Do you tend to base your major life decisions on the pretext that anything is possible? Or, are you like the vast majority of people who immediately rule out a great number of possibilities based on what they think the outcome will be?
The fact of the matter is that most of us limit our options considerably base on these three inadequate advisors:
- emotional baggage
These three limiting forces are subtle, yet they can have potentially devastating consequences on the level of success we attain. Most often, they manifest as the little voices in our head that tell us that we have to “be realistic” and “not get our hopes up too high.”
Although it may appear as if these tendencies are ingrained and unchangeable, there is a way to retrain those inner thoughts to believe that anything is possible.
Fritz Perls, the father of Gestalt therapy, observed that we are the only living species with the capacity to significantly interfere with our own growth. Most of us realize that our thoughts, attitudes and perspectives, to a large extent, have a greater impact on the quality of our lives than our skills, talents and abilities.
Yet virtually every time we begin to make a decision that will affect our life or determine our behavior, we limit our options due to our fears, insecurities and emotional baggage. We let these inadequate advisors drive our thoughts. I would suggest that addressing these ill-suited advisors is the crux of finding the greatest area of opportunity for opening up our options and increasing our potential success.
— Joe Caruso (@JosephACaruso) July 25, 2016
Be Aware of How Your Past is Affecting Your Decisions
It is natural for us to relate almost everything in our lives — including what is possible in our futures — to our past experiences and perceptions. If we’re overweight, our fears, insecurities and emotional baggage convince us that it’s our natural state, and therefore it’s difficult, if not impossible, to experience anything else.
If a lack of money is the problem, those same three annoying advisors are always there whenever we consider options that may help us solve our financial problems. Most of us realize that as long as we continue to let the same fears, insecurities and emotional baggage advise us, we probably will continue to make decisions that yield similar results with our lives.
Try Hypothetical Reasoning to Limit the Influence of Inadequate Advisors
How will we keep these three inadequate advisors from automatically appearing, governing our thoughts and limiting the possibilities we’ll allow ourselves to realistically consider? Our answer lies in something I like to call hypothetical reasoning. Although the theory behind hypothetical reasoning is amazingly simple, the process can be extremely powerful.
Here’s how hypothetical reasoning works:
Step No. 1: Take the reality out of it, just for a moment.
When you begin considering options for a decision that will affect your life, instead of asking yourself, “What are my options?” try asking, “What would I do if anything were possible?”
I know this may sound too simple to be effective, but let’s examine the subtle difference in the two questions. Our fears, insecurities and emotional baggage are immediately triggered and on the alert when we begin to examine ourselves and our possibilities.
However, when we make the question hypothetical, we prevent these three limiting forces from believing this is an actual consideration that may affect our reality. Thus, by taking the “reality” out of the decision, we are less intimidated.
Step No. 2: List all the steps that would be necessary to make that option a reality.
Notice, by using the word “would” we are still in a hypothetical mind set. This perspective allows the emotional distance that will empower us to choose the decision that is best for us without the misguided advice of our fears, insecurities and emotional baggage.
Step No. 3: Create an action plan (one step at a time).
This step consists of working on your action plan one step at a time. If (or when) challenges or barriers get in the way, try to deal with them one at a time by again practicing and applying hypothetical reasoning.
We’ve given our whole lives to become who we are in this moment; our future comes to us one action, one decision, one thought at a time. Try hypothetical reasoning and stop letting your fears, insecurities and emotional baggage have the upper hand in deciding your present circumstances and determining your future.