As living beings, our desire for self-preservation translates into a fear of the unknown. For example, our senses sharpen if we walk through a dark forest or down a deserted street at night. But the fear of the unknown strikes in other ways, too. Many people choose to use email or send text messages in place of having a live conversation because they have no idea how long a conversation might last. It’s an unknown, and on a basic level, that scares them.
Many time consuming practices are rooted within the fear of the unknown:
- The need to check for messages regularly speaks to a fear of offending the sender, the fear of missing out, the fear of being left out of the loop, and even the fear or silence and boredom, all of which are connected to the unknown.
- The fear of delegation is based on not knowing whether another individual can perform a task to a satisfactory level.
- Procrastination is the act of irrationally putting off a disliked task out of the fear of taking it on.
- The fear of change is rampant in workplaces and in society – humans are innately predisposed to stay with what they know, and as such change management is a philosophy unto itself.
The list goes on and on. Basically, if you fear something because you do not know enough about it, it is your duty to find out more about it.
One of the greatest tools for conquering the fear of the unknown is to put pen to paper (or to dry-erase board) and convert fears into words. This is a highly cathartic exercise, since writing is a comparatively slow and very physical action that works in a way that corresponds to our thought processes. IN other words, make ideas tangible.
Another great tool for conquering the fear of the unknown is to talk it out with a mentor. Having a mentor is one of the single greatest investments an individual can make. A mentor acts like a sounding board, someone with experience, who will not necessarily tell you what to do, but will tell you what s/he did, which can be a very valuable lesson.
This is an excerpt from my book, Cool Time: A Hands-On Plan for Managing Work and Balancing Time. If you would like a copy, hop on over to my Books page. If you would like me to come and speak to your group, contact details are available on my Speaker page. Either way, you will win back time and money. It’s just practical common sense.