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The 20 Second Rule…
Every lifetime is blessed with innumerable opportunities that come flooding our way. Some of these opportunities of course come in the form of problems, setbacks and challenges. While other opportunities don’t really seem advantageous until weeks, months or years later when the fruits of our labor and efforts come to full view.
Often however there is a big problem with opportunity because it’s riddled with uncertainty, risk, the unknown and the possibility of failure, rejection and the potential of getting hurt. As such we often hold ourselves back from grasping these opportunities because we just can’t bear to go through the pain.
Consider for a moment that every opportunity you pass up you may never get again. And if it does come around again, it might not be the same. Yes it could be better the second time around, but it could also be worse. You just never know. As such it’s absolutely paramount that we take stock of ourselves during these pivotal moments of our lives and take full advantage of what life has to offer.
But of course this is easier said than done.
We are all riddled with fears about an uncertain future. It’s of course natural to protect ourselves from getting hurt. But it’s often these things that lead to hesitation and inaction. We of course understand the incredible pleasure we might experience if we take this action, but the short-term pain is just too much to deal with in the moment.
It’s important to understand that anything that leads to uncertainty could potentially be riddled with pain — or not. Because things are uncertain you really never know, do you? You have absolutely no idea how things will turn out if you take a specific action until after the ‘act’. Likewise you have no idea how others will respond to something you do or say until after the ‘act’.
The probability of experiencing some form of pain or discomfort might seem high, but that could have something to do with your imagination. Anything we are afraid of doing we tend to exaggerate in our minds. We expect the worst to protect ourselves against taking action. What if instead of expecting the worst you anticipated the best? How would that change how you view the situation?
Have a think about for a moment the opportunities you failed to grasp over the course of your life. Maybe you didn’t approach someone you liked, maybe you said “no” to something that could have been of value, maybe you didn’t act because you feared making a mistake, or maybe you avoided a problem thinking that it was a burden but in retrospect could have turned into something great.
We all no doubt have these pivotal moments in our lives where we reach a fork in the road. We can turn one way or the other way, or maybe we just stand where we are and decide to go back — back into the cozy confines of our comfort zone. But is this really how life should be lived? Is this really how we get the most out of ourselves and live life to the fullest? Probably not.
At the end of your life you will regret the things you didn’t do rather than the ones you did. In other words, you will regret the opportunities you didn’t take because you were too afraid at the time.
Everyone fails. Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone gets hurt from time-to-time. That’s life. Everything is a learning experience. And in order to experience life to its fullest we must be willing to take chances, risks and go out on a limb. And it’s much easier than you think.
All you need to do is follow the 20 Second Rule.
Just 20 seconds of insane courage is all it takes. Just 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery, afterwhich you can pull out if you need to. But what you will probably find is that within 20 seconds your perspective of the situation will shift. What might have seemed scary or difficult at first may now look very different, and that’s essentially all you may need to build the momentum to make the most of this opportunity.
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The next time you are fearful, feeling embarrassed or uncertain about doing something ask yourself:
- If I do this, what’s the worst that could possibly happen?
- How will I deal with the worst case scenario?
- If I do this, what’s the best case scenario?
- How could I display insane courage for just 20 seconds? What then?
Whenever in doubt follow the words of Benjamin Mee,
“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”
IQ Matrix Maps
Here are links to complementary IQ Matrix posters that go into more depth about this topic:
- A Courageous Heart: Explores what’s required to take a chance and cultivate a courageous heart.
- Courage of a Lion: Provides you with insights that will help you tackle your fears with confidence.
- Expand Comfort Zone: Examines how to push out the boundaries of your comfort zone.
- Conquering Self-Doubt: Shows you how to take charge of the self-doubts holding you back.
- Be a Go-Getter: Explains what it takes to get what you, every time you want it. No fears allowed.