If you haven’t heard me say it before then I’ll say it again: don’t fear what isn’t real. In fact I wrote an entire article on the subject. In essence what we’re talking about here is that our projections of what may or may not happen are often worse than the actual handling of the thing that actually happened. Even if said things are bad, it’s still manageable. Why? Because they are real. When something isn’t real you cannot handle it because it’s made up. There’s no concrete action you can take on something that hasn’t happened yet or that may never, ever happen. To me it’s one of the most debilitating feelings on earth.
But today I’d like to talk about the reverse scenario. Focusing on the bad is probably the most common thing because we’re always in search of feeling better. But that can be extremely dangerous as well. In the same token that we think things will be worse than they actually are, we are constantly thinking things are going to be amazing and then let down when they don’t match our projections. We fool ourselves into thinking of a life less ordinary and when we reach the pinnacle we think to ourselves, “this is it?” In addition, there are also times when we actually lie to ourselves to put ourselves into a state of bliss when there’s no actual basis for it. Let me give you examples of both.
The sale that hasn’t happened yet
I used to be in sales and in sales you are usually required to cold call. However, this applies to all sales. It doesn’t matter if you are calling, emailing, or showing up door to door. Have you ever hung your hopes on a maybe? We all have. Let’s say you’re having a shitty sales day. You make call after call after call. Then all of a sudden you have this promising phone call where you really think a person is going to buy what you are selling.
However, they haven’t officially given you a “yes” yet. You’re all excited because you think you might get a sale. That thought keeps you up at night. It keeps you in a positive frame of mind. But it also gives you false hope. You talk to the person a week later and you still don’t get a “yes.” It’s drawn out. This is going on for weeks. You’re still clinging to that hope that the sale might actually go through.
What happens when that sale doesn’t go through? You’re devastated because you’ve spent so much time and energy into something that was never real in the first place. But man did it feel real didn’t it? The mind is capable of some powerful stuff.
So what about when you do get the sale?
The sale that does happen
In a similar breath, what if all that hard work pays off? What if after a few weeks of follow ups the sale does actually happen? When reality hits and the money hits the bank account, is that feeling as good as you hoped it would be? Sometimes it is. Sometimes when all the hard work pays off it can be better than the expected result. But I’d be willing to bet that more times than not you wind up realizing that the feeling of that closed sale doesn’t feel nearly as exciting or awesome as what you were making it out to be. And why is that? Because your feeling isn’t real. It’s easy to feel amazing about something that’s imaginary because your mind is controlling it. And as I said, the mind is a powerful thing.
So then what do you do?
If I’m sitting here telling you that it’s dangerous to spend too much time thinking about outcomes that don’t exist yet, what can you do to stop such thinking? Act. Be active. The more action you take and the less projecting you do, the better off you are. Did you just make a great sales call? Awesome. Get on the phone and make another right away.
Did you just make a three pointer that tied up the game? Great, get back on defense and forget about that shot. I’m not saying you shouldn’t get excited. I’m not saying we shouldn’t celebrate our wins. But there is something to be said about hinging our lives on these feelings. Feelings are temporary. My advice?
Stay in reality. Move on. If it hasn’t actually happened, it doesn’t count. Move on. I can’t stress this enough. Move on.