by Patrick McNerthney—Creative Director, Outcasting
There’s a guy with a great name. Berkeley Breathed. Famous cartoonist.
Here’s one of his greatest works about something I’m terrified of—snakes!
No wait, it’s about making decisions. Or more importantly, what happens when we don’t.
First things first:
It’s in our DNA to fear decisions, because decisions involve the risk of unknown outcomes. After all, what if we choose a path that makes things worse or hurts us? Scary stuff. No thank you. Much easier to sit here, hide and hope everything works out.
Second things second:
Once we accept that fear leads to avoiding decisions, we can lean on history to feel less bad about the whole thing.
Way to go guy from 2000 years ago! What we imagine will happen as a result of deciding is typically way worse than what is likely to happen. Thanks for that!
So how do we determine what’s likely to happen, i.e. see into the future to calm our overactive imaginations?
We can use a tool called fear setting (think goal setting but more emotionally draining!) created by Tim Ferris.
The abbreviated version is this:
- Write down the decision you’re facing: What if I ______.
- Write three “worst case scenarios,” things you fear could happen as a result. Be honest.
- For each worst-case scenario, what could you do to fix it? Who could you ask for help?
- Based on your answer to number three, what’s the result?
Hint: it’s at least partial success.
And that’s the trick. When we avoid a decision because of our overactive imaginations, we miss the opportunity to experience (at a minimum) partial success, something totally within our reach as demonstrated by this exercise.
This is empowering. When we see we have the ability to create the future we want, we realize we can also create impactful change, a positive future, for those under our care, those we seek to serve. For Fine Art Miracles, this is the elderly, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, children with challenges.
And isn’t that why we’re all here?