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Are You Betting On Yourself Or Against Yourself?

Jumping

“The fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.” ~Paulo Coelho

I stood there in the parking lot of my apartment complex, with the hot Phoenix sun beating down on me, as I watched him drive away for what I thought would be the last time.

With tears rolling down my cheeks, I went inside my apartment after his car had turned the corner and was out of sight.

When the door closed behind me with that familiar thud, I could almost feel the loneliness swallow me up.

We met nine months earlier and quickly fell in love. But his time in Arizona had come to an end when he graduated from ASU. With no jobs in sight in Phoenix, he was hitting the highway and driving back to his hometown of Seattle to use his contacts to find work.

I wanted to go with him, but I was afraid of leaving all that was comfortable and familiar to me.

When he drove away, with his car filled to the brim with all his belongings, I imagined my life without him. I knew I my life would carry on, as I would wake up every morning, go to work, come home, and hang out with friends and family on the weekends. Perhaps even months down the road, I would probably start dating again.

Life would inevitably continue—but without him. The thought of being in love with someone who I’d never see again was a hard thing to swallow.

Step Right Up and Place Your Bets

Every day, moment by moment, we make choices. Some of those choices seem inconsequential. Most of us only feel the burden of choice when we are faced with one of those “big life decisions.”

Taking a new job, moving to a new city, starting a business, or having a child, just to name a few.

However, all the small seemingly insignificant choices sculpt our lives just as much as the big ones.

After all, how you do the small things is how you’ll do the big things.

Every day we make decisions, and each decision, whether big or small, is forcing us to bet either on ourselves or against ourselves.

You bet against yourself during those moments when:

  • You want to say “no” but end up saying “yes” instead (or vice versa).
  • You decide that you don’t really need to exercise today (you can always start tomorrow).
  • You decide to put off making a decision because you tell yourself you just need more information.

And when you bet against yourself, you will always lose.

No amount of betting against yourself is going to bring your dreams to life. No amount of downsizing your vision or playing small is ever going to lead to happiness.

In the end, you’ll always be left wondering “what if…” as you look back on a lifetime of regrets and unanswered callings.

On the other hand, when you bet on yourself, you’re taking a chance. You’re believing in what’s right about you. You’re believing in your potential. You’re believing in your dreams.

And when you bet on yourself, you give yourself the chance to win big.

Will you always win when you bet on yourself? Of course not. I wish I could say otherwise, but taking a risk is just that—a risk.

However, when you follow your heart and bet on yourself, you are opening yourself up to playing a bigger game. You’re allowing yourself to live in a world where you don’t have to constantly hedge your bets.

When you bet on yourself, you give yourself permission to chase after your dreams. You may not always catch them, but at least you can take off your boots at the end of the day knowing you gave it your best.

Back in Phoenix, Arizona…

As I sat there in my lonely apartment after he left, I realized what I needed to do.

I made a few phone calls and did a few Internet searches, and in less than a month, I had sold my car, gotten out of my lease, gotten rid of most of my things, landed a job in Seattle, and booked a one-way ticket to go start a life with the man that I love.

Maybe it was a little fast. Maybe I should have taken it slower.

But I decided, right there on that day, to bet on myself for once. That’s a decision I don’t regret, several years later, still in a loving and uplifting relationship with that same man.

My question for you is: What’s one thing you can do today to bet on yourself?

Photo by kelsey_lovefusionphoto

Avatar of Mika Maddela

About Mika Maddela

When Mika isn’t stuffing her face with chocolate, she writes relationship advice  on her blog, The Path to Passion. Mika is passionate about helping people enjoy better relationships and be loved for who they are. Stop by and say “hello,” she would love to get to know you.

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  • Dochy

    Beautiful! I love the instances you’ve listed to help us realize when we’re b betting against ourselves (especially point 2 :D) I’m so happy you chose to bet on yourself that day Mika! Wish you an awesome life with your partner!

  • Guest

    I let many things slip by me because of fear. I let a women go to NYC. She even found me a very good job to be near her but there were always excuses. I definitely bet against myself. Maybe we were or weren’t going to be the best together but it would have been nice to at least check it out. And my life would have been quite different from what I was used to (read: floating along). Like they say, you only regret the things you haven’t done.

