You know one of the biggest fears people have is public speaking…you’ve all heard that people would rather die than speak in public…or as Jerry Seinfeld says, “People would rather be in a coffin than giving the eulogy”. I always tell people who are shy or scared of making fools of themselves that no one cares about them anyway…people are far to busy thinking about themselves.
Imagine if Margaret Mitchell had let 38 publisher rejections of “Gone With The Wind” stop her from trying to get it published. Imagine if Thomas Edison had listened to his teachers who told him that he was too stupid to learn anything. Imagine if Elvis Presley had listened to Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, who fired Elvis after just one performance telling him, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”
Benjamin Disraeli said: “Life is too short to be little”
French Author, Andre Maurois Wrote: “Often we allow ourselves to be upset by small things we should despise and forget. We lose many irreplaceable hours brooding over grievances that, in a year’s time, will be forgotten by us and by everybody. No, let us devote our life to worthwhile actions and feelings. to great thoughts, real affections and enduring undertakings.”
In other words. we have limited time here, don’t waste it on the “small stuff”. Dr. Robert Eliot, Professor of Cardiology, University of Nebraska suffered a massive heart attack at the age of 44. He was forced to spend a few months looking at life from the perspective of a patient, rather than a doctor. There was no history of heart disease in his family and he had a feeling that his heart attack was the result of the constant stress in his life. Dr. Eliot, who now heads the Institute of Stress Medicine in Scottsdale, Arizona, estimated that as many as 500,000 Americans die each year from stress-related heart conditions alone. Some people tend to react to stress by overreacting in ways that may damage their heart and blood vessels by producing excess adrenaline.
As a heart patient, Dr. Eliot offered two rules to live by:
Rule #1: Don’t sweat the small stuff
Rule # 2: It’s all small stuff
Lot’s of people have ambitions and dreams in life – whether it’s to travel, to start a new career, to get out of bad relationships…whatever…and they wait till the time is right to pursue their dreams. They wait until they have enough money, till the kids are grown, till they lose weight, till they put together a business plan, etc. The problem with that is that a lot of talented people end up standing on the sidelines and not on the playing field.
The trick is to start before you are ready. I’m not saying to be reckless and not plan and think ahead, but don’t wait for the PERFECT time to pursue your dreams because you don’t know what that perfect time will be. Oftentimes when you start before you’re ready, the momentum of starting will propel you forward and you’ll be on your way.
Don’t let age deter you or be an excuse to keep on the sideline either. Many of our great success stories made their mark on society later in life. Who would believe that an overweight, ex-boxer-turned preacher could recapture the title of heavyweight champion of the world at age 45. George Foreman did. Who would believe that a 48-year-old widow who never owned a business before could start her own cosmetics company and turn it into a billion dollar enterprise. Mary Kay Ash did. Ray Kroc was a 52-year-old traveling salesman of milk-shake mixers before he launched McDonalds. Winston Churchill was defeated in every election for public office until he finally became the Prime Minister of England at age 62. Harland Sanders was 65 before he began selling his Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises from his car.
So it’s never to late to pursue your dreams or to start on a new goal. Don’t procrastinate.
Procrastination is such a huge problem for many people. We’ve all heard techniques against procrastination, like breaking down the task into small chunks, overcoming perfectionism, managing time properly, etc. There is a simple trick that psychologists say works best. It was discovered in the 1920′s. A psychology graduate named Bluma Zeigarnik was having tea in a cafe with her supervisor when they happened to come upon something interesting. When a customer asked for the check, the waiters could easily remember the food that had been ordered. However if the customer already paid the check and then asked about the order a few minutes later, the waiters had to struggle to remember anything about the order. The psychologists concluded that the act of paying for the meal brought a sense of closure so the waiters erased the order from their memories.
Based on this theory, Zeigarnik did some lab experiments where she asked people to start a task but didn’t allow them to finish it. She later asked people to describe the task and, like the waiters, she found that people who didn’t finish what they started remembered the task very clearly. It stuck in their minds.
The psychologists concluded that if you start an activity and don’t finish it, your mind experiences a kind of psychic anxiety until the task is completed. Now procrastinators put off starting activities because they are overwhelmed by the size of the job, but if they can push themselves to work on the activity for just a few minutes, they often feel an urge to see it to its completion. “Just a few minutes” rule is one of the best ways of getting a procrastinator to finish their work. Those few minutes of initial activity create an anxious brain that refuses to rest until the job is done.
Written by Orli Kohn