A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, there was a guy named Julian who was thoughtful, smart, kind, and nerdy with a dry sense of humor and a curious spirit.
He had a crush on this girl and one day he finally meets her in person, but he knows that he needs to muster up the courage to ask this woman he likes out for a date.
The thing is, Julian is shy and isn’t one to be bold. But he understands the social dynamics of how man and woman operate.
Yet, Julian struggles with being vulnerable—something that many other people do as well.
We’re scared to show our true selves. It’s hard to put yourself out there and risk the heartache, disappointment, and other associated feelings that stem from putting yourself out there for the world to reject or accept.
It’s hard to ask for what we want due to the possible scenarios of what can happen.
For example, let’s take a look at some of the potential scenarios about my predicament above. In a flash of five minutes, I have many scenarios that have sprouted up in my head with a multitude of options such as:
- What if I mess up with asking her out and it sounds weak, wimpy, and awkward
- What if she says no—damn this can get awkward…real fast
- What if she says no because I’m not good enough, smart enough, handsome enough, or any other ‘enough’ you want to add
- What if she says yes out of guilt or even worse…out of pity
- What if she says yes because she’s lonely and I’m just the rebound guy from her last breakup or a temporary replacement until her main attraction comes back around
The more thought of these negative scenarios, the more I feel the pain of rejection before anything has even happened. The more thought about these situations and scenarios, the more I’m psyching myself out before attempting to do anything.
The currency required to ask her out is too steep for me (or should I say my ego).
There are a gazillion negative scenarios and only one positive outcome of where she says yes. Is this worth the potential rejection, awkwardness, and other associated feelings circulating inside my head?
What should I do?
The majority of people who I would ask for an opinion would tell me to do it.
“Take the leap.” “Embrace uncertainty.” “Dive into the unknown and mysteries of life.” “Kick fear in its ASS.” “YOLO.”
And whatever other motivational slang terms that people use these days.
It’s crystal clear what needs to happen when you’re giving advice 40,000 feet above ground zero where all the action is taking place.
This is a phenomenon that occurs in all facets of life.
It shows up in the book critic or the person who leaves nasty reviews on articles while they’ve never written a page nor have any clue about the craft. Or the girlfriend who dishes out love advice to her friends about relationships, yet she hasn’t had one successful relationship.
And lastly, the fitness expert who isn’t in shape themselves nor has ever been.
When the tables turn, only a small fraction of those people dishing out the advice will do what they tell someone else to do.
We have unlimited amounts of courage for others, but unlimited amounts of fear of the potential consequences for ourselves.
Here are some other scenarios in case my current dilemma isn’t doing it for you:
- Asking your boss for a raise
- Starting an exercise regimen when you don’t know what you’re doing
- Sharing your art with the world
- Breaking up with a lover who isn't serving your best interest
- Finding new friends in a new city
The case doesn’t matter, being vulnerable scares the heebie-jeebies (shout-out to Boy Meets World) out of us.
After enough negative scenarios, we keep to ourselves, clam up, and don’t take the risk at all. It goes to the grave with us, just like many of the world's dreams and potentials.
This is how dreams die, magical romances never become what they could, and how people stay unhealthy, unhappy and mediocre in all facets of their lives.
If we dish out advice on being brave to others, how can we channel this bravery for ourselves? How can we propel ourselves into action and make better decisions?
The 10/10/10 rule to make better decisions
It’s easy to lose perspective when faced with a pressurized situation. There’s emotion involved and this blinds us from making the logical decision.
We’ll agonize and change our minds over and over. Worst of all, when emotionally compromised, this leads to over-emphasizing the short-term and losing interest of what’s best in the long term.
Think about some of the worst decisions you made in life and when they happened. Odds are, you had emotions of anger, lust, greed, anxiety, jealousy, and short term filled emotions in the heat of the moment, which clouded your judgment and ability to make better decisions.
But we don’t have to be slaves to our emotions.
This is why the 10/10/10 rule invented by Suzy Welch is your best friend to making better decisions in life and fitness.
This rule that she created consists of 3 questions:
- How will you feel about it (the decision) 10 minutes from now?
- How about 10 months from now?
