A stack of textbooks stared at me from the corner of my room. I gave them a cursory glance and went back to writing an email. Email sent. Another glance and the books were still there. My palms began to sweat and the air felt heavy in the room. Queue panic attack 1 of too many.
I was a week away from the first day of my first year of college and two months into my first big boy job. Those textbooks were a physical reminder of the fact that I had to choose between the job that I loved and being a full time student. I knew that doing both would end up with me burning out and doing poorly both in school and at work. I really wasn’t even that excited about school, but my fear kept me from making the decision that I wanted to.
A combination of my insecurity and going to high school in an upper middle class neighborhood cursed me with the idea that in order to be successful you have to go to college. Conversely I believed that if I didn’t go to college, I would end up washing dirty spatulas at a burger joint along an interstate. That’s what I call a doomsday scenario – A “worst-case” scenario, not necessarily based on fact that causes paralyzing fear.
We carry around doomsday scenarios about every part of our life. Maybe yours is the possibility that your relationship will end if you share your feelings, or it could be that you are afraid that you’re going to make a fool of yourself in a new social situation. (You can read more about thriving in new social environments here) These doomsday scenarios cause us to act from a position of fear rather than a position of power.
It is time to let go of your doomsday scenarios.
Before you can let go, the first thing to accept is that you live a life by design therefore you have absolute control over what your life will become. Remind yourself every morning, “This is my life; my decisions become the world I live in.” Write it down. Scream it from the rooftops. Do what you have to do to understand and believe that principle.
When you can think from a position of understanding that you have control over your life, you are ready to let go of your doomsday scenarios. Doomsday scenarios are built from and cause fear. Fear is a reaction to perceived danger and therefore there is nothing real about fear. It is important to understand the danger of a situation because danger is irrefutable. Fear on the other hand is how you choose to react to that danger and is nothing but chemicals in your brain.
The only way to let go of a fear is to understand the stimuli that caused the reaction. For me I had to understand that the origins of my fear that if I didn’t go to college I wouldn’t be successful. From that position of understanding I could see that I was choosing to be afraid based off of things that were not true. Even if the dangers that I thought existed, did actually exist I still would have been acting from fear not from understanding.
At that moment I made the conscious decision that I would not allow myself to be afraid of dropping out of college. I decided that my doomsday scenario was not real and I decided that I would never make a decision based on that scenario.
A week into the quarter I dropped my classes. My name is Chris and I am a college dropout and I do not wash dirty spatulas.
Let me know what your doomsday scenario is; my greatest pleasure is helping people live the life that they want.
Author Chris Wyman is a modern day renaissance man, a philosopher and a reality sculptor. He believes in living a deliberate life of dreams actualized. You can follow his journey to help people live life powerfully, share your feedback, or reach out for help living the life that you want all on his facebook page.