There are two realms that we tend to live in: the realm of predictability and the realm of possibility. Most of the world lives in the realm of predictability. Here, we attempt to control and predict life because this makes us feel safe and comfortable. Any uncertainty, unknown or loss of control can feel deeply uncomfortable. And discomfort can feel unsafe to our nervous system.
Sometimes, we’d even prefer to be right about what we dread, as it makes us feel as if we have some semblance of control. But when we’re focused on protection from any anticipation of pain, discomfort, or bruise to our ego, we cut ourselves off from inspiration, creativity, and opportunities. We create a tunnel vision of our reality:
- We look for what can go wrong instead of what can go right.
- We play not to lose instead of to win.
- We focus on problems instead of solutions.
- We think of all the “what-if” scenarios for how something won’t work instead of considering “What if it does work?” What would be possible?
- We turn our goals into “needs” like, “I need this to happen” and experience lack until it does, often accompanied by a judgment of “I’m (or it’s) not enough,” every step of the way
Our impending doom generator sounds with a list of worries, fears and concerns, updated by the minute. We enter binary-thinking:
- Good or bad
- Right or wrong
- Option A or B
- All or nothing
- Always or never
We do all of this to maintain a false sense of control and predictability. We don’t want to play in the realm of “what-if” possibilities because that doesn’t feel safe. We’d rather work harder and exhaust ourselves to stay safe in the comfort zone of predictability.
When things don’t go the way we planned, we immediately experience lack instead of the exciting possibility of it turning out better than we planned. Our focus is on what’s missing versus what has been gained. We hold our thoughts, opinions, and desired outcomes so tightly that we leave no room for life to turn out better than we imagined.
Living in predictability blocks you from the infinite possibilities that exist for you. It also bends your odds toward status quo results such as what the majority of people believe is possible, with time taking as long as people expect things to take, and waiting to see evidence it’s possible before taking any action. And if you don’t see the results you want, you may believe you need to work harder, longer hours or you may even believe you’re not good enough yet. But in actuality, you may simply not be brave enough yet.
The field of possibility is the realm of excitement, dreams, innovation, pure potential, collapsing time, and outcomes beyond comprehension. But it’s also the field of uncertainty because it’s the paradigm of “what-if.” What if it doesn’t work, what if it does work. Maybe it’ll work, maybe it won’t. Most of us don’t want to experience possible fear and disappointment so we stay in the paradigm of safe, predictable and boring.
Move from predictability to possibility
Increase your capacity for discomfort: Learn to walk with the fears, anxieties, and disappointments that come from facing uncertainty. Your capacity to be with uncomfortable emotions (versus avoid/numb/diminish/project them onto someone) gives you power. Do you avoid people and situations that make you feel something you don’t want to feel? Those are all the places you give away your power.
As you strengthen your emotional core, you can process your fear, and be at peace with it. You can courageously face any doubts that sound like, “You don’t have what it takes” and say, “Even if the worst thing happens, I still want to go for this.” You get to decide if you still want this. If the risks feel like too much to bear, you can say no, or pace yourself. Trust that you can handle whatever comes your way. That you’ll be okay no matter what. This builds your emotional core, such that you feel at peace regardless of what happens.
Doing the inner work frees you from no longer avoiding any person or situation from happening. Are you willing to feel uncomfortable emotions? In the realm of predictability, results take time and hard work. In the realm of possibility, results take courage.
Make your dreams bigger than your fears: At every level of success, you will experience new fears. And it’ll be impossible to eliminate all worse-case scenarios. If you’re waiting until you have no fear, you’ll be waiting forever. One of the easiest ways to overcome your fears is by anchoring into an expansive vision. Connect to the most exciting version of your vision and ask, “What would be possible if my dreams came true?”
Envision it with all five senses: What do you see? What do you hear? What does it feel like? What are the smells here? What do you taste? Let it come so alive as if it were coming true right now, in this very moment. Feel your vision light you up. Experience the excitement buzzing through your body. Anchoring into a big vision can pull you out of any fear.
When your fear is bigger than your dream, fear wins. When your dream is bigger than your fear, the dream wins. How long can you hold onto the belief: This could actually work.
Trust that everything is happening for you: Trust that it’s all meant to grow you toward your highest evolution. There are two ways to experience the world:
- Things are happening to me.
- Things are happening for me.
One is not more right than the other, but one will change how you show up and bend your reality. The first will keep you stuck in circumstance, and the second will empower your sense of agency to co-create your reality. As you move through life, you’ll either be grateful that an outcome came so easily or you’ll be wiser and stronger for the challenge.
Trust that the content of your life is the curriculum for your growth and evolution. When you can access the trust of “No matter what, I’ve got me,” “No matter what, I’ll be okay,” and “Everything is happening for me” you will be able to access limitless possibilities. You’ll experience magic beyond miracles. Outcomes that make no logical sense. You’ll be in the field of infinite possibilities and probabilities. Can you imagine if ______ happened?! Come up with as many “what-ifs” as you’re excited to think about.
You create in the realm you dwell in. Do you want to create predictable, status quo results or do you want to play in the field of infinite possibilities and probabilities?
To expand beyond the realm of predictability, learn how to process unpleasant emotions with a regulated nervous system. If your nervous system does not feel safe, and you override it, it will feel like re-traumatization and you will contract your nervous system even more. You can choose to stay in the realm of predictability until you build the emotional strength to move into the realm of possibility. Go when your nervous system feels ready. Trust in your timing and listen to your nervous system.
The hardest emotion to hold is fear and if you can develop the emotional mastery to navigate it, you will be unstoppable. As you create more evidence of what’s possible beyond what’s predictable, your fears will quiet and it’ll become easier to move from courage to trust. By deepening your trust, you’ll begin to bend the odds and make the impossible probable.
Victoria Song is a leadership adviser and the author of Bending Reality: How to Make the Impossible Probable.