Updated: Apr 13, 2020
What frightens most of us when we begin working on our goals? It’s uncertainty - not knowing what to expect, not being able to predict how the process will unfold, or not having enough resources if something falls apart. Interestingly, our brain is a huge control freak that needs to know every single step you are going to take on the way to your goal. Moreover, your brain also needs to be aware of any possible glitches, hypothetical setbacks, and other mysterious forces that will fight you persistently and place deadly traps on your pursuit of success. Therefore, your brain, with pride and determination, starts working overtime creating what’s called “the worst-case scenario” to make sure it prepares you for the hard and dangerous journey [sarcasm] you are about to take.
Can you relate???...
Although it may seem funny at first, especially because this is a very common situation, there are several serious issues that arise from having an overly controlling brain and need to be addressed:
1) WASTE of time.
When your brain is working on “the worst-case scenario” it’s not working on your goal. In other words, the time you could be spending thinking about the details of your goal, cultivating the right attitude, or collaborating with others, you are uselessly spending on creating blockbusters in your head that will never make it to Hollywood.
2) HELLO, anxiety.
Thinking excessively about what may go wrong puts you in a state of fear or anxiety, that in some cases, if not addressed on time, can cause panic or even lead to the development of anxiety disorders. Sadly, this issue is more common than you may think because, according to NIH, more than 30% of people in the U.S. experience some form of anxiety disorder in their lives. And this, in my opinion, is the worst-case scenario, because now you need to seek treatment and/or medicate yourself.
3) WRONG approach.
You do not need to know all the details of your journey. Well, let me put it the other way: your controlling brain does think you need to know all stages from A to Z when you set a goal for yourself. In reality, that is not only unnecessary but can also become a major barrier in your way. Each goal is a project and consists of certain stages. Depending on the complexity of your goal, the number of stages will range from two to many (there will always be a plural number of stages no matter what goal you have in mind). It can be useful to outline the sequence of the stages, but only if you allow flexibility and agility, and let the process unfold naturally. Do not become clingy to your plan because it will drive you insane when the process does not follow your plan and takes a different turn.
4) MISSING the benefits.
Putting too much effort into trying to make the process precisely follow your scenario may keep you away from recognizing opportunities that will actually benefit you. Your brain can only focus on one thing at the time, so when you are concentrated on keeping everything in exact order you want it to be, you can miss out on things like expanding your vision, improving your ideas, learning new tasks, increasing your network, speeding up the process of achieving your goals, and, most importantly, learning from your own mistakes.
5) FORGETTING the main point.
Being overly controlling takes away your ability to enjoy the process of working towards your goals. I don’t want to sound cliché, but it is all about the journey, not the destination. That is why it is so important to remember that you have to take pleasure in whatever you set yourself for. If you are convinced that your absolute happiness is at the destination, then I have to disappoint you because you never seize to set new goals for yourself. So, ultimately, there is no definite destination with perfect conditions for you to start enjoying your life. There is absolutely no reason you need to suffer or sacrifice your happiness when you are working towards your goals. The whole purpose of you working on something is because you think it’s going to make you happy when you achieve it! So, stop chasing the horizon and embrace the joy of the process today.