MANY A FALSE STEP IS MADE BY STANDING STILL
— Fortune Cookie
A friend had moved into a condo about 10 years ago. She rarely had anyone over because she was embarrassed that she hadn’t “fixed it up.” Finally she worked up the courage to at least ask me for decorating advice. While she was putting off the kitchen until next year, there were other things she could possibly tackle, such as the gold-and-gray accent wall in the bedroom. She hated it and wanted some feedback on what to do.
Sure, the sponged affect was a little dated, but if you saw the room you would not think that she didn’t like the wall. She had decorated the room with a bedspread, curtains and hardware all in gold, as if she loved it.
All those years, she had lived with something she didn’t like — even going out of her way to accommodate it — rather than change it. It would have taken a $27 can of paint, some blue tape and a roller.
Applying the Tim Ferris Fear Setting method, I posed the three steps to her…
1. Ask “what if I?”
2. Consider the benefits of even partial success
3. Then look at what the cost of doing nothing would be emotionally, physically or financially
She named her three fears.
1. I don’t trust my decorating instincts. What if I don’t pick the right color?
2. I can’t paint! I would not know where to start. What if I mess it up?
3. And I’m not sure how to find someone to help me do such a small job.
At least she took the first action – naming her fears. Now she begin to address them. And, in this case, the cost of inaction wasn’t very high. Her life won’t end, there is no permanent damage from doing nothing.
But by doing nothing, she’s paid an emotional price over a decade. The feeling she gets when she goes to sleep and when she wakes up that there is something she’s not taking action on no doubt affects everything in her life the entire day.
On the other hand, the sense of accomplishment she’ll have when she actually paints the wall will be magnificent and might open the floodgates on many other things that are holding her back.
We are all afraid of (or worried about) something. As we move through our lives and careers that something changes almost every day. What’s your gold wall and how can you make a $27 fix to it?