For the Seinfeld fans out there, you probably remember the show above where George Costanza decides that every decision he has made in his life turned out to be wrong. So, he decides to do the opposite of what he would normally do.
For example, when approaching a woman, he would normally make himself sound wonderful and stretch the truth about every area of his life. Instead, he decides to do the opposite and blurts out that he is broke and lives with his parents. In spite of this information, the woman appears to remain interested in him and he finds success from doing things differently.
Not a bad life strategy for those of us who carry around a lot of fear and insecurity. Doing the opposite of what we would normally do, can be a very freeing experience. As we know, fear and insecurity can stop us from:
- Applying for certain careers.
- Going back to school.
- Asking someone out on a date.
- And any number of other restrictions we put on ourselves.
Many of us have a story we have created about who we are and what is possible for us in this life. The things we tell ourselves, determines our feelings which affects our actions, and ultimately creates our whole life! They become self-fulfilling prophecies!
Some examples of things we tell ourselves are:
I’m too old to try anything new.
I’m not smart enough to get a good job.
I don’t have time to work out.
Nobody appreciates me, so what is the use of trying.
I’m not good looking enough to be successful.
I’m too fat to have a great relationship.
I’m unlovable because my high school boyfriend rejected me.
I can’t be happy because I had an unhappy childhood.
I was teased in grade school, so therefore I can’t complete my education.
I don’t have enough money because it is selfish not to give my money away to family.
And many more…
It is our stories, thoughts, and beliefs that cause us to suffer. Therefore, if we want to get rid of the suffering and improve our lives, we have to find a way to disconnect from our story.
This starts by questioning our thoughts and beliefs, and often doing the opposite of what our thoughts tell us.
For instance, a friend of mine realized her story was that she is just too shy and ineffective at speaking in front of people. Therefore, she declined any career possibilities where she would have to give speeches or presentations, even if the job itself was something she really wanted.
Getting up in front of people was something that caused her great distress; so she decided to do the opposite and immerse herself in a situation that required constant speeches and presentations. She joined Toastmasters which is a world leader in communication and leadership development.
At her Toastmasters meetings, participants would practice giving presentations to those who were also trying to overcome their fear of speaking to large audiences.
They gave each other constructive feedback on how to improve their speeches and improve their confidence. She said it was amazing to watch a shy and tentative member like herself, emerge into a confident and commanding speaker.
From this experience, she learned to face her fears, and realize that she is much more competent than she originally thought.
Imagine how our life would be different if we didn’t have the ability to even think the fearful thoughts that keep us from making changes, and how it would feel to think courageous thoughts instead!
It is amazing how exhilarating it can be to face our fears and expand our world by doing the opposite.
- Is there someone you want to call but have let fear keep you silent?
- Is there a class you want to take but are afraid to sign up?
Go ahead and try one small action and see how empowered you feel.
After all, if George can do it, so can you!
What one small action can you do today that is the opposite of what you would normally do?