Our environment changes about a million times faster than we do.
Think about it – in just the past few thousand years our world has been revamped again and again. What’s important changes. The way we structure society changes. How we get food. The way we teach. The way we learn. The way we get around. The things that are important to get good at. What we do for a living. It’s all changed SO much.
This is all GREAT. I can only speak for myself here, but I love that we have wifi instead of covered wagons. But there’s a big glitch in this system. And it’s us and our brains.
We don’t change, update, and evolve even close to as quickly as our environment. The world is like on version 987,988,900, we’re operating with damn close to the original system (version 1.4 if we’re generous), and our iPhones are even on version 6s.
Our current system was designed to keep us alive back when we literally lived in the wild – when had to hunt for lunch, and worry about becoming lunch to a saber tooth tiger.
We found that the best way to do this was to listen to our fear, to avoid taking risks, avoid making mistakes, avoid the unknown, and avoid standing out at all costs.
New or unknown = danger = death
Mistakes = danger = death
Standing out = getting kicked out of the tribe = death
Obey, play it safe, fit in, do what you know, live.
Again this approach was highly effective for that environment but is far less useful today.
And that is the glitch.
Today our environment/society favors connection and learning. Those who think differently, who love the unknown, enjoy challenges, thrive outside of their comfort zones, and don’t mind sucking and stumbling on the path to growth.
And our 1.4 software is built to resist all of those things.
This is why we:
Hate doing things we’re bad at
Hate public speaking
Hate getting called on
Hate asking questions
Hate trying new things
Hate doing things that might not work
Hate the hard conversations
Love doing things we know we’re good at
Love our comfort zones
Love fitting in
Love the sure thing
Love playing it safe
Love small talk
In other words we resist the things that lead to more connection and learning while steering towards the things that hold us back from connection and learning.
So we’re faced with three options:
1. Wait a few million years for our software to catch up
2. Continue on resisting and avoiding the good stuff
3. Learn how to function/override the software
1. nope – we aint got time for that!
2. no – hell no
3. yes – and let’s talk about that
You may be thinking something down the line of: “ok hollllld up – how do i beat this glitch? how do I conquer it? how do I turn it off? And when I first learned about all of this I was asking the same exact same thing, my friend. I even have video evidence…
Here is me asking my hero those questions + plus his brilliant response:
The resistance, the “lizard brain”, that feeling in your chest, that fear – it is all a sign that you are in the RIGHT place. And as long as your life isn’t in danger you should do the exact opposite of what it tells you to do!
“Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do… The professional tackles the project that will make him stretch. He takes on the assignment that will bear him into uncharted waters, compel him to explore unconscious parts of himself.” – from Steven Pressfield in The War of Art
The fear is not going anywhere. We can’t let it run us. We can’t get rid of it. But we can USE it.
The best marathon runners don’t learn how to not get tired – they just learn to run with the pain. Just like the best performers don’t learn how to not get nervous – they just learn to dance with the fear.
With practice, we too can learn to lean into the fear, to dance with the fear, to use it as a compass that leads us to the opportunities and experiences that will help us the most.
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