“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.”
“Explore. Dream. Discover.”
— Mark Twain
We are afraid of Door #3.
I’m convinced of it — and rationally, it makes no sense.
But, Bob, what’s behind Door #3? I’ll dig a little deeper here in a minute — but suffice it to say Door #3 contains our “Place of Maximum Potential.” Sounds cool, true?
And — it sounds A LOT better than its other names of, “The Unknown…” or “Uncertainty…” doesn’t it? However, few of us look at the unknown or uncertainty with a sense of anticipating something wonderful. Instead, it’s almost as if we choose to suffer in advance when faced with something we can’t see.
After all — the devil that I know is better than the one I don’t know, right?
Further, the REALLY weird thing about it is this — unless we occasionally CHOOSE what’s behind Door #3 we remain stuck in our ruts, doing what we’ve always done, or avoiding what we’ve always avoided. As a result, the opportunity to put ourselves into a place of maximum potential (where great things can and do happen) is lost. We’re shackled by our certainty, our fear, and our inability to risk.
Okay — in a virtual shout-out to one of the most popular TV shows in US history, “Let’s Make a Deal,” let’s take a look at what I’m saying is behind doors #1, #2 and #3:
Stuff I’m Certain That I’m Certain About
It contains all the stuff we know that we know that we know. As an example, I hear this all the time — “I’ve been a successful (fill in the blank with your employment history) for years now, and I’m certain that I can keep doing (that) for the rest of my career.”
Now, for some of us this may be perfect — and we may be looking at it objectively. However, for many others, we tend to over-romanticize our experiences here, and identify with a “fairy-tale” history related to what we’ve always done. Therefore, we delude ourselves into thinking our current reality (with the stuff we know) is the “only” ideal reality for us.
Stuff I’m Certain That I Don’t Know
Maybe you’ve heard this described as “things I know I don’t know” — and that description works too. I hear this when people are faced with potentially making a new choice for a career. When looking at the unknown they say, “I can’t do (fill in the blank) because I don’t have (fill in another blank).” Yep, if you say it — it becomes true. But — if you don’t say it, well, then… Maybe you’re peeking into Door #3.
So… What about you? Might you let the lack of an MBA stop you from starting a business? What do Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Brian Williams (NBC Nightly News), Michael Dell, etc. have in common? They don’t even have a bachelor’s degree, yet they’ve been pretty successful in business. Here’s a really interesting article about them — and many more like them: READ MORE HERE.
Stuff I Never Knew I Always Wanted
Alas. This is the choice that paralyzes so many people when it comes to making meaning-filled, purpose-filled, joy-filled decisions for themselves. Door #3 is all about what we didn’t know that we always wanted. Make sense?
How many times have you “settled” for a new restaurant, only to discover it’s your new favorite place to eat? A new book? A new movie? Why not a new career? A new community? A new wardrobe, or hair style? Wouldn’t life be a wondrous thing if we found ourselves learning all kinds of new things that we never knew we always wanted?
I say, YES! But, without the willingness to risk, to trade-off something in Door #1 or Door #2, we’ll never have the Door #3 experience.
How come? Is this “a truth” of the universe, or a collective decision made by the human race to be fearful of what we can’t know? I think we’re conditioned by those who are anchored to the known, to the certain, to the safe — to believe that Door #3 is frightening. There’s nothing frightening in there — just things that are different. And, maybe — just maybe, different in a WONDERFUL way.
Are you interested in finding out what’s in your personal Door #3? Here’s a tool I’ve used to help hundreds of individuals through a career / life transition.
Looking at the template, it shows we are at “equilibrium” in our lives (the center line in the template). As such, we have driving forces pushing us, and restraining forces holding us back. We find ourselves “stuck” — and unless we push harder on a driving force (the desire for more joy, for example), or eliminate or mitigate the effect of a restraining force (the fear of failure), we won’t get moving toward our target (the line to the right).
This tool was originally developed by Kurt Lewin in the early 1950s, and I’ve adapted his marvelous work to be part of the JUMP! tool set I include in my book of the same name…
Anyway, I have come to discover that the place of “uncertainty” is actually the place of maximum potential for many of us. And — here’s the most amazing discovery of all — any pain, suffering and stress associated with looking behind “Door #3” can actually turn out to be one of the BEST things that ever happens to us. It can be a real blessing in disguise!
Maybe what’s back there is something wonderful, something amazing, and something joyful. If not, then you’ve just added something else back to Door #1 — something you know you don’t want.
Then, you can make another trade.
It’s that simple.