Jim Carrey once said in a commencement speech, “Fear will always be a player in your life, but you get to decide how much.” The art of creating a life without limits starts with your approach to uncertainty and fear. When you encounter a challenge, do you focus on what you want, or is your time spent on seeing all the things that are in the way of what you want?
Doing difficult things can drive creativity and innovation. When you encounter a stressors your brain will classify it as either a challenge or a hindrance. Challenges are stressors that are perceived as opportunities for growth and development, while hindrances are seen as barriers to achieving your goals. Learning to harness the discomfort and uncertainty of stressors in your life to promote creative thinking and innovation is the key to a life without limits.
If you want true freedom, and if you want to feel more alive than you ever have you need to practice one principle, "avoid nothing.” By avoiding nothing you can pursue your highest aspirations and have a life without limits. Individuals that consistently drive through rejections, failures, pain, fear, and uncertainty recognize that in life you need to be constantly changing or growing to feel truly fulfilled, so they buckle up and dive in.
Let’s look at several factors that can influence whether we classify stressors as hindrances or challenges.
Perceived Control. If you feel you have control of the stressor you are more likely to view it as a challenge rather than a hindrance. For example, if you believe you have the skills and resources to tackle a difficult task, you are more likely to approach it as a challenge.
A critical mistake that can keep you playing small is to evaluate if you have what it takes to complete the task only considering your existing current skills and resources. Remember, you are a constantly evolving being. If you do not have the required skill(s), find a way to gain that competency, outsource the need, or take small steps to break the stressor down into manageable steps that can be tackled one at a time. These things can help you feel less overwhelmed and more in control.
Perceived resources: If you feel like you have the resources to deal with a stressor, such as time, support, money, or information, you are more likely to view it as a challenge versus a hindrance.
Similar to the critical mistake identified above, if your only framework for determining adequate resources is your current reality, you are limiting yourself to how you can accomplish what you want “easily”. To accomplish great things, you need to move outside your comfort zone. Here are a few ways to overcome a perceived lack of resources.
1. Seek out additional resources: Research available resources that can help you deal with the stressor. This could include seeking out financial assistance, joining support groups, or connecting with a mental health professional.
2. Be resourceful: When faced with a lack of resources, it's important to be resourceful and think outside the box. This could include finding creative solutions, seeking out alternative resources, or adapting to the situation.
3. Prioritize: Identify the most critical resources you need to deal with the stressor and prioritize your efforts to obtain them. This can help you focus your efforts and maximize the impact of the resources you have available.
4. Develop a plan: Develop a plan to obtain the resources you need and break it down into smaller steps. This can help you stay focused and motivated and make progress toward your goal.
5. Don't be afraid to ask for help: Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Reach out to friends, family, or colleagues for support, and don't hesitate to seek out professional help if needed.
Previous experience. Your past experiences with similar types of stressors can influence how you perceive the current one. Successfully coping with something similar in the past provides a reference point that it is not only possible to deal with the stressor, but the probability of success is high.
If you have no previous experience, the following are ways to overcome this hurdle.
1. Educate yourself: Do some research on the stressor to gain a better understanding of what it entails. This can include reading books, articles, or watching videos about the topic.
2. Seek guidance: Seek out people who have gone through a similar experience and ask for advice. This can be a mentor, a friend, or a colleague who has dealt with the stressor before.
3. Build your skills: Identify any skills that may help deal with the stressor and work on developing them. This can include communication skills, problem-solving, or time-management skills.
Mindset. Your mindset or attitude plays a significant role in how you perceive stressors. For a life without limits adopt a growth mindset. A growth mindset positions stressors as challenges that can help us learn and grow. On the other hand, if we have a fixed mindset and believe that our abilities are set in stone, we may be more likely to view stressors as hindrances.
Use the tactics below to develop a growth mindset.
1. Embrace challenges: Instead of shying away from challenges or difficult tasks, try to embrace them. See them as opportunities to learn and grow, rather than as obstacles to overcome.
2. Adopt a positive attitude: Try to approach life with a positive outlook. Look for the good in situations, and focus on what you can control, rather than what you can't.
3. View mistakes as opportunities: When you make a mistake, view it as an opportunity to learn and improve. Don't dwell on the negative, but instead focus on how you can use the experience to grow.
4. Practice self-compassion: Be kind to yourself when you experience stress or setbacks. Recognize that everyone makes mistakes and experiences challenges, and don't beat yourself up for it.
5. Seek feedback: Ask for feedback from others and be open to constructive criticism. Use the feedback to improve your skills and knowledge and view it as an opportunity for growth.
6. Focus on progress, not perfection: Rather than striving for perfection, focus on making progress toward your goals. Celebrate your successes and acknowledge your achievements along the way.
7. Learn from others: Look to people who have a growth mindset as role models. Surround yourself with people who inspire you and can help you cultivate a growth mindset.
Conquering challenges is the gift that keeps on giving. When we engage in difficult tasks we are more likely to experience positive stress that can enhance our creativity and innovation. This is because we are forced to think outside the box and find new ways to solve problems, which can lead to innovative solutions and ideas. More successes create more reference points regarding your ability to succeed and thus will positively influence your tendency to classify something difficult as
If you want change in your life, it's important to dig deep for those inner resources that have gotten us through difficulties in the past. Letting go of uncertainty is a great challenge in and of itself. Find the space and time to quiet the chatter of the ego which focuses you on the cants and the areas of perceived lack. Get quiet, dig for inspiration and strength, and challenge anything that derails your optimism.
Dare to reach for what you want, even if the road is longer and takes more investment.