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The Number One Reason People Settle For Less

Most people are not living an abundant life. They’re not living their dreams. They’re not even working toward such lofty destinations.

Understand that I’m not talking about people in third-world or communist countries who are true victims of the corrupt governments they live under, suffering from starvation and experiencing constant oppression. I’m talking primarily about Westerners, as well as people who live in the second-world nations such as India and China where there is some choice to move up from the bottom ranks available for many.

Also understand that it while it takes some money and resources to move in certain directions, it doesn’t take nearly as much as people think. I’m taking excuses to claim victimhood away from you here. 😉

With those excuses taken away – such as, my parents were poor; I couldn’t afford to go to college; my father was an abusive alcoholic; I’m not that smart – you might feel more motivated to go after your dream life. Or, if you’re not sure what that looks like at this moment, to improve your present circumstances.

But even if you do, you are still likely to run up against the Great Wall of Awful, which may be the biggest reason that most people are not as happy, healthy, or wealthy as they want to be.

The human propensity to awfulize

To “awfulize” is to fear that a future event will end up in the most awful way possible. It’s the extreme end of worry.

When you worry, you’re not necessarily imagining the worst case scenario. For example, if your leg hurts while you’re walking you might worry that you strained a muscle and won’t be able to run the 5K with your friends this weekend. Or you  might worry  that you’ll have to postpone your weight loss goals because you’ll have to stop exercising for a week or two.

On the other hand, you might worry that you have bone cancer and will be dead in less than six months. That’s a worst-case scenario, and is what is I mean by “awfulizing.”

In my post about how not to worry, I described how my husband awfulized an upcoming solo road trip. To be fair, I should confess that I’ve done my own fair share of awfulizing. My strained vocal chords aren’t healing. Is it cancer? The principal at my school is upset that I prayed with one of my students. That’s it – I’m going to get fired!

Awfulizing is paralyzing

Stepping out of your comfort zone is hard enough. It’s scary. But when faced with taking a risk that could lead to a better life in the long run, many people don’t just worry. They fear the worst-case scenario.

They awfulize.

And no matter how excited they might have felt when first visualizing their attainment of whatever goal or dream, eventually they begin to imagine the worst possible outcome of taking the risk. And they get afraid.

And they let the fear overpower the excitement.

Did you see that? They LET the fear overpower the excitement.

You have control over your thoughts.

Which leads me to…

…how not to let awfulizing drive you into mediocrity

You need to grasp the truth, deep down inside, that the worst rarely ever happens. You need to believe it, and remind yourself of that truth constantly.

It will help a lot of you first grasp the truth that there is a  loving Creator watching over you, rooting for you, and helping you when you ask – sometimes, even when you don’t ask.

God desires the best for you.

Nip negative thoughts in the bud. Especially thoughts of the awful. Awfulizing paralyzes. It keeps you from growing. It keeps you from moving forward.

Where do you want to be in five years? Ten? If you’re like most people, you want to be more prosperous, to be as healthy as possible, experiencing joy and fulfillment more often than not, and to be a more loving person.

Direct your thoughts toward those goals, then. You will still feel some fear when you take the risks necessary to achieve your goals and live your dreams, but the strength of your positive thoughts will overpower it.

And your bad habit of awfulizing will be a distant memory.

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