If you want to cause an accident, tell someone to “BE CAREFUL”.

"CAREFUL!!! Don't fall into that fountain."

It is a word quickly ushered to others with little consideration. Who are the most common recipients? Kids. Often, it just seems to be the best phrase to use when you want to encourage concentration and focus. We have good intentions, but the results are not promising. 
We’ve all heard it, and we’ve all said it.

  • Hand a child a glass of milk followed by, “careful”
    • Translated: “I am worried you will spill this milk and break this glass.”
  • Tell a child who gets on a bike, “Have fun… be careful”
    • Translated: “If you fall, it will hurt and bad things will likely result.”
  • Say goodbye to a loved-one and say, “Have a good drive, be careful”
    • Translated: "You might get into an accident."

And the list goes on and on. The actual result of our intention to spread safety and caution by saying, “Careful…” is that we are planting seeds of fear. The emotion of fear harnesses debilitating power. It removes enjoyment. It robs of curiosity. It strips creativity. It kills motivation and enthusiasm.

  • The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary Definition of careful: Giving attention or thought to what you are doing so that you avoid hurting yourself, damaging something or doing something wrong.
  • The Oxford Dictionary Definition of fear: Be afraid of (someone or something) as likely to be dangerous, painful, or threatening.

The seeds of fear are doubt, indecision, anxiety, depression, ill health, broken relationships. Once it has time to germinate, it becomes well rooted into the psyche of that person.

Have the most successful and influential people in our society operated and based their decisions on fear? Did Thomas Edison tell himself to be careful each time he created his next invention? Does Chris Sharma begin each difficult climb with a mindset of “be careful”? No! They possess focus and awareness. They are always looking and always evaluating hazards and opportunities. They are realizing solutions.

So, here’s the challenge… count how many times over the next 21 days that you speak and hear the words “be careful”. Each time you speak these words, stop and restate the message, until eventually you no longer utter the words, “be careful”. Pay close attention to the reactions of others, as you have now empowered them.

Here are a few other empowering words that will produce better results:

  • Be aware
  • Focus
  • Look
  • Be alert

Have fun with this. And, “be careful”- as you might discover game-changing results.

Was this interesting? More to come on overcoming and eliminating fears. Stay tuned.