Achievement is a great motivator, and so is hardship. Fear is perhaps the greatest of them all. As you envision the best case scenario you would lay out for your future self today, and as you take the small steps in your plan to come closer to it, every time you check the box of a positive achievement, no matter how small, you become more motivated. Conversely, every time you miss the mark, you rethink the plan, you doubt yourself, and you may even regret previous paths. This is when you need fear the most.

Panic creates a fight or flight response. It’s embedded in our being. It is instinctive. It may save you with a rush of adrenaline in a sudden life-endangering situation. Anxiety paralyzes us. Fear of the unknown, of the unpredictable, leads to inaction, stagnation. Shedding our bias for normalcy, and playing out potential future scenarios, good and bad, with a dose of creativity and wisdom, leads to action. It leads to execution towards the envisioned best case scenario and away from the catastrophic ones. The hard part – creativity and wisdom – you can nurture by purposeful study, observation, personal human interaction. The only way to get more of these two is by going out to the world and working hard to capture the collective intelligence gathered by our species’ experience over millennia, to learn from the past. This is not easy; it requires investment of time, and focus, and discerning what is necessary and what is not. In today’s abundance of prosperity, we never seem to have enough time and focus, or we make excuses about not having them.

Fear, plan, act, observe, and learn from your mistakes and other people’s mistakes. Face anxiety; be afraid of the place where you don’t want to end up. Have a double bounded strategy for success. Point the light and position the compass to navigate towards the goal, but at the same time run away from the menace that follows you when inaction caused by unmanaged anxiety rules you.

Our View from the Top – September 3, 2019