Monday, April 15, 2013

Day 19 – WorkStep Nine – What Is The Worst Thing That Can Happen?


One of my mentors once talked about two kinds of fear: wise fear and stupid fear. Wise fear is getting attentive when driving a car at night down an icy mountain road. Stupid fear is getting sick with worry about having a fatal car accident. I am stuck between those two places with the thought: “Something can go wrong with BCLA.” Or “I will lose all my money.” Or “I don’t know enough to do this.”

What are your thoughts about what you want to do?

These are also “Directions” i.e. thoughts that are guiding your co-ordination to re-engineer your career as a teacher of Alexander Technique. Andy Grove, ex-Chairman of Intel, published a book “Only the Paranoid Survive” which aptly describes my state right now. The ghosts of my Sydney failure are rising up through the cracks with noisy whispers of ill-begotten wisdoms that woke me up at 4am this morning!

Our brains are geared to look for disasters, so it is no surprise I am constantly imagining them. It is not the fear itself to fear, but the lack of a constructive plan to meet the paranoia. Your brain’s attentiveness to disaster is what is right about you, not what is wrong about you.

It’s the churning inside, the slightly sickening feeling that arises as you contemplate stepping into a new realm that is unnecessary. Put another way: it’s possible to consider disaster with a happy, peaceful mind. Actually, it is essential to consider disaster with a happy, peaceful mind.

One method I use to accomplish this state of mind is to first ask: “What is the worst thing that can happen?” Then second, check if that is OK by asking: “If this happened, would I still be OK?” Then I use this ability of my brain to hallucinate the future to see if I can be OK with whatever scenario is haunting me at night.

Try it out your Self about your career changes, your 12 Point Plan: what is the worst thing that can happen? For me three biggies are: 1. I lose all my money. 2. I lost credibility 3. I damage other people. I can work with the first two, but the third is harder. So I need to do more hallucinating and find out what I mean by that…

It is the indistinct nature of paranoia that fuels it’s emotional baggage. Unidentified obstacles are always more frightening that the real thing. When I was actually in a car accident, it was nothing like how I imagined it. There was something calm about it, something fatalistic. That was my experience.

So giving flesh to your paranoia is the best way to neutralize it: give it free reign to produce a list of every, possible thing that can go wrong. Then go through your list, using that remarkable capacity to imagine, and see if they are really as bad as your emotions are telling you they are…

If I lost all my money, would I be OK? Yes. I might even be happier with no money to worry about. If I lose credibility, would that be OK? Well, the only credibility I can lose is my own creditability with me, and luckily I am the one who makes the decision about that. Finally – I will damage others. How is that possible? Any damage others experience comes from the decisions they make, not decisions I make.

Slowly I get calmer, clearer and ready for the challenges ahead…

TOMORROW: WorkStep Nine – I don’t Know How To Do This…

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