  • becomingauthentic

    I let many things slip by me because of fear. I let a women go to NYC. She even found me a very good job to be near her but there were always excuses. I definitely bet against myself. Maybe we were or weren’t going to be the best together but it would have been nice to at least check it out. And my life would have been quite different from what I was used to (read: floating along). Like they say, you only regret the things you haven’t done.

  • http://twitter.com/MikaMaddela Mika Maddela

    Thank, Dochy. It’s been almost 4.5 years and I can honestly say that it feels like its only been 1 year. I’m glad you enjoyed this post:) Much love & light–Mika

  • Rachel

    Mika, thank you so much for this wonderful reminder that we don’t always have to follow the path that seems logical; sometimes, the scarier a leap of faith is, the bigger the indication it’s what we should try to do. So happy your leap led you to happiness :)

  • Andi

    I am ready to finally allow my girlfriend to walk away. I deserve a relationship where I am not having to continually convince someone of my worth.

  • http://twitter.com/MikaMaddela Mika Maddela

    Andi, that takes a lot of courage to let go like that. I definitely applaud you for betting on yourself:)

  • http://twitter.com/MikaMaddela Mika Maddela

    Aw, thank you, Rachel, I’m so glad you enjoyed this. The uncertainty of my leap was scary but the thought of passing up such a great relationship was much scarier.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000146938154 Paula Johnson

    Hi Rachel/Mika…you’re so right with what you say and I resonate with it TOTALLY – the past few weeks I’ve been wrestling with a huge decision – go overseas for 6months where I know I’ll learn and grow and experience so much and no doubt it will be life changing (I did this in 2011)…but by doing that I spend a big chunk of my life savings, come back to no job, no home and not a lot in the bank to start all over again (at age 49)…I’ve decided to leap…if I don’t I know I’ll regret it…who knows what connections I’ll make that will change my life for the better and get me really on purpose for why I’m here…leap and trust, that’s what I’ve decided :)

  • Renee

    Thanks for writing Mika! I love this concept of betting on yourself. I need the boost right now, as every day I want to pick up and go, but find myself being pulled back. I’ve never made a move like that, not for love or anything. But I know I will.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for writing this!!!! This came at the perfect time for me!! “No amount of downsizing your vision or playing small is ever going to lead to happiness.” What a beautiful line!! I’m so inspired by this post…. it is exactly what I needed to read today :)

  • http://twitter.com/MikaMaddela Mika Maddela

    Thank you! I feel so honored by your words:)

  • http://twitter.com/MikaMaddela Mika Maddela

    Way to go, Paul! I am *so* excited for your journey! It takes so much courage to be able to do something like that. When you’re fueled by your passion and heart, you WILL find ways to make what you want to happen. Safe travels, my friend:)

  • http://www.madlabpost.com/ Nicole/TheMadlabPost

    You’re take on waging bets and making choices reminds me of a favorite quote that goes something like…”every action you take is either a victory or defeat in becoming who you want to be.” Funny (or rather not-so-funny) time to read this…I’ve been trying to figure out how to get out of a bet I placed against myself when saying Yes to going to an event that I’d rather not attend.

  • Badger

    Excellent article Mika. I’ ve been having one of those self doubt days and this has snapped me right out of it. Thanks. Onwards and upwards!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ashley-Marie-Williams/23330413 Ashley Marie Williams

    Lovely message, I bet on myself to move to NYC with little money and I’m doing pretty good. Everything worked out better than expected and I’m in a city that I love. But I also saw the good side of the move, instead of the bad. I chose to see good in the city and all I got was good. Not to say it was easy leaving all my pals behind and leaving my family as well. But I told myself that I was doing this for them. For if I can become a better person and be able to support myself then I can also help them more. Great article!

  • http://twitter.com/MikaMaddela Mika Maddela

    High five to you betting on yourself and making that move to the Big Apple! I sure as heck know that was probably anxiety inducing but by focusing on the positive, you made it work and came out on top! Good for you:)

  • http://twitter.com/MikaMaddela Mika Maddela

    I’ve been in your situation before. Trying to find the courage to say NO when you MEAN NO and YES when you mean YES. I would make a pro and con list for each option you have, that way you can also see some of the positives of going to that event. good luck!

  • alek

    Awesome happy ending! Thumbs up for your decision!