Farmer Adams was working his field one day when his plough broke down.
As he cursed his bad luck, he thought to himself, ‘Farmer Jones on the next farm has a spare plough. I’ll ask him if I can borrow his.’
And with that, he started walking over.
As he started walking he thought, ‘Actually, I wonder if he will lend me his plough?’
As he continued, he considered, ‘You know, I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t lend me his plough after all.’
As he walked further he thought, ‘Come to think of it, he probably won’t lend me his plough!’
And, as he walked closer still, he thought, ‘If he doesn’t lend me his plough, he’s just plain mean. After all, why wouldn’t he lend me his spare plough? What have I ever done to him?’
Finally, he arrived at the gate to Jones’ farm and as he walked up the drive he thought, ‘I bet he’s just the sort of person who wouldn’t lend his neighbour his plough!’
And with that he banged on the door.
As Farmer Jones opened the door smiling, Farmer Adams turned to him and snarled, ‘You can stick your plough up your arse!’
The way in which we talk and the stories we tell ourselves can’t help but to influence our behaviour.
And often, it’s easier to tell a story that removes our sense of risk or the worry of being rejected.
Far better it seems to assume the worst: that Farmer Jones is just the sort of person who wouldn’t lend us his plough, because it means that we don’t need to go out on a limb, we don’t need to take a risk, ask for help or fear rejection.
After all, what’s the point? He’d just say no anyway.
Relate that to the job you want, the interview you crave or the possible customer you plan to approach with your latest product or service.
Why bother taking a risk? After all – they’ll probably just say no anyway.
Of course, if you think that way then it’ll be no surprise when it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy – as it follows that your actions or behaviours are a consequence of your self-talk.
The alternative option is to think and be brave.
To take a risk.
To ask for help and to put yourself out there to be shot at.
Not half-heartedly, tiptoeing carefully in case you get called out.
But whole-heartedly, bold and genuinely you.