From Fear To Hopeful Anticipation: Re-imagining the Unknown
Most of us hate finding ourselves in unknown territory. We like knowing what's coming and having the right Swiss Army gadget at the ready. Yeah, good luck with that.
Because life happens on its own terms and often without warning. Then what do we do?
You may find yourself taking flight through busyness, reacting more than acting in the hopes that something useful will occur from all the activity. Or you might freeze. Without sure outcomes, you might attach to what seems safest but take no real action to address the situation.
Whichever strategy is adopted it's basically the same thing; it's managing fear.
Problem is, when you conduct your life from a place of fear, you greatly disadvantage yourself for the following reasons:
- Fear compromises thinking. Fear activates the limbic, or emotional, area of the brain which is much stronger than the cortex and thus overwhelms your ability to think clearly.
- Fear narrow your vision, and you "discover" the very thing in the environment you fear. It's like selective seeing, which makes it difficult to get the whole range of data that's necessary to make truly informed decisions.
- Fear mutes the creative process, which relies on a certain level of ease and drift to produce truly outside-the-box solutions.
- Fear reduces the willingness to take even measured risks, which are often necessary to get to the next level of experience.
I'm sure there are many reasons for your fear of the unknown, no doubt related to survival and the action of your brain stem, the most primitive part of your brain, but fear is a definite handicap to expert navigation of unknown territory. Thankfully there's an easy way to change all this.
We fear the unknown because we imagine the worst. Imagine positive outcomes instead and we can change fear to hopeful anticipation.
That simple! And here's how you actually do it.
- Take a moment to focus on an uncertain situation you're in.
- Next, visualize positive outcomes for this situation. If you're new to visualizing, use your senses to make your visualization more powerful: what do these positive outcomes smell, taste, feel, sound like? See yourself interacting with the sensory components of your positive reality.
- Do this visualization often, and when the scary imaginings come to take their place, which they will, shoo them aside. Continue to focus on the hopeful version of your situation.
- Notice when the hopeful rendition of your circumstance starts to materialize. Getting what you ask for is a huge motivator to keep at it. And...
- Be dogged. Resist temptation to give the negative version of things more weight than the positive as you safely navigate your way to the other side.