So you are thinking, “Great Chris is crazy and he has a certain amount of distaste for scary movies, but what does this have to do with me and meeting the needs of my customers?” The answer is everything and nothing. Fear is the number one driver that motivates us humans. It forces us to either move where we don’t want to go or it keeps us where we currently feel safe. Fear as a noun is defined by Dictionary.com as “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.” Each of us have lived different lives in diverse time periods and experienced unique upbringings. Everything we have learned and experienced have been stored as a perception of reality in the hard drive of our minds. When we begin to do any task we access the lifetime of data we feel is relevant to the task we are considering and rate the amount of fear we associate with the task. When I watch a scary movie I know (or at least hope) what I am watching isn’t real, but how do I know if my perception of my own reality is accurate.
Consider for a moment the Huli tribe’s reality. The Huli’s live in remote areas of Papua, New Guniea. Until recently, they have never been exposed to anyone or anything outside of their immediate area. They live in a world of endless forests with no other people. You and I truly do not exist.
There are no countries. There are no such things as plastic, steel, or paper. The only flying objects are birds, and man has never been to the moon. There are no governments and there is no stock-market. The two world wars never took place. Electricity, telephones, and roads do not even show up in their dreams. They could never comprehend the sight of a beach, or open ocean. These things TRULY do not exist in their world.
Yet you and I know they are real. We live in different realities, with different possibilities. But the Huli’s reality is just as real to them, as yours is to you. Just because you “think” it’s real, doesn’t mean it’s real.
So if we are brave enough to admit some of our fears are based on the false perceptions of our pasts then we could work to condition ourselves to view seemingly fearful situations through a new set of eyes and in turn achieve successes we didn’t believe possible for ourselves and teams before. If you’ve ever watched Punk’d then you know of Ashton Kutcher. Ashton Kutcher has accomplished a lot more than Punk’d which his production company produces. He majored in Biochemical Engineering, models, acts, produces, restaurant owner, creative director for Oma and of course married the much older Demi Moore. I heard Kutcher once say during an interview, “When I find myself afraid of something or uncomfortable, I run towards it instead of away from it. I have learned it always makes me better and exposes me to opportunities I would have missed otherwise.”
What have you been running from? What opportunities might have you missed? How are your perceptions of the past effecting your present?