How are you ever going to achieve your goal of education, a new career, or making more money if you can’t overcome your fears of change or failure?
Fear is very powerful. Even if we like to think it doesn’t affect us, its roots reach deep and impact every decision.
Even when weighing things that should carry equal weight, fear can move the needle more than it should. In scientific circles, this phenomenon is known as loss aversion, meaning that people usually prefer avoiding losses rather than acquiring an equivalent gain.
For example, someone losing $100 will lose more satisfaction than another person gains when they find $100. Losses have a much larger impact on our mental-well being than gains of the same size.
Taking another example, would you take this hypothetical deal: I flip a coin, and if it lands on heads I’ll give you $20. If it lands on tails, you give me $20.
Most people wouldn’t take that deal. In fact, the potential gain would need to be at least double the potential loss before the majority of people would take the deal.
What does this have to do with education?
Don’t Let Your Fear Decide Your Future
We tend to shy from things we are afraid of, and some of the biggest fears of Americans involve the risk of failure and change. Many people prefer to stay in circumstances they don’t particularly like because by trying something different, there’s always the chance that it could get worse. This attitude is what limits us. It’s what keeps so many people from achieving something great that is within their grasp.
How many missed opportunities have you had in your life (and these being just the ones that you know about?). How many times have you been afraid to roll the dice and try something different?
Whether it’s pain, failure, humiliation, anxiety, or something else entirely, all of us have held back due to fear at some point or another. You might be able make a little hop and land on the sweet island that is your dream life…but you could also fall flat on your face. Rather than risk it, you’ve decided to stay where you are, watching a few brave others hop onto your island.
If you only take opportunities that are a sure thing, you might not ever have the life that you want to have. You won’t live the life that you’re capable of having, never reaching your full potential.
How do you develop the resilience needed to press forward and move towards your fear? How do you keep going?
Move Towards Your Fear
What do resilient people have in common? From Navy Seals to Fortune 500 CEO’s, people that are often successful in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges tend to have a few things in common. Here’s how you can be more like them.
- Be optimistic. Even when things don’t turned out how you planned, look for the good that came from it.
- Accept failure as a learning opportunity. Think of all of mankind’s greatest achievements and realize that likely none of them were accomplished on the first try.
- Use your moral compass. It’s not just about “right” and “wrong” but how you can affect others. If you have an opportunity to improve the fortune of your family or the future of your children, facing your fears of failure might be the right thing to do.
- Get social support. With support, you’ll be able to go further than you would alone.
- Find a role model. It’s not only good to see someone take a similar path as you and do well, but when faced with a decision you can imagine what your role model would do in your shoes.
- Always strive to improve. What skills or knowledge do you need to be successful? Make time to develop those areas.
- Have a sense of humor. People who regularly have to face very scary stuff quickly learn to have a sense of humor about things so they can deal with issues rather than be consumed by them.
What are you afraid of?
Can you imagine what your life would be like with a new career, more money, and job satisfaction? Don’t let your fears hold you back. You can get started in a new career as a pediatric dental assistant right now.
Best of all, there’s no need to be afraid.
Take the plunge and start a new career you can be proud of, today! Enroll in the PDAS!
~ Dr. Rhea Haugseth