I love to hear top athletes talk about the way they think. While most people would fold under the pressure these athletes face, the great ones say confidently, “I love pressure.” They want to be the one to take that last crucial shot. They have learned through fierce competition to embrace that which most people are trying to avoid. As they affirm out loud that they love pressure, they grow the mindset internally that helps them walk into stressful situations without fear.
We can do the same thing. We can choose to embrace that which we would typically avoid. In the end, this almost always comes down to fighting fear and choosing courage. This isn’t simply a mind game; it is a choice of the will to see circumstances positively. Here are five mindsets I am working on embracing, rather than resisting:
- Embrace Uncertainty – Fear leads me to crave control. My anxious nerves tell me that uncertainty is dangerous and to be avoided. It warns me that surprises are scary. But uncertainty is neutral. What is around the corner may be good or bad. It is our negativity bias that fears uncertainty instead of welcoming what comes next. The mindset that embraces uncertainty sees the unknown future as an adventure rather than a threat.
- Embrace Change – Similar to uncertainty, the natural response to change is to view that change as intimidating. How unnecessary and destructive! We cannot grow unless we are also willing to change. Growth implies change. While some changes are good, and some are bad, if we embrace the possibility that our best future might come with change, we are more likely also to be open to moving toward circumstances that enable growth.
- Embrace Risk – Whole industries are built around the topic of risk. Departments are formed for risk management. We are taught to minimize risk. Counting the costs of our decisions is fundamental to wisdom, but not at the expense of never taking chances. While risks may bring an element of danger, but taking calculated chances also opens the potential for success. Discerning when to take risks is critical. Avoiding risks is an over-correction.
- Embrace Failure – Failure is an indispensable pathway to success. When all of our energy is spent dodging failure, we are also unintendedly sidestepping success. Katherine B Hathaway, a woman with disabilities raised in the early 1900s wrote, “If you let your fear of consequence prevent you from following your deepest instinct, then your life will be safe, expedient and thin.”
- Embrace Generosity – Generosity has so many forms: financial, relational, spiritual, generosity of time and spirit, generosity in patience and forgiveness. When we embrace generosity, we are choosing to believe in a world of abundance rather than scarcity. When we give without fearing that we will be left empty, we receive back more than we ever sacrifice.
The pendulum has swung too far in the direction of fear, control, and safety, creating perpetual anxiety. The existence of those who overdo risk and adventure should not keep us, who overemphasize comfort and the status quo, from living more boldly.
Embracing someone or something is a conscious decision. What do you need to embrace that for too long you have resisted?