We live in a world filled with fear. We are blasted with incessant messages telling us that disaster lurks right around the corner.
When you live in a culture of fear, it is easy to view the world from a fearful perspective. We accept a job we don't really want because we are afraid we won't get a better offer. We want to stay home to raise our children, but worry we won't be able to find a satisfying job in the future. We want to retire to travel and visit our children, yet we fear the stock market will tank and we will run out of money before we run out of breath.
The problem with making fear-based decisions is that most of the things we worry about are imaginary. Most of the time, when we are fearful, we are not really afraid of what is actually happening; we are afraid of what might happen in the future. But when we think back on our life experiences, we understand that our imagined fears rarely come true. As Mark Twain said, "I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened."
Confidence-based decisions often flow from a realistic assessment of what is, rather than what might be. When we live our lives from a place of confidence, we direct our attention to the resources we have to make our desires come true. When we pause and realize the abundance of our true wealth (time, talents, body and mind, wisdom, network and money), we often feel engaged, empowered and confident.
The truth is we have a choice. We can choose to make culturally induced fear-based decisions, or we can choose to stand apart and make confidence-based decisions. Contrast the decisions you have made based on fear with those you have made from a place of confidence. Which has served you better? What wisdom can you glean from your own life experience?
For me, the answer is clear. My fear-based decisions have left me feeling hesitant and weak, making it difficult to move forward in a positive manner. My confidence-based decisions have empowered me to pursue my dreams and passions. Even when my confidence-based decisions lead to unexpected difficult outcomes, they still move me in the right direction.
Henry David Thoreau once said, "I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."
Be a confidence man, or woman.
David Geller is the author of Wealth & Happiness: Using Your Wealth to Create a Better Life. He is CEO of Atlanta-based GV Financial Advisors and is available for professional speaking engagements.