So, you want the fairy tale without the lame-isms (outdated social values, usually ending with -ism). Fairy tale living, though, requires action and you have to decide what that action will be. The Shivers / your subconscious mind’s three sets of survival instincts are always at work to affect every decision you make.
Sometimes that means you won’t see them coming, climbing in the tiny attic window rather than waltzing through the grand foyer. Still, you can learn to recognize when The Shivers are making an appearance.
The Shivers like to trick us. The Shivers like to make us doubt ourselves. The Shivers love the young adult years, when every little thing feels like a life or death situation requiring the strictest — if most illogical — prioritizing.
7 Reasons Against Doing
- You don’t feel responsible for getting it done.
- You feel you’re too _____________ to get it done properly.
- You don’t feel _____________ enough to get it done properly.
- You feel lost when it comes to knowing where to start.
- You’re tired or lonely or hungry or frustrated.
- You feel it’s useless to even try to do it if you can’t do it perfectly from start to finish on your first and only attempt.
- You feel it’s useless to continue any further when you’ve only just started and somehow “already managed” to screw up.
Failure To Launch
The Shivers want you to fail before you begin by not beginning because The Shivers are mostly clueless. The Shivers are your survival instincts, all those automated behaviors your subconscious mind has learned to perform to simplify your survival and help you maintain your personal sense of security. The Shivers don’t know how emotionally important it is for you to do anything, all they know is that it’s their job to signal you when you’re in a life-threatening situation.
What The Shivers really don’t understand is that not every uncomfortable or new situation is life-threatening. You don’t need to stop dead in your tracks — for example — every time a phone rings. Answering the phone is not going to kill you (unless you’re in an action movie and there’s a bomb or something, but you get my point).
The Shivers cannot be purely thought away. Reason will only go so far in assuring them your life is not in danger. The only way to prove to The Shivers that your life is not in danger, is to go ahead and do the thing you’re “afraid” to do.
7 Reasons to Learn By Doing
- Taking responsibility for your life and happiness, not waiting for that responsibility to be given, and doing something that gets you closer to living your dream — all while knowing that’s what you’re doing — can signal your brain to get excited and be awake for the thing you’re doing.
- Choosing to believe there is nothing more important than the work of fairy tale living and the chance at happiness it can provide is the first step to living happily ever out there; the second step is harnessing all that you are toward that end.
- Being aware of getting closer to living your dream as you’re working toward it can signal your brain that there’s light at the end of the tunnel and give you hope that you’re becoming the person you want to be, the person fully capable of completing your chosen quest.
- Writing your own rules / drawing your own map while knowing that every quest you go on begins and ends with you helps your brain to work with you in reconciling who you are with who you want to be, one detail at a time.
- Taking care of yourself first (eating, resting, phoning a friend, questing) sets you up to get things done and build the life you want.
- Remembering that babies, for all intents and purposes, enter into this world as embodiments of perfection, and yet not capable of walking or talking or even lifting their own heads, reminds your subconscious how important it is just to start and to try and to know that stumbling and falling are the domain of all those considered perfect.
- Recognizing that doing nothing produces backsliding, doing the status quo produces nothing new, and doing something more or unexpected will always result in learning and growing, will signal to your subconscious that one failed attempt is never enough; because in failing to get something right, you get valuable information for the next attempt and the next attempt and the next until you succeed in your quest.
Define Your Success
Maybe you want to finally start that book or painting or some other creative project you keep putting off. Maybe you’ve gotten off to a great start, but now things are starting to slow down and you just don’t know whether it’s even worth it to keep trying. Maybe the end is in sight, but you just can’t seem to make the final push to get there.
Look over that list of Reasons Against Doing and, being honest with yourself, figure out what’s stopping you. Check it against Reasons to Learn by Doing. Success — however you define it — means being able to get out of your own way to do the things you want to be doing.
I know it’s hard getting out of your own way, but it’s a lot harder being down in the muck. That’s why there are so many stories of old with heroes and villains alike using The Seven-League Boots. Instead of having to do battle against their own physical limitations as human beings, they get to rise above it all and speed along to the finish line.
Eye On The Prize
Come on, did you really think I was going to be able to get through a whole article without talking anything fairy tale? Anyway, now that I’ve mentioned The Seven-League Boots I gotta tell you: these boots are made for speeding along, not cheating along. Yes, there’s a difference.
The difference is your personal well-being. Everything takes longer when you’re upset, lasts longer when you hate it. When we’re happy and doing something we enjoy, the time flies.
Now, if you’re interested in learning to negotiate with The Shivers and quest the crap out of your daily self-care, the list above is a good start. A great start would be downloading The Seven-League Boots, a guidebook to The Greatest Frienemy You’ve Always Had.