I dare you. I double dog dare you.
Next time you want to do something but you're about to hesitate; when that irrational self-doubt creeps in and is about to stop you in your tracks, I want you to stop. I want you to stop what you're doing and ask yourself one simple question:
What's the worst that could happen?
Seriously! You need to stop, rationally think about what the consequences of your actions could be — both positive and negative — and then decide what you're going to do.
From my experience, here are some of the main reasons why we choose not to do things:
- A figure of authority might not like what it is that we plan to do — we could be reprimanded, fired, grounded, whatever
- We're not even sure WHAT might happen — we're expressing a fear of the unknown
- Our peers might look at us differently after we do whatever it is that we want to do — we fear changing the group dynamic, being singled out, gossip, etc.
- We know we shouldn't be doing it
Alright, so maybe these are good reasons. Maybe not. Here's some questions to ask yourself before you decide, though?
- Is anyone going to get hurt by you doing it?
- Is it legal (yeah, I know some of y'all don't care, but seriously — it's a consideration)?
- Will the outcome affect you for a really long time?
- Heck, will you even feel good about it in the morning?
- Is it something your mama would approve of?
- What'll happen if it gets on the Internet? Because let's not kid ourselves, it probably will.
So now you know why we worry about consequences and what to think about when we're about to go into a situation. If you've asked yourself the questions and you're still unsure, let me go back to the fears and tell you my views on them:
- For a figure of authority, unless it's something you've done before, you likely have no exact idea of how they're going to react — if you've covered the questions and you think everything will be okay, I say go for it! However, if it's something you've done before and you KNOW you shouldn't be doing it, I would refer to reason #4 and probably just not do it.
- If you're not going to do something because you don't know what might happen, I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you'll probably never end up doing anything interesting in life if you're worried about what might happen. You should take baby steps outside of your comfort zone every now and then. Helps you remind yourself that you're alive.
- Our peers looking at us differently — you can't please everybody. You won't win every battle. If you're seeking the constant approval of your peers, I'm pretty sure you're constantly going to fall on your face in terms of progress. Live for you and self-acceptance; never for approvals.
- No seriously, if you're not supposed to do it, you're usually going to be in the wrong when you do it. Just don't do it! SERIOUSLY.
What you're hoping for is to get to a point where making all these decisions becomes automatic. All this should go through your mind in a split second so you can make the decisions you need to make. Our brains are complex — this is probably already happening at a subconscious level, but then we overcomplicate it when we layer conflicting thoughts on top of our gut instinct trying to show us the way.
Live your life. Live it well. And just do the right thing! Over. And over. And over again.