The more you feel like giving up, the closer you might be to that breakthrough you’ve been wanting so desperately. Here’s why I’m starting to look at a feeling of discouragement as a sign that I’m getting close.
How Did We Survive Before GPS?
Now that Siri is beside me to navigate my every move, I hardly ever need to rely on written or remembered directions anymore. But how could I ever forget that tense feeling of getting close to my destination, then starting to second-guess myself?
Sometimes it even seemed like the closer I would get to where I was going, the stronger would be my desire to turn around. I’d think, “I must have missed it. There’s no way it could really be this far.”
Giving In to Panic
I’d start to panic and turn the car around and go back, only to realize I would have to turn around again. If I’d just stayed the course I would have gotten there with time to spare, but instead I’d arrive stressed-out and late.
This has happened to me more times than I can count. One day I noticed that the stronger my desire to turn back became, the closer I actually was to where I was going. The stronger the feeling of panic that I’d made a mistake, the more likely it was that I was really on the right track, if I would just go a little further.
Misreading the Signals
Now that GPS has taken some of the mystery out of navigating our world, the uncertainty we might feel in unfamiliar territory has become pretty, well, unfamiliar to us. We’re out of practice relying on our own smarts to get us where we want to go.
When navigating our interior world, many times we don’t recognize that urge to give up for what it is: a signal that we’re almost there. This is where I am right now. I’m writing this post for myself as well as for you.
The Fear is Your Friend
If you are venturing to a new place in your life, somewhere you desperately want to go, you’re going to feel fear. You might even panic. You’re going to want to give up, turn around, return to familiar territory.
As you learn to work with your internal GPS, you’ll discover that its job is not to keep you comfortable in life. Its job is to make you the person you were meant to be. When you get that signal that you’re almost there, that you’re about to make a breakthrough, it’s not going to feel comfortable. It might even feel like you’re making a big mistake.
Imagine Your Breakthrough
That uncomfortable feeling is your old beliefs and programming trying desperately to keep you safe. A concept called cognitive dissonance explains that feeling of tension between the old beliefs and the new. But you can’t grow by playing it safe. If you want different results in your life, you have to push beyond the old programming.
The best way to do this is to focus on your goal. Remind yourself of how much you want to reach it. Visualize yourself getting there, standing on the new summit. If you can see it happening, it exists.
Connect With Your Intention
Imagination activates the action center in the brain and feeds our internal GPS. When you are unsure of your next step, don’t look at external stimuli. Instead, look inside and connect with your intention. You don’t have to see a clear path to get to your goal, you just have to know that you can get there. (Dr. Srini Pillay explains this better than I can as he tells the story of how he got into Harvard.)
And whatever you do, don’t turn back. If you feel like giving up, take it as a sign that a breakthrough is right around the corner.