“What’s the worst that could happen, anyway?” That’s the question I ask myself when I am at a crossroads. Whenever I sense myself getting exasperated about taking a decision or getting apprehensive about the possible outcome of a situation, I imagine the worst possible thing that could result from taking the wrong decision. And many times, that question induces the damn it mentality I need to face my fears and do it afraid. It’s the tonic I need to get going and it helps put things in perspective.
Like virtually everyone else, I am wary of failure at anything at all. Not getting things right or failing to hit a set mark sends my confidence reeling, and if I had my way, I would win all the time. Every single time, and at everything. Forget all that stuff motivational speakers say about learning more and getting better through failure.
However, I have since found that they do have a point. Besides, it’s impossible to have a 100 percent success rate in every endeavour in the course of one’s life. Failure is imminent at some point no matter how careful we are to avoid it. And when I say failure, I don’t necessarily refer to a monumental non-achievement or a perpetual lack of success that is bound to make daunt most people. Failure could range from a poor test result to the loss of a business empire.
As we grow older, we become more keen to achieve our goals. We are more conscious of the passage of time and tend to worry more about not fulfilling the plethora of things we have listed as must-dos. With this yearning, however, comes a caution…that inner pause button that reminds us of the possibility of stumbling. It is for this reason that many stay in their comfort zone. We play safe and are content with the level of comfort that ensures we are far less likely to fail, but at the same time do not experience any remarkable upward trajectory in our growth.
And so, we stay in a relationship that lacks spark, because well, our significant other isn’t exactly treating us shabbily. We spend years at a job we absolutely detest because we are all too aware that getting a good job is tantamount to squeezing water out a rock and many of our contemporaries are still jobless several years after graduation. We know that there are a few others who do what they love and are well compensated for it, but we can’t seem to imagine ourselves getting that “lucky”. So we endure indignity and ill-treatment in a toxic work environment until we are kicked out or retire frustrated.
The unwritten rule is to settle for less. Nigeria isn’t exactly developing at a stratospheric rate, so, just be grateful you even have a job at all and don’t try to rock the boat by abandoning the cocoon a regular job (however uncomfortable) offers for that “nonsense” called passion. About that uninspiring relationship? Oh, you expect to have someone who would fawn over you all the time or whisper sweet nothings to you daily? Don’t be naïve, we chide. All that is the stuff of romance novels. Be super happy you have a man at all, there are many girls out there who would give an arm and a leg to have what you complain about.
I know it’s easier said than done, but, more often than not, asking yourself what’s the worst that can happen in a situation is the only way to gain clarity and draw the much needed strength to take a decision. If you are scared to quit a job you loathe because you consider the prospects of getting another slim, ask yourself if you’ll lose your life if you are fired from the same job. If you are worried about what would become of you if you leave a relationship that no longer grows you simply because you have been in it for 5 years and aren’t exactly a spring chicken anymore, the question is, if your partner woke up one day to sever all ties with you, are you going to cease living?
What’s the worst thing that could happen, anyway? So, I lose my job. I am unable to get married when I planned to. My closest friend betrays me. A fraudster swindles me of all I’m worth. Sickness? Poverty? To be truthful, these are not circumstances one would wish on even an enemy. But guess what? People have been hit by one or more of these eventualities and they didn’t die. Remember Job in the Bible? People have survived the very things they never imagined they could, the very things they dreaded all their lives.
I should know, I have had my fair share(maybe more than, to be honest) of despondent moments and undesirable occurrences, and each time, I have survived. And not just survived, but thrived afterwards, and I can say it has made me a stronger, more adventurous person.
So ask yourself, what’s the worst thing that could happen in any given situation and once you have been able to hazard a good guess, go ahead and take a chance.
You only have one life to live, make it count.