A tale of two fortunes


Got this fortune with some Chinese food the other day:

At first reading I thought, YES!! Trust yourself! Be confident! Boldly go where no one has gone before! Pass the crab rangoon!!

But then I read it again. Now I think there is more to the story.

My first take was that this was really empowering. Trust in yourself… your abilities, your skills, your knowledge. Trust that you have more going right than going wrong. Trust that you have the confidence to surmount any challenge.

But those sneaky fortune writers, whether they planned to or not, got me thinking that it might be possible that we can trust ourselves TOO much. That if we trust ourselves with the wrong stuff, we could still THINK we’re right – even when we’re not.

For example, I LOVE peanut M&M’s. Can’t get enough of them. But when I trust myself to open up that bag and have just a few, I know that when half the bag is gone that that isn’t right.

So maybe I should trust myself a little less in those situations. Take 3 out of the bag, close the bag, put the bag back in the cupboard and walk away. THEN I think I would trust myself to do what’s right.

Personally, I think we need a balance of trust and distrust to make the right decisions. It’s a delicate balance, though, because when do you trust yourself to step outside of your comfort zone to grow versus distrusting yourself to not get involved with a situation you are destined to make worse?

This will take a little reflection.

Think of a time when you DID step out of your comfort zone and successfully learned something new or enhanced your skills/experience. What was your confidence level going into that situation? Was it over 50% that you would be successful? Was it 70%? 80%? I would bet it was not any LOWER than 50%. Otherwise your brain would have told you that this situation would bring more harm than benefit.

Now think about a time that you did NOT act. Where was your confidence level that this particular situation would turn out positively? I would hazard a guess that it was somewhere under the 50% mark.

Now think about the things in your world that you do on the regular, without hesitation and without fail. Confidence pretty high in those situations? Then you should TRUST yourself that in those situations, anything you do will be right.

Contrast that with lower confidence situations, and you should have a healthy DIS-TRUST of your behaviors under those circumstances. But do not despair – this is GOOD NEWS!!

Now you know exactly what you need to work on. You know what skills or knowledge you need to explore in the future so you can build your skills and confidence and start trusting yourself in those areas. Just like me with peanut M&M’s!

Now, who’s hungry?

Thanks for reading!!

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matt@performanceoptimist.com

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