There is a difference between what feels risky and what is truly risky, a difference in what we should fear in life and what we actually fear.

A large percentage of the population fears flying, while you are more likely to have something happen to you while driving in your car. Fearing the wrong thing!

What you should fear and what you actually fear in life are often skewed because your brain doesn’t know the difference.

A study done in Australia took individuals who experienced hyper-anxiety and disgust when exposed to spiders. They called them high-spider-fearfuls (what a great name for participants!) They exposed half of the group to real spiders and half the group to life-like spider images and measured their heart rate and skin conductance. Then, they switched the participants and repeated the same tests. The high-spider-fearfuls felt the same anxiety and increased heart rate looking at life-like spider images as they did with real spiders. There was no difference. We often do the same thing; we become paralyzed by fears that aren’t based in reality.

Are you afraid you will bomb your presentation, fail on the new project or mess up a key client relationship? Those are things that feel risky, but they aren’t. The true risk is sitting in front of the tv at night instead of starting a side gig in case something happens to your job or company. The true risk is spending what you earn, instead of saving for a rainy day. The true risk is spending your evenings working, instead of spending time with your loved ones or relaxing your brain with a high-quality hobby. The true risk is not developing skills, competencies and capabilities that will prepare you for the next promotion or job that allows you to create value wherever you go.

This week make sure you analyze what feels risky and what is truly risky. Why fear the wrong thing?

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