“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” - Albert Einstein

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Staring Down the Hidden Menace of What Might Be.

Ford Prefect, in the book Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, constantly quoted from the fictional "Hitchhiker's Guide". Everything worth knowing was in the "Guide".
The 4-Hour Workweek, by Tim Ferris, has become my Hitchhiker's Guide. It seems that I'm always telling someone about an idea or fact I learned form this book. This blog entry is now my latest reference to The 4-Hour Workweek. It's about Tim's strategy for dealing with fears. He talks specifically about the fears people have about taking a risk, quitting their job and following their dreams. He was running a successful business and was miserable. It consumed every moment of his time and still demanded more. He controlled every aspect of the business. His fear was that if he didn't "run" his business that it would wither and die. He desperately wanted to pursue his passion and travel the world. But he was afraid.
His solution was to "define the nightmare". He thought through every possible worst-case-scenario and found that even if all of his fears were realized they would really only have a minimal and temporary impact on his life in the long run. At the same time he realized that his worst fears would probably never happen. He includes a quote from Mark Twain: "In my life I've known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened."
I had my own time of defining the nightmare a few weeks ago. I wrote about our situation of no work on the horizon and 3 empty houses with mortgages, repairs, utilities, and marketing expenses eating away at our reserve funds. As I thought through the various worst-case-scenarios, my mind automatically gave strategies to deal with each one. The most radical strategy I called the "Nuclear Option" and was one step above living in a trailer by the river. But in each scenario I realized that we would survive. The result was that I began to look beyond the immediate problems and make plans for coming through on the other side, no matter what happened. And I relaxed.
We did the fall Home Show. It was close to a total bust. But we both felt better than we had for weeks. We had faced the monster of "what might be" and seen how insignificant it really was. The following week, our phone began to ring. We are now busy meeting prospects and sending out proposals. I'm still hoping for the phone to ring with buyers for our empty houses. But we trust the Lord to provide what we need. And we stand in faith knowing that nothing will ever separate us from His love. We also are thankful that our family is praying for us. We are truly blessed.


Elan said...

Sometimes I find that not focusing on the problem, what I call "redirected energy," is the best way to solve problems. If the problem consumes your thinking, then your mind cannot be creative. If your mind cannot be creative, it's definitely not going to come up with new strategies to solve the problem. Redirect your thoughts and your energy into something else and your brain can relax, be creative, and work in the background without you realizing it!

Sometimes I take a break from work to do something completely different. When I go back to my computer to work on the issue, whatever it may be, I have more clarity and focus. When I'm composing a complex email to a customer, I often step away before sending it. When I come back, I almost always find a way to shorten my words to be more clear, more concise and thus less complex.

Florence and Gary Deeter said...


You illustrate clearly how the "Guidebook" has impacted your life. I'm glad that cloud has lifted.