We have all come up against situations where it is hard to be bent on something or to reach the best decision by virtue of our emotions and fears. In this article, I will share a method teaching to put emotions aside and to take correct decisions, moving from thoughts to deeds.
To understand the point at issue, I will start with a case. Assume that you are thinking of switching jobs. However, you face an uprush of fear, associated with a perspective to leave a habitual workplace and with a need to look for a new employment. You are not too self-assured and confident about your abilities and professional skills. It is not because you are really a ne’er-do-well, but because you are used to belittle your accomplishments and to exaggerate your weaknesses.
You feel anxiety about a necessity to visit interviews, where you will be frightened and nervous telling about yourself. Along with these fears, numerous minor inner barriers hinder you from looking for new opportunities. All the above-mentioned factors lead to a strong emotional attachment to the current workplace, even if you are actually displeased and want to quit the job. It is just you fear preventing you from the decision.
What If the “Pro et Contra” Method Doesn’t Work
What happens, when you are trying to reach a sustainable decision concerning job change? Producing arguments “in favor” or “against” the decision to quit your job, you are likely to face the following danger.
Your mind is subjected to fear, hesitation and self-distrust. In spite of your desire to find more suitable employment, the decision to stay on the habitual workplace conforms to your current “comfort zone” (homeliness, colleagues, certainty etc.) better than the decision to quit. Leaving this zone is a difficult task in most cases. Consequently, human’s mind magnetically attracts the decision “against” resignation. Even if the decision is stupid and unreasonable, you will scarcely ever recognize the fact!
You will presume that the decision proceeds from reasoned argument and good sense! Since fear and lack of confidence do not always come out as coincident emotions. They are rationalized, disguising in the “against” arguments of your mind. You will not obviously think: “If I wanted to, I could move to another job with better conditions. But I am obstructed by my fears, emotions and inner constraints, and nothing more prevents me from changes. All I need is to banish fear and act”.
Certainly, it would be good if you instantly took your fears as irrational impulses rather than as fact-based limitations. Unfortunately, is does not always happen. Instead you think: “I’m good for nothing. I will never find a well-paid employment. It is probably wrong to change jobs so often, since it can damn my prospects”. Sometimes labor market requirements and your skills turn out to be objective obstacles, but often such argument is just a rationalization of your fear and fall a long way short of real facts.
So, how to distinguish emotions from logic? How to differentiate fantastic fears and real-life barriers? How to understand where is the border between your emotions and the substantial world with its laws?
I will introduce you a method that significantly helps me to move from thoughts to deed and take the best decisions.
Principle of the Method
Instead of dichotomizing “pros” and “contras”, you should envision a certain “ego ideal”. This “ego ideal” is an idealized yourself. Your alter ego is not subjected to doubts. He is self-assured and he does not mind what people think of him. He does not depend on fears and emotions, and he always assumes responsibility. Finally, he is highly interested to achieve his goals and acts instead of considering “to be or not to be” day in, day out.
Although this “ego” is idealized, it is drawn upon your real capabilities. He is not a superman looking like a Hollywood star and possessing superpowers, but you with your own abilities, raised to the highest development level. You are sometimes lazy, but your “ego ideal” is not. You are sometimes afraid, but your “ideal ego” does what is right in his own sight in spite of fear. He is relieved of inner limitations.
Perhaps everyone has such character in his mind. Many of us would like to be more disciplined, strong-willed and purposeful. Therefore your “ego ideal” combines all moral qualities, that you would like to possess (and that you can possess). Now think how will your “ego ideal” deal with the choice situation? But keep in mind, that your alter ego is not concerned at all about any doubts, he just longs for better conditions and strives to his goal. He takes nothing for granted until he sees for himself. He will never give up after several failures, but will go all the way!
He is not unbeatable, he is also subjected to tricks of fortune, and he also depends on human factor. He is just more perfected personality compared to you.
So, what choice would your “alter ego” make: to stay on the unsatisfying workplace or to look for new opportunities? Attention! The most crucial point here is the following: the presumable actions of your “ego ideal” are not necessary a direct reference for your action!
Since you “ego ideal” is perfected, it can naturally surpass you in capabilities and render the most efficient decisions.
However, you are not perfect – bow to the reality. Any person depends on his emotions and fears, and sometimes these emotions leak in the sphere of decision-making. It is normal; this is a human nature. Even if you have arrived at the conclusion that your “ego ideal” would chuck the current job and set out in search of a new one, you should not repeat his probable actions immediately and rashly!
Sometimes we avoid choosing between two variants, because in fact we have a dread of the decision that is driving us out of the comfort zone; and our inventive mind prompt us to act an opposite way. In such case, we are not obliged to take any action and quit job only because this should be done ideally.
Subsequently, we have nothing to fear, since there is no urgent need to make any decision! No decision – no issue for fear. No fear – no self-deception and doubts! In its turn, absence of illusions gives you an opportunity to give a frank and detached glance at the problem and to apperceive your fears. You have no need to make any decision, whatever thoughts you have! You have nothing to afraid! So, give free rein to your thought and be utterly honest with yourself.
Perhaps your “ego ideal” would reach a solution, differing from the decision that you have taken upon wearisome and senseless analysis of both alternatives. Say, your “ego ideal” would decide to quit and look for a new employment.
It means that there are no any fair obstacles for voluntary discharge, and nothing prevents you but your fears. Since if you were ideal, you would have stepped over them long before and do what you want! Well, you are afraid, because you are not perfect; people experience emotions that govern their life choice – and it is okay. However now you recognize that you are simply and solely afraid.
There is no need for urgent actions – just go with it.
On the plus side, you are aware that nothing except your inherent fear hinders you from finding better labor conditions. Perhaps you recognize that things are much easier than they seem, and you should just stop sitting still and choosing between “pros” and “contras”. You will be convinced that it is worth taking actions. As you are in fear, you will not probably act immediately. However now you are aware what actually impedes your career. Over time, you will master your fears and naturally reach a correct decision.
Now you know that you should direct your attention to your doubts. You should just throw them overboard and move forward.
Even if you never arrive at the decision, you will not at least delude yourself as for the nature of your doubts. It is entirely possible, that you arrive at the opposite decision to stay at your current working place. If there were real obstacles, your “ego ideal” would estimate them and make a decision based on the estimation. If the barriers were serious enough (e.g. lack of better employment opportunities at the labor market or upcoming prospects at the current workplace), your alter ego would not probably quit. Ideal should not mean all-powerful or reckless!
Honesty with Yourself
This method will anyway help you to sort yourself out, to overcome emotional inertia preventing from blue-sky thinking and to set your mind free from the hindering fear. You can use this method when taking any life decision and when your are consumed with fear of leaving the habitual comfort zone. In particular, use it when changing jobs, when deciding to launch your own business, when effecting costly purchase, when dating man or woman, when building relations etc.
“I am afraid to approach a lady and I have already thought up a dozen of reasons to justify my fear. But what would my “ego ideal” do?”
“I cannot venture upon my own business. I have a sneaking feeling that I will fail. But what would my “ego ideal” decide? Won’t he even make an effort?”
“I don’t feel like asking my employer for a raise even though I have a hunch that my request can be met. But how will my “ego ideal” act? He knows no foolish fears and self distrust!”
Even if that is not helpful in acting against fears, you will be honest with yourself. Honesty is a pledge of disillusion and a basis for rational acts. Some day or other it will bring you about action, since it is very difficult to be honest with yourself, going against your own thoughts. Nothing but self-deception let people remain in the dark and hibernate for a long time.