goes wrong.