Q: I'm curious about how entrepreneurs approach risk-taking. Whenever I want to do something, I weigh up the options and always get scared off by the negatives. I almost always decide not to go forward. How do you deal with doubts and fears?
A: As human beings our minds are continually in overdrive. We spend a surprising amount of time in an internal dialogue—in other words, we're busy having a conversation with ourselves. If we were to speak out loud the dialogue that goes on inside our heads we would be labelled, most probably, insane. And often the self-talk is negative rather than positive.
This is probably over-simplistic, but I think it's easier to see this internal conversation as a battle between the right brain and the left brain. The right brain is the intuitive, creative side, often excited and enthused about new things we can do. But we all also have the voice of the left brain, the analytical side. It prefers what it knows: the logical and the routine.
I believe that our fears and doubts come from the left brain. It's bombarded with all the dreary news that comes in from the outside world and feeds them back into the subconscious as anxiety and fear.
Whenever I want to do something different, there's always a little voice in my head, an incessant chatter telling me not to go for it. The only solution is to quieten this negative voice, or press the mute button.
nless you consciously press mute—or even delete to get rid of it—these negative thoughts will paralyse you rather than push you ahead.
This is what great athletes do. They control their inner voice, almost like an MP3 player of positive affirmations that plays over and over, rising in volume and intensity. Like athletes, we need to change our habits, press delete on our doubts, and learn to listen to our right brain more.
Sahar Hashemi is the author of Switched On