A friend called me up with news of a great career opportunity. It was bigger than anything he’d ever done. He was ready. He knew exactly what the company needed. He was excited. They were excited. Dreams were on the knife edge of coming true.
But he was worried.
He thought: Is this really my dream coming true? Do I really deserve this? What have I done to be worthy of such good things? We might have to move. The kids might have to change schools. I’d leave old friends behind. It would be very different and uncomfortable.
These are the kind of thoughts a brain spins out when it’s on a wave of adrenaline. It’s the warning from your subconscious that change is scary. It’s self-preservation. It’s guilt. It’s fear. Even worse, It’s fear of success.
It is also perfectly normal.
“I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory.”
― Steven Wright
Look at this resume:
Daniel G. Amen, M.D., is a physician, double-board certified psychiatrist, teacher and eight-time New York Times bestselling author. He is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts on applying brain imaging science to everyday clinical practice.
Dr. Amen calls these thoughts “ANTs” or automatic negative thoughts.
He sums up thirty years of psychiatry this way:
“Don’t believe every stupid thought you have.”
Your brain is a thinking machine. It churns out thought at a fantastic rate. It tries out ideas, bumps ideas into other ideas to see what happens, sorts ideas, invents and kills bad ideas as a matter of course.
Your brain is engaged in a lifelong game of “What if . . .”
It’s what brains do. Why? Your brain is trying to keep you safe. And your brain knows one thing for sure – you survived what you did yesterday.
Yesterday undeniably worked! You’re still here.
But your brain also knows things change. Today is new and different from yesterday. If you only do what you did yesterday, you run the risk of being run over by something new.
So, your brain puts a lot of stock in yesterday, but it also tries to figure out what dangerous thing tomorrow might bring. It invents scenarios and tries to predict what will work based on yesterday. It guesses.
Tomorrow can be better.
The problem happens when we start to believe yesterday is better than today. Because then, we forget that good things happen. We forget that today, in many ways is better than yesterday. And tomorrow can be better than today.
In fact, tomorrow should be better. You know more. You’ve had more experience. You are better.
So, let it be better.
Don’t be the one who tells yourself no, the one who stops you from having a better life, the one who kills off an opportunity before it can happen. Let someone else tell you no.
Because sometimes they say yes!
Oh no! What happens then? Good things. Imagine that?
Today, good things are going to happen somewhere to someone. It might as well be you.
You have permission.
I don’t need to give it to you. You don’t need an email, form or “Good Thing License”. There is no government Department of Good Things that needs to approve of you. Ignore those random thoughts and give yourself permission.
Do well and do it right.
Be grateful. Be thankful. Be generous. Be happy. Be loving.
Think good thoughts.
Another author put it this way:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. ~ Philipians 4:8-9