What stops you from speaking up in a meeting?
What stops you from reaching out to someone when you need their advice?
What stops you from going up to someone you have never met and starting a conversation?
What stops you from exercising more?
What stops you from eating more protein and complex carbohydrates?
What stops you from waking up earlier?
Seriously, what stops YOU……??
The answers are a complex combination of your personality and social experience, but complications aside, they are also straightforward.
What stops us is our neuro-association with the activity. Neuro-associations are the links between our experiences and the emotions and thoughts connected to them. In some cases, like contemplating diving off a high cliff, it may not even be our experiences but our sometimes realistic fears of the consequences that stop us.
In other cases, it could be simple inertia, of fear of the psychological pain of rejection and disappointment, which we have all probably experienced at some point in our lives.
Take, for example, the challenges of talking to a stranger at a cocktail party.
What immediately comes to mind when you are about to approach the person? Is it ease and comfort, or is it a sense of dread?
If it’s a sense of dread, most people let that stop them. If you relate to that, I urge you first to acknowledge that inner sense of fear and then override it by reminding yourself there is no real danger in approaching this person. Indeed, the worst that can happen is that they aren’t as friendly as you would like.
As we all know, the mind is powerful, so next time you question what stops you, please try the following steps.
1. Acknowledge what you want to improve, say or do.
2. Assess your neuro-association and pinpoint the source of your adverse reaction.
3. Ask yourself if the danger is perceived or actual and what is the worst.
4. Reassure yourself that you are not in real danger.
5. Take the first step.