Better the devil you know… than the devil you don’t.
Más vale malo conocido que bueno por conocer.
Von zwei Übeln wählt man besser das, was man schon kennt.
We prefer to deal with something we know, even if we do not like it, than to deal with something we don’t know that could be even worse.
It’s in our biology to go for the known and secure, and it has protected our species for ages.
But what is no longer beneficial to us is to stick with the bad – the person, job or life situation that is harming us – just because we fear change and the unknown.
Anna has been working at the same company for three years. She doesn’t like the job and she doesn’t get a chance to develop her skills. She’s bored, unmotivated and her salary has been the same (low) since she started. There’s hardly anything keeping her at this place. She would love to get another job. But if you ask Anna why she isn’t doing everything possible to find the job she wants, she’ll say: The job I want doesn’t exist…. One should go with what is safe… How can I know that the other job would be really better than this one? If I can’t be sure I better stay here.
What do all these excuses have in common? Fear. Fear from change. Fear from the unknown. What if I won’t get a better job? But the question Anna doesn’t ask is: What if this is just my mind creating bad scenarios and the reality is much more optimistic?
Nico thinks the relationship with his girlfriend sucks. Both have very different opinions on things. Their temperaments clash, which leads to frequent arguments. He admits that it just isn’t working anymore, but he’s afraid to break up. He isn’t sure he would be happier with someone else. What if he puts an end to this relationship and won’t find any other girl? What if there is no girl that would want him?
Again, we’re talking about the fear of the unknown future and our mind playing tricks to keep us safe, even if the safe is eating our soul.
As I have written in one of my previous posts, the best things in life come with no guarantees. We simply can’t expect to be sure that another job or partner will be better. If we want to be sure, we’ll stay where we are forever. We stay with the “devil” we know, and don’t give a chance to the thing we don’t know – whether a devil or angel, who knows?
An interesting question arises here: How often did we miss out on something awesome because we didn’t dare to step out of the comfort zone, to jump into the cold water and see if what we get is better than what we have?
Next time you’re afraid of letting go of the bad… the thing you hate but feel comfortable with… ask yourself: Am I staying with the “devil” because it’s comfortable and I know it? Am I losing great opportunities because of this?
Don’t let comfort and fear prevent you from going after what you really want.
Say goodbye to the devil you know.
Welcome what you don’t know. It might not be a devil, after all.
Did you like this post? You may like this one as well: Best Things Come with No Guarantees