„Do I really need this? I have all my friends here. My family. I have a job, and it’s not so bad…plus travelling alone is very dangerous.” Even if this exact situation is not familiar, you must know what it feels like when you doubt your decision before a big change. When suddenly your current state seems nicer than before, because you know it is not going to be the same once you took the steps to change it and there is no going back.
A reader of mine asked if it is natural to feel doubt before her big trip. She wants to go badly, but there are some days when she doesn’t trust her decision. Of course, it is natural to doubt because big changes come with a lot of sacrifices. It takes a tremendous amount of courage and strength to leave the stable (at least what we perceive stable) for something unstable.
Again and again
Countless examples rushed into my head to demonstrate just how fear can overpower us. Until something is only a desire, it looks fabulous and distant, but when dreams turn into plans, we discover the dark side of the Moon. The unreachable factor made the desire so perfect. Now that the hardest part is over and the decision was made, it becomes way too practical and emotions are replaced with logic.
This is why it take 3-4 tries to break up with someone. „It wasn’t that bad after all. I still love him. He will change after being scared of losing me.” This might be a very black and white example, and of course, there is always an exception, but expectations don’t make rules and generally most things that are over get more beautiful with time.
Let’s imagine, you have been dreaming about going backpacking for years and you started reading blogs, ask questions and make plans. One day a clear decision is born. You are going. However, one doubt follows the other:
- I have a job…how am I going to make money if I quit
- What if I can’t find another job for a long time when I return
- What if my friends forget about me
- I’m too old for this anyway
- I don’t know how to organise such an adventure
- I might not even have enough money
- My family doesn’t support this idea
…want me to continue?
This is natural. It wouldn’t be right if we didn’t pause for a second and reflect. But I always thought about doubts as a defence mechanism. Before I rush into a change, one last time my logic forces me to think it through. One last time I need to gather all the courage to follow through the plan. Then the outside pressure comes, but when it does, I stand by my decision and they won’t be able to convince me about possible wrongdoings.
The battle of logic and instinct
Unfortunately, there is no recipe for instincts. You either listen to them or not. Personally, I prefer to go by gut feeling. It took me years to learn to trust them, especially because usually they go against my logic, but by testing, I found my instincts work better than my logic. I believe the gut feeling is the voice of our subconscious that is trying to communicate with the conscious.
We all felt when we were drawn into a decision by some unknown force, but last minute we made a brain decision and outside pressure won. Do you remember how that felt? When someone tells me to buy that T-shirt because it looks great on me, but I’m unsure, when I do purchase it, I wear it 2 times and it stays in the wardrobe forever. Or when I didn’t get into a truck that was going to take me 80 km, but 2 minutes later I found a car that took me 450 km while hitchhiking. Or when I said yes to an older, rich man in Cancún to take me around the city and he made my dream come true when I held a crocodile in my hands. Thanks to him. All of these decisions were made against logic, yet the gut was right each time.
Often I do things others deeply disapprove of, but when you know in your heart what you want to do, no logic can explain it. And my guts have never been wrong so far. After so many years of learning, I noticed when I went against the instinct, that tantalising happiness that usually follows a good decision didn’t come. But when my heart was in charge, I never second guessed my choices.
You can run, but you can’t hide
When we hesitate, we drag that state along. When your heart knows deep down what you want, your brain will find a million excuses and reasons to convince you about delaying a decision. This is by nature. But you can learn to take control. After 8 years, each time I’m faced with a challenge, I still go through the conflict between my heart and my mind.
Believe it or not, when you feel indecisive, you already made up your mind, but you just don’t always follow up with executions. You can delay the breakup, you can delay resigning from your job, you can delay your travels, sooner or later you will break up, you will quit and you will go. If not, you chase that decision back to a desire and the whole story starts all over again. The desire will stay in you.
It is possible to live your whole life with this desire in your heart, and many do live like this. But just ask the elderly if they regret not doing what they always dreamt of. Ask the sick if they regret not doing it until they had a chance. Don’t you tell me it’s not possible. I saw it all.
I saw married people with children backpacking for 2 months in remote areas, I saw 65-71-year-olds sleeping in hostels, sharing rooms with 10 youngsters, I saw kids growing up on the road, speaking 4-5 languages, I saw 50-year-olds quitting their jobs and going back to school, I saw physically impaired starting their company, I saw people travelling with their pets. I saw all of those things that most people consider impossible. But this opinion is just a byproduct of fear and jealousy.
The only person in our way is us. The doubt can be a friend or an enemy. It is up to you which role it will take. What is the worst that can happen? And what is the best? Is it worth taking the risk? What does your heart tell you? It is time to sit down and ask some difficult questions. What do you want to remember at the end of your life?
Thank you for your support!