How to Outsmart Your BrainPosted on July 11th, 2012
It’s Guest-Post Wednesday and today I’m honored to feature Sara Steeves — a writer and dreamer in pursuit of confidence, passion and a life spilling over with authenticity and joy. Find her at www.wildhorsechase.com. Want to write for All Groan Up? Here’s how.
Right now, at this moment, there is something important you should be starting.
You have taken that first tentative step and now you’re stuck. You signed up for the gym membership or bought the tap shoes in a blitz of enthusiasm, secure in the certainty that this action is the beginning of your adventure. So, why are you still standing at the starting line?
Motivational posters sell the line that a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, but what if you never took the second step? While you might look silly standing there like a flamingo on one foot, is there anything actually stopping you from stalling or even retreating?
The fearful, cautious part of your brain – often termed the lizard brain – likes your life the way it is. The lizard wants you to believe that a single step is all it takes to get started on an adventure. That way, you’ll give yourself a pat on the back and take a well-deserved celebratory break until the spark that inspired you has safely fizzled out.
So, how do we outsmart the lizard and quit stalling on our thousand mile journey?
Make the first step count. Approach your journey as a series of cliffs, instead of as a long and winding road.
A plunge of a thousand feet really can get started with a single step and without much latitude for stalling or turning back mid-way down.
Whatever journey you want to start – whether it is fitness, a new career, or a new romance – find the cliff. You’ll know you’ve found one when you get that slightly queasy, high-diving-board feeling in your stomach.
For a fledgling writer, a cliff might be letting a friend critique your poems or submitting a short story to a writing contest.
If romance is what you’re after, why not jump in with both feet and invite the person you’ve been worshipping from afar to lunch or even just strike up a conversation by complimenting them on their shoes, or hair, or perfect use of irregular verbs?
The cliff doesn’t have to be dangerous, even two feet off the ground is a respectable leap. The point is to leap before the lizard can talk you down.
Tackling modest cliffs will embolden you and give you the confidence to dive from increasingly challenging heights.
Find your cliff and leap. Even if you collect some scrapes and bruises on the way down, you will have outsmarted the lizard and made the first step count.
Illustration by Dan Morrelle – Creative Commons