Scott’s Thoughts: Sweet Indifference

“If one is forever cautious, can one remain a human being?”

-Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Russian novelist, historian, and short story writer

Woman hiding in the sheets.It’s natural to assess risk as we consider new adventures. Whether in business or in relationships, we plan, we size up our odds, and we imagine outcomes. Very little in this life is a sure thing. What will people think if we fail?

It’s unfortunate how vividly we imagine failure. Perhaps it seems immodest to imagine tremendous success, but it’s too bad we don’t. If we did, we might attempt more and dream bigger. While we’re quite good at estimating the cost of failure, we seldom do the math on the high cost of untaken risks.

Our pride often keeps us in our comfort zone. Failure is rarely fatal, but we tend to fixate on feelings of humiliation. We envision others witnessing our fall and judging our shortcomings. This fear is powerful, but it’s also somewhat irrational. Who is hoping you fail? Who is so invested in your every move that they’re waiting in the wings to pounce when things don’t work out?

The truth is, people aren’t paying that much attention to you. Don’t take it personally. It’s actually great news.

Unless you’re a celebrity, most people are indifferent to your success and failure. They’re busy focusing on their own lives. Their attention is divided ten different ways. (Think how much companies spend on advertising just to rise above the noise.) The beauty of this? It frees you up to truly “dance like no one’s watching.”

Embrace the risk. Shed your self-consciousness. Keep in mind that others’ sweet indifference gives you greater freedom to take risks.

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