Fear and success are like two sides of a coin, you can’t have one without the other. That sounds counter-intuitive yet to succeed personally, professionally and in business, you must be willing to take a leap of faith and step outside your comfort zone.
Fear of failure and fear of success is what holds you back from taking chances in life. Fear is 100 percent reliant on you for its survival.
Let me explain what two little seeds can teach you about fear and success.
The two little seeds
Two little seeds lay side by side in the fertile soil where the farmer had thrown them. As the autumn days passed the wintry wind loosened the earth, which slowly began to cover them up.
As the nights grew longer and the days grew colder, they huddled together for warmth. As the days passed, they noticed the changes going on above them. They felt the warm squally autumn winds give way to the sleety slanting winter winds from the north.
They waited patiently as the hardness of winter set in. They felt the first frost upon the ground and then the weight of the winter snows piling high above them. They huddled together even closer, and they waited.
Eventually, the snow began to melt, and the soil once again became soft and moist. Warm spring winds gently began to caress the fields and both seeds began to feel strange and powerful urges within themselves.
The first little seed pondered, “I wonder what’s down there? I want to explore and send my roots deep into the fertile soil below me. I wonder what’s up there. I want to thrust my sprouts through the soil above me.”
But the second little seed said “I’ve no idea what’s up there. It could be really scary. And I don’t know what’s down there. That’s really frightening so….. I think I’ll stay here a little longer.”
Soon, the first seed had pushed through the earth and was enjoying the sensation of the warm spring sunshine, the freshness of the air, and all the wonderful things that he now saw around him. His roots were pushing deep into the soil below, drawing energy, nourishment and strength from the richness of the environment. He was enjoying the sensation of the warm spring. And he continued to grow.
The second little seed however, was still afraid. “I think I’ll just stay here a little while longer.”
The first little seed continued to grow and developed into a strong healthy plant that would live for generations. Each spring his flowers gave such pleasure to the world around him.
Meanwhile the second little seed said “Hmm, if I send my roots into the ground I don’t know what I will bump into in the dark. That’s too scary. If I push my way through the soil above, I might damage my delicate sprouts. What if I let my buds open and a snail tries to eat them? If I open my blossoms, someone may come along and pull me from the ground. No – I’d better stay here and wait until it’s safe.”
And so he waited – and waited – and waited…….
.….… until a chicken came along in the early spring looking for food. He found the little seed and gobbled him up.
Moral of the story
People who have a vision for the future supported by clearly articulated goals, will grow and prosper.
People who choose to stay in their comfort zone, who refuse to take a risk and grow, will get swallowed up by life.
Staying in your comfort zone
Most of you want a good job, successful career, financial stability, a happy family life, and all your dreams to be fulfilled. It’s what you expect should happen. For many of you, it’s not the case. You struggle through life, not understanding how to move outside your comfort zone.
Your comfort zone is the place where you feel safe.
Yes, staying inside your comfort zone minimizes risk and reduces any kind of stress and anxiety. Yet studies have revealed, if you want to be successful, it requires you to take a risk and step outside your comfort zone. Why? Because you need a degree of stress to become the best version of you that you can be. Being too comfortable prevents you from pushing yourself and discovering your greater potential.
When you are too comfortable, it means you are operating from the logical part of your brain. Motivation comes from the emotional part of your brain.
Motivation to step outside your comfort zone
Imagine you are on the second floor of a building and I asked you to jump. Would you? Probably not.
Why? Because most likely you would break a leg but hey what’s a broken leg, it would heal in six weeks. Even more reason you wouldn’t want to jump.
What if I offered you $100,000 or a million dollars to jump, would you? You might say to yourself – heck yeah, I’d jump for a million dollars after all the broken leg will heal in six weeks.
What if there was a raging fire on the second story of the building and the only way to save yourself would be to jump. Yes, you might end up with a broken leg but surely jumping out the window is better than being burnt to death.
What can we learn from this example?
You are motivated by two things. To avoid pain or gain rewards.
The million dollars presented an opportunity to gain a reward, so you would be motivated to jump. On the other hand, the fire represented massive pain, which is why you would be motivated to jump, to avoid massive pain or even death.
Without pain or pleasure motivating you to jump, you would quite happily sit in your comfort zone and stay on the second floor of the building.
When pain gets so bad, you will do anything to avoid it. This is far more motivating than gaining rewards.
A smaller percentage of people would be more motivated by rewards. Take the lottery for example. Why do millions of people buy lottery tickets? They are motivated by the rewards a lottery win would bring. Although a lottery win is a reward, the motivation can also be to take away pain. The pain of not being able to afford to put food on the table or pay your bills. So even the motivation of seeking out an opportunity gain be underpinned by avoiding pain.
Homeostasis is the body’s desire for equilibrium. It’s a natural instinctive function that the human body uses to maintain balance. The liver, kidneys and brain all help maintain homeostasis and is essential to our survival. It maintains a constant internal environment, which can be thought of as being our comfort zone. This is what drives human behavior and is the basis of motivation. It’s that desire to return to equilibrium that makes us take action to avoid pain or gain rewards.
When you have a why, you find the how.
Ask yourself what is your WHY?
When you use your rational brain to make decisions in your life, you almost invariably end up over thinking or over analyzing the decision-making process. Successful people use more than the logical part of their brain, they also use the emotional part of their brain. It’s the emotional part of your brain that motivates you to step outside your comfort zone. It’s also called your WHY.
Man’s Search for Meaning is a 1946 book by Viktor Frankl where he chronicled his experiences as an Auschwitz concentration camp inmate during World War I.
Frankl concludes from his experience in Auschwitz, that a prisoner’s psychological reactions are not solely the result of the conditions of his life, meaning, circumstances do not make the man, they merely reveal him to himself.
Frankl talks about having freedom of choice even in such appalling living conditions and severe suffering. That freedom is your spiritual self having hope in the future. It’s your WHY. It’s what keeps you going and keeps you motivated even in the most dreadful conditions. Once you lose hope, you are doomed. This is why you need to find your WHY.
What is causing you enough pain in your life that will motivate you to step outside your comfort zone?
If you did step outside your comfort zone, what would be the reward?
In the case of the two little seeds, the first seeds wanted to explore the beauty of putting down roots and exploring what the world has to offer. The second little seed was afraid and as a result he was gobbled up by life. Which do you want to be?
When you answer these two questions, you find your WHY. The one reason that is enough to motivate you to take action.
Your WHY is the one thing that will motivate you to bring about the changes needed in order for you to pursue your dreams. It is only by taking a risk and pushing through your comfort zone you will truly know what you are capable of.
On a final note
It’s only when you step outside your comfort zone, you begin to realize your true potential.
In a Nutshell
- Fear and success are like two sides of a coin.
- Your comfort zone is where you feel safe.
- Nothing every grows in your comfort zone.
- It’s only by taking a risk that your dreams can come true.
- People who have a vision for the future supported by clearly articulated goals, will grow and prosper.
- People who choose to stay in their comfort zone, who refuse to take a risk and grow, will get swallowed up by life.
- You are only motivated by two things; to avoid pain or gain rewards. Both require you to step outside your comfort zone.
- Finding your WHY is what will motivate you to step outside your comfort zone.