Why would you…

We often are asked this starter question in so many contexts its silly.

Why would you do that?Why would you talk to that person?Why would you say that?Why would you take that job?Why would you move?Why would you choose to pursue XYZ?

Doubt.

Others plant that seed as if they’re the first to think “why would you…”. What they are really doing is watering that seed because, let’s get real, you, the person dealing with this question have already planted that seed. We, humans, are the masters of self doubt.

What evolutionary principle principle does doubt serve? Do other animals doubt themselves? Did Genghis Khan doubt his ability to rule most of the ancient world?

I was reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg (I ordered the book online and then went Barnes & Nobles to start reading it – yeah I’m not always patient) and she wrote about these mantras on the walls of Facebook (where she is COO). Now, a funny thing happened. The line read:

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

Great line, except I read it as:

Why would you do it if you weren’t afraid?

I sat there, closed the book and contemplated my version without realizing the mistake for 2 minutes thinking, “Wow! This is so relevant.” Then I opened the book and reread the passage and was broadsided by my misinterpretation.

Both are great for their prospective reasons. The former asks you to remove fear and the later asks you to embrace it.

If you aren’t afraid is it worth it?

We need more people embracing fear and making connections in the uncharted territory of the unknown. It’s scary for sure but, it’s always filled of deep positive errors and lessons, of suffering and joy, of skepticism and defining moments.

What could the world be if people quit living with self-doubt and started being more, well, more AWESOME!?

Why would you doubt yourself before you try?

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4 thoughts on “Why would you…

  1. Scott says:

    I have selected a few events this season that are definitely over my head and I was feeling full of self doubt this past weekend. Currently I am overwhelmed with school, mid terms, work and training. I am forced to prioritize where I focus and spend my quality time.
    The past couple weeks my training has suffered due to the burdens of what I have chosen to do with my career and I could very easily say,”to hell with the races, they’ll be other years”. But I’m not gonna roll like that!

    Perfect timing for me to be reading this post right now!
    I have chosen to embrace fear and boy is it freaking me out right now.

    As always I enjoy reading your post’s and thanks for the encouragement
    SF

  2. George says:

    Truth is, something about us is always getting stronger. Could be our bodies, minds, spirits, or the anchors that hold us back. There’s no in between. I admire Scott’s attitude, because putting it off when it’s not perfect can begin a dangerous trend. I’m always amazed at how easily people embrace self doubt and turn it into a lifelong “no” button. I try and exercise my self doubt whenever possible by courting fear and turning it into fuel. It ain’t easy, but few worthwhile things ever are. Such is the footing on the road to awesome. Great post, Justin!

    • justinHARRIS says:

      George, I really like that “lifelong ‘no’ button” statement because when I was teaching I began to see it with students who were 10 years old and you can’t imagine how ingrained it is by High School.

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