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Seth Godin defines non-clinical anxiety as “experiencing failure in advance“…
I’m most assuredly familiar with, and guilty of, this…
Experiencing failure in advance has kept me from moving forward more times than I can probably count.
Experiencing failure in advance has kept me from making another cold call. Or asking important questions. Or approaching people I thought were smarter or better or more **whatever** than me.
But doing the opposite can be just as dangerous, when it builds up, incrementally, over time.
Especially if you aren’t aware of it, or keeping track of your behavior.
The Opposite of Experiencing Failure In Advance
The opposite, experiencing success in advance, can also be very dangerous (if you’re not keeping track of the actions that follow it).
Let’s say you’re trying to quit drinking.
You make it through a few days, or a week or a month. You’re feeling pretty good. You start patting yourself on the back. You think to yourself…
“I can do this anytime…”
In the future, I know I can quit… Tomorrow. I deserve a reward for my good behavior.
So you have a drink to celebrate your “success” in advance.
But you haven’t had any success… Because you wanted to quit drinking.
The Word For Someone Who Experiences Success In Advance is “Amateur”
Experiencing success in advance, but then not doing the work to make it actually happen, is often the sign of an amateur.
I’m not referring to the best in the world, those for whom the visualization of success is a proven part of their champion routine.
I’m talking about 90% of the rest of us who are not the best at what they could be, but who actually could be.
Today it is so easy to be comfortable. Pick up your iPhone. You literally have the entire world at your fingertips. Don’t need much else, really.
If you want just a little taste of success, just imagine it.
But if you want to survive, you’ll need the discipline of being honest with yourself. Don’t believe your own B.S.
You could be better, and you know it.
Entrepreneurs fail (mostly) because of internal battles.
Constantly on the cusp. Always about to blow up into something big.
Ideas Are Easy
Ideas are a dime a dozen… But they also so powerful. Indeed, a good idea hits you like a drug. The really good ones produce dopamine or oxytocin or serotonin or something… One of our happy chemicals is in there for sure.
I often get great ideas when I go running.
You get the idea, and boom… You feel good. What a smart guy I am.
Then you go back to your usual B.S.
“I can do that idea anytime…”
Success is in the execution, not the idea. Don’t believe what your ego is telling you.
Poseurs let themselves get happy about their success before it comes.
Experiencing success in advance can be strong enough to make you think you don’t need to keep working and that the idea is enough to make it happen…
But remain vigilant… Be superstitious. Don’t celebrate until you’ve done it.
So, dream big…
But the next time you find yourself reveling in a prematurely epinician moment, remind yourself that it’s all just a fairy tale.
For. Now. At. Least.