How many times in your life have you experienced hurt, disappointment, anger, or stress, from the difference between your imagination and reality?
We’re very creative creatures. And when we set out to do things, we always expect that everything will turn out exactly the way we want. Does this sound familiar?
- “I’m going to finish my degree. And then all the companies will line up for me. I’ll pick the one with the best compensation. And I’ll be rich.”
- “I really like her. We’ll date for a few months. Move in together. Get married. She’ll want four kids. We settle for two. Get a holiday home at the beach. Boom. Happy life.”
- “My business idea is awesome. I’ll raise some cash. Hire a few people to build the product. We’ll roll it out. The media will write about it. I’ll get on TV. And then I’ll sell the company.”
- “I’ll make a few videos. Put them on YouTube. People will share them. One of my videos will go viral. And I’m in. Show me the money.”
Chances of those scenarios coming true? I don’t know exactly. But I guess it’s somewhere close to ZERO.
With every conversation I have, book I read, mistake I make, and new knowledge I acquire, I feel less sure about everything.
French philosopher Voltaire said it best:
“The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.”
When I got my first degree in business, nine years ago, I was certain I knew nothing. So I got a master’s degree after that. That took me about two more years.
Still, I knew nothing. So after that, I did my best to learn from mentors, family, business partners, clients, friends, colleagues. I tried to absorb all their knowledge.
Don’t you think life is weird sometimes? Take quitting.
Most of us believe that it’s wrong to quit. That it’s for losers. And that quitting equals failure.
The ‘never quit’ attitude is a good thing. Especially when we pursue hard things. I don’t think you should ever quit just because you can’t handle something.
However, quitting is also a smart strategy. Sometimes quitting is even the better option.
Note: I recently shared this exercise only with the readers of my newsletter. I thought I’d post it here too.
Do you ever worry about things you don’t control?
If you do, join the club. It happens to all of us.
But worrying is waste of time and energy. I’ll show you a little exercise from my book Win Your Inner Battles that helps you to stop worrying.
Imagine the following situation: You make a mistake at work that upsets a client.
Maybe you send someone a wrong email. Maybe you forget to solve a problem. It doesn’t matter what it is. Imagine that something goes seriously wrong at work.
Have you seen them? Articles and books that promise you the secrets to success? Save yourself some time and stop reading them. I’ll tell you why in a minute.
There are many kinds of those “success-articles.” The ones that suggest there’s a difference between winners and losers are my favorite.
Stuff like: “This behavior separates successful people from average people.” Or how about articles that list the habits of Millionaires or Billionaires? It’s so predictable.
Those type of articles and books are designed to give you a good feeling about yourself. “See! I have all the traits of successful people. I’m one of them!”
They always focus on the outcome. Not the process. Studying, learning, and stealing productive habits or tactics are all smart things to do. But that’s not what I’m talking about here. I talk about people who only focus on the outcome. I.e. success.