We all have that voice in our heads-- the one that essentially narrates our life. It's the one that we hear when we're debating doing something--even little things. We debate whether or not to send a text message to someone we like, or what we should have for lunch. We also debate much bigger things in our minds, like taking a risk on starting a business or going full time with a side venture, or whether we should quit our jobs and become a freelance developer.
That voice, if you haven't noticed, is really contrary. In one moment it will tell you you should do something, and in the next it will immediately give you reasons why you shouldn't. Mine sounds something like this all the time:
I should write a blog post about ______. No but that's a stupid topic, why would anyone want to read that? Well it's interesting and meaningful to me, and I bet I could write about it in a way that other people would enjoy. No, it's going to be bad and people are going to hate it.
I'm sure you're familiar with some type of dialogue like this in your mind. It's because that voice in our head isn't necessarily one of reason: it's often one that just chatters on incessantly, ready to take any view. What's worse is that when it says negative things, we are more likely to listen to those particular things rather than the positive side of things. Why? Because we have a negativity bias.
Evolution has basically taught us that bad news or negative information is more important than positive information. The news of finding food or water is great, but the news that a tiger or lion is nearby and might kill you is far more important to our immediate survival. Our brains seek out that kind of negative information to protect ourselves. This is great for when we lived out in jungles and forests and mountains, but it's pretty bad for creativity and freelancing and entrepreneurism. It's what Seth Godin basically describes as the lizard brain.
When we hear that negative information in our mind, we are way more likely to listen to it rather than all the positive stuff we're trying to tell ourselves. As a result, that blog post never gets written, that painting never gets completed, that book never gets published, and progress stops. We stay in stasis, never creating, never shipping and as a result never changing. We find comfort in the lack of change because the brain really likes predictability.
I bring all of this up because I believe it relates 100% to confidence. Confidence is what we can create when we learn to stop listening so intently to that inner dialogue. Confidence is a result of understanding that the voice is going to tell us all kinds of things, but we don't have to listen to it-- we still get to make the decision, in a place deeper than our voice.
We can override whatever negative things it's telling us and we can go after what we know in our hearts we want. I think that's what sets apart those that find great success, and everyone else. They learn to go after what they want, and to push and fight for what matters. They find confidence in themselves to learn the skills, to work harder than everyone else, to be disciplined, and to achieve their goals.
When you're debating going after some new thing, like starting an exercise routine, building a new business, becoming a freelancer, or whatever it is that matters most to you, try not to listen too intently to your inner dialogue feeding you all kinds of negativity. Instead, dig deeper and find that confidence to go after it. Find comfort in your discomfort and start to build your better tomorrow.
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