Sometimes in life, the obstacles we have to face seem more difficult in our mind than they actually are in real life.
I noticed this the other day. I received an email from a colleague about a paper we were working on together. I was frustrated by the email. The colleague was critical of the paper, and she said there was a lot of work that needed to be done before it would be in good shape. This was a paper that I had already spent a LOT of time on. I didn’t know if I was capable of fixing it the way she wanted it.
Putting It Off
So, I put off facing it. I left the paper in my inbox, unopened. I tried to distract myself by doing other work tasks. I didn’t really want to address it. Ultimately, though, these strategies didn’t work. Whenever I checked my email, I was reminded that I needed to get to the paper eventually. But I really didn’t want to do it. I had made it out to be this big thing in my mind.
Not That Bad
Finally, I buckled down, opened up the paper, and got to work. And… it wasn’t that bad. Sure, there were some things to fix, and the changes required some thinking on my part. But I was able to address the problems without too much trouble. It probably took me a few hours, and I was done with the paper and on to the next thing.
I think this is a lot like my life. When I have to face something challenging, I make it out to be this big thing in my mind. I worry and fret about it, and avoid actually facing the difficulty. The more I put it off, the larger it seems to loom in my mind. However, when I actually face the thing I’m afraid of, it usually isn’t that bad. I’m able to muster up my resources and figure out what I need to do.
Face It Quickly
The lesson here is that when you are facing something difficult, move it out of your head and into real life as quickly as possible. Don’t just think about it—this often makes things worse. As soon as possible, try to tackle the issue. Get help if you need it. But don’t just think and worry about it. The sooner you can actually face the problem, the better.