Daily Stoic for January the 17th. Reboot the real work.
“I am your teacher and you are learning in my school. My aim is to bring you to completion, unhindered, free from compulsive behavior, unrestrained, without shame, free, flourishing, and happy, looking to God in things great and small—your aim is to learn and diligently practice all these things. Why then don’t you complete the work, if you have the right aim and I have both the right aim and right preparation? What is missing? . . . The work is quite feasible, and is the only thing in our power. . . . Let go of the past. We must only begin. Believe me and you will see.”
—EPICTETUS, DISCOURSES, 2.19.29–34
Do you know what’s the most common cause of failure? Fear of failure.
Before quitting my corporate job, I was completely paralyzed by my fears. I knew I needed to quit, and yet I was completely scared to do it.
My biggest fear was, of course, failure. Finding myself six months later with no money, lots of unpaid bills, and begging for my old job with my tail between my legs.
Later, I found out how unfounded my fears were.
If you are really passionate about your job, and work hard, eventually you find customers. Yes, it might take some time or come slowly, but it’s a matter of “when”, not “if”.
What’s The Worst That Could Happen?
The same happens with most people willing to start a project. Their doubts and fears make them abandon before even getting started.
If you find yourself in that situation, willing to start something but paralyzed by your fears, ask yourself: “what’s the worst that could happen?”
Really, “what’s the worst that could happen?”
If I had asked myself that before quitting my job, the answer would have probably been:
“I could loose all my money, and then be unable to get my job back”
… so what? Yes, that’s not a good scenario. However, I would have probably been able to find another job.
My point is: our imagination is sometimes our worst enemy. Things are never as dramatic as we envision them.
Reboot The Real Work
Thus, stop being gripped in fright. Just do it.
Seriously, do it.
There’s a sentence that, even though rather hackneyed, I love: “Don’t ask for permission, ask for forgiveness”. You can certainly fail in your entrepreneurial adventure, in your career or in your new life. However, you will be proud of having tried, and will never wonder again what would have happened…
All it takes is a first step. That’s how everything begins.
So stop wondering, asking for permission and considering pros and cons. Reboot the real work. Today.
Today’s Daily Stoic: “Reboot the real work” aptly discusses how the main cause of failure is precisely fear of failure. Most of the times, our fears prevent us from even starting a project, or taking an important step in our lives.
Throughout these years, I have learned that our imagination sometimes can be our worst enemy when asking ourselves “what could go wrong?”. Stop being paralyzed by your fears and just start. Today.