Anxiety: The thing that holds me back. By Michael Vuong.
Anxiety creeps into everyone’s lives. This is Michael’s story about how he is trying to conquer his fears and quieting the lizard brain.
Have you ever backed out of a challenge? Something you never have done before. Because the voices in your head told you it was too risky, too dangerous. When you are about to make that decision you decided not to follow through. You will pick for the safest option to end up regretting. At that moment you feel people don’t understand what you felt. You feel alone. Not being understood. I can tell you one thing: You are not alone.
If you are asking yourself why is there a sudden change in my usual blogs? This is just a personal note; something I want to share with the world and need to get off my chest. If this is not for you. No worries: I see you in the next one!
Words become long sentences
There are many people who are afraid to take that step. Why risking everything when you are ‘happy’ with what you got right? I know that feeling, I’ve been there. Even better I am still there. Explaining to people why I haven’t follow through or what makes me anxious is extremely hard.
You are just standing there, everything is going through your head. At that moment I just feel numb, feet are cemented to the ground and thoughts are flying all over the place. 80% of the decisions made is usually the safe ones. I always ended with that one question: What happens if I just took that rest? I know very well how the other side of the coin feels.
Whether it’s speaking to that pretty girl you have seen, climbing a mountain wall in the Ardennes or hiking to the top of Bryce Canyon. Getting out of that comfort zone gives that special feeling. The feeling of liberation and relief. You finally beat that anxiety or what I would call the mental barrier.
The lizard brain
But how can I explain the resistance of making that one decision? Seth Godin explains it as the lizard brain (click here for more). The lizard brain is a psychical part of our brain and is near our brain stem that is responsible for fear and rage. The lizard is responsible for that voice that tells us to back off or to take the safe road. Once we get close to the point of making the final the decision, the resistance gets stronger.
Have I found the solution?
There is no real solution in making the lizard brain go away. However, according to Godin, there is a possibility to quiet the resistance. Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out yet how to quiet and ignore it. During my trip back from Australia I came across this book Shoe Dog from Phil Knight. The man behind Nike. Although the phrase ‘Just do it’ wasn’t introduced till 1980, the book, his life is all about just doing it.
The book consists mostly out of his memoirs from the start of the company. Mr. Knight knew very well that risk has to be taken to achieve your goals. As Gary Vaynerchuk once mentioned (correct me if I got the quote wrong): ‘If you want to live that 1% live, you have to do what 99% of the people won’t do’. Pushing the boundaries; that’s what Mr. Knight has done and it brought him a long way. There are many takeaways from this book. For many entrepreneurs, this book shows you how a company like Nike was able to grow. Many lessons can be taken from this book, but it isn’t the blueprint to success. After all, everybody writes their own story.
Just Do It. This one simple phrase made up by a marketer has a great meaning. It’s just not 3 words sentence, its all about pushing yourself out of that comfort zone. Eliminating that anxiety and unlocking the life that you decide you want to live. While I am still searching for my place here, I hope you find comfort in what you do. Never stop being you.
Over to you
Share your thoughts about anxiety and quitting the lizard brain in the comment section below. I’m really looking forward to reading your comments.
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