Typically I write “how to” articles about real estate investing – particularly flipping homes. Today is a little different. I have something important on my heart to share with you, and I hope you'll take a few moments to take it in. For years I've wanted to write something about overcoming fear. And for years, I haven't had a clue what to write.
But today, as I was doing my daily devotion, it hit me like a brick on the side of the head. The Lord put it on my heart to immediately stop and begin writing – right then and there!
Fear. It's a big word. Fear is about control, or lack thereof. Fear can motivate you. It can drive you, distract you, petrify you, and ultimately completely control you, if you allow it to.
There are more than a few interesting facts about fear. I believe one of them is that fear is the number one reason most people walking the face of this earth will choose to settle for a life of mediocrity.
For many, it is an insurmountable obstacle, with too many risks to even try to escape. The masses of society live through each day-to-day voluntarily bound up by the fear that enslaves them. My experience in this life so far has taught me that most people are secretly disappointed with the lives that they live, but rarely, if ever, will admit it.
They measure themselves up against others and, in doing so, sink lower and lower into a dangerous pit. They look around and find someone not doing as well as they are (or not seeming to), and somehow, seeing them makes their own situation seem all right, even though they're still living in fear. The dominating vision I see so many people having created is to be just a little better than someone else.
Have you ever heard someone say something like, “I'm not an alcoholic; I only drink on the weekends. But John — he goes to happy hour ever day!” …or maybe something like…”We're not doing so bad. At least I can figure out a way to get my car payment made.”
These thoughts and other like them are what go through the minds of people who have settled for mediocrity. We've all had grand visions of what we wanted out of life. We have allowed our circumstances and others around us to steal our vision for the greatness we are capable of.
Here are a few of the qualities I believe a person must possess in order to overcome mediocrity, break free from fear, and make their vision a reality. I also challenge both of us (you and me) to strive for our vision:
A Good Attitude
If you are pessimistic and believe that everything is going to fall apart, why would you ever take a step toward your vision? A positive attitude gives life to a vision; a negative attitude kills it.
My challenge – look at yourself and get rid of any negative thoughts.
Turn them into positives and reflect on the positive thoughts when you catch yourself thinking negatively.
Belief In Yourself
If you don't believe in yourself, why should anyone else believe in you?
My challenge – look at the things you wish to accomplish and have confidence that you CAN do them.
If you need to take steps to make your visions a reality (i.e. more knowledge or education, making better choices, etc), then start those steps today. Don't put off until tomorrow what can be done today!
Willingness to Grow
The fact of the matter is that none of us are capable of carrying out our grand visions in our current state. We need to be stretched and have to allow it to happen. Stretching is oftentimes painful as we go through it; however, it makes us stronger and better.
My challenge – let your desire to be better exceed your desire to avoid the painful stretching called growth.
World class athletes put themselves through excruciating pain during their workouts because they know it will pay off and they'll be better athletes for it. If they opted to avoid the pain because it hurts, they would also opt to give up their status as world class athletes. Mediocrity is the easy way out.
To overcome your fears, you need to truly know what it is that you are pursuing. You need to have an end in mind and focus on it.
My challenge – come up with a plan on how to achieve that end and muster up the determination to follow it.
Following a plan isn't always easy. In fact, most things are never easy the first time we do them. However, the more we do them, the easier they get. Your plan may be difficult to get rolling, but once it starts moving, you're on your way. It's like pushing a stalled car. On a flat surface, it takes a lot of work to get the car moving. Your efforts are far greater to get it started compared to the effort needed once it's moving. On occasion you'll hit little hills, and sometimes big hills, but if you are determined enough, you will push the car over the hill and get to a point where it rolls by itself.
This is the fuel that gives energy to your vision. If you aren't excited about your vision, it's going to die.
My challenge – maintain your enthusiasm by exercising all of the items above.
I stated earlier that the Lord put it on my heart to write this, and to write it now.
The Lord gave me the vision and with that vision He gives the tools to carry it out. When you have a vision, you will also have all of the tools available to you. You can either pursue your vision with a good attitude, a belief in yourself, a willingness to grow, focus and enthusiasm or choose a life of mediocrity. Which will you choose?