Mark Twain has numerous comedic quotes, many of which will get you a laugh (one of my favorites being, “Golf is a good walk spoiled”). Despite the cleverness, and seeming shallowness, of many of the quotes, however, the majority of them have a great depth if you are willing to stop and consider their realities.
One that is particularly applicable, both in terms of general life and business.
“I am an old man and have had a great many troubles, most of them never happened.”
How often in life do we let potential troubles, worries, or complications paralyze us? Take a good hard look at every aspect of your life including work, relationships, health, education, etc. Which parts are you truly happy with and which are you not? Which troubles, that have not happened and may never happen, are stopping you from improving the parts of your life that need attention?
What project would you like to take on that you are avoiding? What challenge is scaring you away? What major life change are you putting off? Humans are creatures of planning and forward thinking, which makes us unique. But when that forward thinking causes anxiety and keeps you from ever coloring outside the lines, then it’s time to get off your ass and shake things up.
Tim Ferriss has a wonderful chapter in The 4 Hour Work Week that encourages readers to do one simple activity:
1. Think of that change you have been wanting to make.
2. Imagine the worst case scenario if you take the leap and it doesn’t go well.
3. Then, realistically consider what steps you could take to get back to your current state (or close to it) if it doesn’t work out.
4. Now, think about what your missing out on by NOT taking the action (fulfillment, happiness, etc.)
Most likely what you are missing out on by not taking the action is scarier than the tangible objects, property, or money that you MIGHT miss out on if you take it. And even if you take it, and it doesn’t go well, you can likely recover pretty quickly! So don’t let the troubles in your life (that haven’t happened) stop you from pursuing what you should.