- How about 10 years from now?
Let’s get back to our story
I’m going to ask her out on a date.
Using the 3 question system, this is how the scenario would look as I’m prepping to ask her out.
1. In 10 minutes, how do I feel about this decision? Most likely, I’m going to feel a little embarrassed and worried about her saying “no”. But in the grand scheme, I’m going to feel good about myself because I removed any potential “what ifs” and regrets.
On the contrary, if she says “yes”, then I’m going to feel good about the decision to ask her out. Not only am I overcoming an emotional hangup, but I’m also learning to act in spite of fear and I also have a date with a girl I like.
2. In 10 months, how will I feel about this decision? Most likely, I’m going to forget about it or will only remember it when it’s brought up. But, I could have a girlfriend or an even deeper friendship.
3. In 10 years, how will I feel about the decision? Definitely, have forgotten about it. If she didn’t work out, I most likely have met another wonderful and pretty woman. But again, I could have met my dream woman and been with her for 10 years now.
With this scenario, are the risks still greater than my payoff?
There’s a chance for a rich and fulfilling relationship along with opportunities to grow as an individual. As with most things in life, when we’re deliberating about whether to do it or not, we overvalue the current moment in time and undervalue the long term.
In dating, we overvalue needing someone in the current moment and this leads us to jump into relationships that aren’t suited for us. Instead, these relationships just provide comfort because those types of people would rather be in a shitty relationship than to be alone until the right one comes along.
In fitness, we overvalue the implications of a 25-day fad diet and its effects on us while undervaluing the long term implications this can have on our bodies.
An example of the fitness 10/10/10 rule
Let’s name the person Richard. Richard wants to lose 15 pounds but is reluctant to try since he’s attempted previous times in the past and has fallen short in his efforts. Richard has hangups about going on a diet, working out, and making it mesh with his desired lifestyle and busy work schedule.
Richard (and many people at the beginning) have a lot of mental hangups about the gym.
Here’s Richard’s scenario of going to the gym:
1. 10 minutes from now, how will he feel? He may be in a little discomfort, fearful, and uncertain about his decision to walk into the gym. But ultimately, he will be proud of himself for arriving here because many people would have let the discomfort stop them from walking in.
Anytime we attempt to step outside our comfort zone in life—fear, uncertainty, and discomfort will accompany you. But, these are signals that you’re headed for growth as an individual.
Alternatively, Richard could’ve found an excuse for not going to the gym. But, he likely would’ve had feelings of guilt accompany him for not going and this would’ve led to more self-loathing and negative talk.
2. How will he feel about this decision 10 months from now? He either has developed the habit of exercising and his body most likely shows it as well as his confidence and work performance.
Or, he’s still self-loathing, feeling stuck and covered in shame that he hasn’t made any progress and doesn’t look nor feel any better.
3. What about 10 years from now? He’s achieved the body he’s desired along with making his unique dent in the universe through his business since he now has more energy and confidence.
Or, he’s puddling in mediocrity in life and business. He's in a unfulfilling relationship or worse, jaded that he can’t get the girl he wants for whatever reason (probably his confidence).
He doesn't like his body and since he neglected to adopt a healthy lifestyle for the past decade, his quality of life is most likely lower along with him suffering from some long-term health consequences due him not taking pride enough in himself to exercise.
I won’t lie, you might hate every single minute that you’re putting yourself out there and being vulnerable. You might feel utterly uncomfortable with attempting to lose weight again, pursue work, or go after a relationship that is meaningful to you.
But, what the hell is the alternative?
Mediocrity. Unfulfilling work. A lifeless relationship that drains you more than inspires you. Filled with excuses for why you can’t do something. Living vicariously through others because you didn’t choose yourself nor believe in yourself enough.
That sounds awful.
And each one of us deserves better than that. But, we must choose ourselves and step out of our comfort zone (even a tiny step works).
When it comes to making better decisions, remind yourself that what you do today will have consequences tomorrow (good or bad).
When you think of pursuing your goals, don’t just think about the doomsday scenarios, think about everything that could go right. Don’t let distorted views or others opinions stop you from pursuing goals that truly matter to you.