I posted a status update recently which said, "You can't hit a home run if you don't step up to the plate." I received a reply, "True. And if you don't step up to the plate, you can't strike out."
I responded with, "Spoken like a true fearist. Certainly you won't get hurt if you play it safe. But you'll never win either. Success involves risk." He replied with, "I know what you're saying. I was only kidding."
I didn't respond any further, but I didn't buy his explanation that he was only kidding. "Many a truth is said in jest" is not a cliché for no reason. People tend to fall back on, "I was only kidding," after they have said something that wasn't particularly well-received, and rather than take ownership of what they said, they resort to essentially denying that they meant what they said, which puts a halt to any further meaningful dialogue and gets them off the emotional hot seat their own comment put them on.
Fact is: even if he was only kidding, what's the point? Why turn a comment that was designed to encourage and inspire people to empower themselves and take action into a negative, pessimistic thought that might encourage and inspire people to not take action due to fear of potential rejection, failure and shame?
Just because the thought occurred to him to do a spin on what I wrote and get a laugh using me as his straight man doesn't mean he should have acted on that impulse unless being a naysayer is what he wants his life purpose to be. Personally, I don't think that's a great strategy. I think the cliche, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" has definite merit here. We're all in this together. Each of us influences others to be the best they can or the worst they can. Each of us is a role model, a voice that can propel individuals and the world as a whole towards the light or towards darkness and descent. This is a responsibility we shouldn't take lightly. We change our world for good or evil by the thoughts we have and the choices we make. So let's choose wisely. Let's nurture people to fight their fear, their doubt, their pessimism, their cynicism and their negativity by encouraging positive thought and action.
In the case of stepping up to the plate to hit a home run or to strike out: Anticipating failure is a huge mistake, because it instantly defeats you by putting the brakes on motivation, energy and initiative.
Anticipating obstacles and roadblocks that cross our path is okay because they are stepping stones towards our ultimate success and provide us with the opportunity to generate solutions for overcoming and transcending them.
Bottom line: Don't be a fearist. Be a good cheerist!
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