What If You’re Not?

I was listening to an audio recording of a talk by Graham Cooke.

Graham shared a story about a dinner conversation he had with the lady who had just received a promotion. When he asked her if she was excited about the promotion, she told him, that she was, in fact “terrified.”

Graham considered this for a moment, and then asked her, “Yeah, but what if you're not? What if you're not terrified, but instead you are a bit anxious and somewhat excited?”

The woman thought about this, and then said Graham was right… she wasn't really terrified, but a more accurate description would be that she was a bit anxious and somewhat excited.

“Right,” said Graham. “But what if you're not? What if, instead of being a bit anxious and somewhat excited, you are actually only a tiny bit nervous and really excited?”

After thinking this over for moment the woman agreed that “tiny bit nervous and really excited” was a more accurate description of how she felt.

Graham proceeded to walk her through a few more progressions of this kind of thinking, until she realized that she was actually quietly confident and incredibly joyous about her new promotion.

Quite a difference from being “terrified”, isn't it?

The lesson I take from this is a simple one. It is this: the language we use to describe how we feel about any given situation has a powerful influence over our emotions.

Simply asking ourselves if it's possible that we might feel excited, instead of anxious, about a particular circumstance or situation, has the power to alter our actual emotions about that situation.

My question for you is: what situations are you facing right now that leave you terrified, bored, or depressed?

Think about that for a moment.

And then, think about this… what if you're not?

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at RayEdwards.com.

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  • MattVestrand

    My regular job makes me feel terrified, bored, and depressed.
    But when I think about it for a moment I realize I am only bored and depressed. 
    That’s why I’m following you Ray and working in the off hours to improve my lot in life.  When I started my exercise/fitness business, I was “terrified” to stand in front of people, give them orders, and ask for money. But now I am totally excited and energized by these things. 
    And when I take a moment to think about it…. I realize I still feel the same now as I did back then. My interpretation is different, though.  So really, looking back, I can now say that I wasn’t terrified at all… I was excited excited and slightly nervous. 
    Thanks for all the great Podcasts and motivation. 

  • Ray,
    This post brings to mind the old acronym F.E.A.R. as False Expectations Appearing Real.  Which has to do with facing your fears head on as a means of dissipating their debilitating effect on us.  I think this is true as when I’ve faced fearful events head on (public speaking comes to mind) I’ve come out the other side of the experience more confident and accomplished.
    What is even more helpful to me is the scriptural admonition “There is no fear in love, But perfect love drives out fear…” (1 John 4:18).  To me this goes to how we approach the unknown.  When we approach fearful situations out of love, out of what is possible and what is abundant and what is before us then we crush the allies of fear which are lack and slack and looking back.
    As for your question: The thing I fear is allowing myself to become stuck in a malaise of mediocrity and not putting the appropriate pressure on myself to rise above it.
    I am starting a business to save the world
    Be God’s
    Robert Miller

    •  @bestprac  Robert, if we really understood what perfect love has been granted to us, we would never be afraid again. Every day for me is an adventure in discovering a fresh revelation of what that “perfect love” really means!

  • fischerls

    I heard a similar though from Randy Curran. He told me to when you have a negative thought or if someone tells you negative ideas to ask these questions. 1.) Is it really a true statement? 2) Is the negative statement always true? 3.) What if the opposite was true? 4.) Why can’t I live believing the opposite Is true? Try it out. Here we go!  –  Negative thought: I stink at sales. 1.)–no, not really true, 2.) not always true, 3.) I am a great sales person. 4.) I will live with my new belief. Well there you go.

    •  @fischerls  Larry, that’s a great set of questions. Thank you for sharing them.

  • Kim

    which Graham Cooke teaching was this? Do you have a link?