Threats and Challenges.
It’s funny how it happens. You get into one thing and lo and behold, you randomly come across similar subjects as you lazily surf the Internet.
Today’s theme on Tara Swiger‘s #monthofbizlove was “challenge or threat mindset”. And now I must admit that I forgot where else I saw a similar subject explored, but the coincidence was amusing and typical: if I start thinking about something, it seems that everybody else is talking about it too.
Illusion, yes, I know. Leave me my fantasy, ok? I still like to be the center of the universe, if only in the silence of my imagination.
Anyway, threat vs. challenge.
Obviously, this theme resonated strongly with me, since I’m blogging about it. And I’d like to thank Tara for stating the problem so clearly. It’s something I’ve always faced, whether it was a scary exam at school or a phone call I really didn’t want to make — but it never occurred to me to formulate the fear of doing the thing that stressed me as “threat” and a possible method of dealing with it as turning it into a “challenge”.
It’s not that I haven’t been doing it. Dealing with life requires you to.
But dealing with life when you have no choice and choosing to face an obstacle are two different things: you can retreat from a choice. Life usually doesn’t give you the option to turn back.
However, my method of dealing with perceived threats has been different.
Tara suggest not to examine the worst possible outcome.
For me, the formula “what’s the worst that could happen” is not a way to magnify a threat, but rather to face it for what it is.
Usually, “the worst that could happen” boils down to either not much of anything (start over — it’s part of life), or such a catastrophic situation that it wouldn’t matter anyway (if it’s the end of the world, would you really care about this phone call you have to make?). In either case, “the worst that could happen” brings the fear down to mild anxiousness, and restores my ability to think rationally.
So for me, “what’s the worst that could happen” is the first step to turning a threat into a challenge.
What’s the worst that could happen with this phone call? They could say no rudely and I’d be upset.
I’ve been upset before. I got over it. More than once. It’s life.
Do I need to make this phone call more than I need people to be nice to me?
Yes? Then just do it.
No? Am I in the right line of work to begin with? Am I actually dealing with the right obstacle?
And now I’ve circled back to turning a threat (the potentially rude and incomprehensible stranger on the phone) into a challenge (communicating efficiently by means of an awkward electronic device). I just did it a little differently.
If you play out (and downplay) a worst-scenario in your mind, then you’re usually prepared for the task ahead. Because you have thought ahead of time of the ways to face the imaginary catastrophes — and they’re rarely as bad as what actually happens.