Let me just tell you up front – this is gonna hurt. Not in the physical pain, King Joffrey meets the Terminator kind of way (50 knaves to slay), but more like the “hurt so good” manner of John Mellencamp meets Vlad the Impaler. This is gonna hurt, but there’s something in it for you.
How do you get ahead in this world? How do you grow, whether it be in intellect, in influence, in stature, in wealth? It takes work, people, and that hurts. No pain, no gain, right? But there’s much more to it than that. Anyone can inflict pain on themselves by single-mindedly focusing on a goal, by neglecting your friends and family, or by working too hard. Hell, if all it took to get ahead was pain then we’d all fire walk our way to the bank. No, the trick is to identify those areas where we come up short and do something about them. It’s gotta be surgical (50 strays to splay), like a smart bomb down the chimney of our insecurities. And believe me, this can’t help but hurt.
Why? Because if it was an easy fix, you would have done it already. If it was all good without the initial unpleasantries, we would run to it just like those monkeys in the lab that continued to self-administer cocaine until their heads explode. This requires a cold, hard look in the mirror and the question, “What is holding me back?” And the answer is always – fear.
Fear comes in many forms, and it can paralyze. Take fear of failure. Back when we dragged our knuckles, failure (to run fast, to gather food, to recognize predators) could get us eaten (50 ways to prey). So it’s no wonder that millions of years later avoiding failure is hardwired into our brains. But strangely enough, now that we walk upright and have turned the tables on our predators, there are even more ways to “die”. Comedians talk about “killing it” onstage, but on a bad night they can be “killed” – sometimes over and over again! Public speaking is a terrible fear for many. In fact, surveys suggest that as much as 75% of the population fear public speaking more than actual death. Fear of loneliness also drives many human decisions. Again, this is a hardwired fear that can be traced back millions of years to when individual survival was predicated on association with a group. Think for a moment of the problems we encounter by not severing ties with unsavory people or groups. And then there’s fear of actual pain. Pain is your body’s way of saying, “Hey stupid, stop doing that”, and to be sure you stop, it sends a cease and desist bitch slap at nearly 300 miles per hour through your nervous system.
So what’s the point? Look in the mirror, ask what is holding you back, and tackle it – now! Are you afraid to take a chance at work? Get a mentor, ask him or her to review your work, and then step up! If you’re afraid of public speaking, join Toastmasters. If loneliness haunts you, get a dog. Pain is subjective, and all of these actions will hurt in the short term. But don’t forget, there’s something in it for you. You can rise above your peers, outduel your competition and be a star.
50 played, touché.