Your Brain Creates Mountains to Keep You Safe, Here’s How to Climb Them

Craig Stanland
3 min readMay 3, 2022

You have a dream to create something.

It lights you up when you think about it; it’s as though the world takes on a different color.

Everything is more vibrant, more alive; there’s an energy pulsing through your body — you feel and see possibilities and opportunities.

You want to (insert your dream here). You have the idea, the desire, and the basic outline of what you want to create.

You feel amazing and want to take the 1st step, but your mind rushes in with a flurry of thoughts before you can.

It’s SOOOOO much work.
Do you even know how to create “X”?
Is this even worth doing if it’s not a success?

Your brain immediately rushes to the finished product, skipping all the steps to actually get there.

Your dream now appears to be an insurmountable mountain. It’s too much, it’s too big, who are you to even try?

Whatever you want to create is new to you — and new equals uncertainty to the brain. And your brain doesn’t like uncertainty. Your brain’s job is to keep you safe — your joy and fulfillment are not its priority.

Your brain creates mountains to keep you safe. Stuck in the status quo — not happy and fulfilled — but safe.

This is an Outcome-Oriented Mindset.

OOM creates:

  • Fear
  • Pressure
  • Limiting Beliefs
  • Analysis Paralysis
  • Tying worth to outcome
  • Black and White Thinking
  • Relinquishing control (the outcome is out of your control)

OOM keeps you stuck and unfulfilled. Keeping your dream as only that — a dream. A figment of your imagination.

How do you navigate through an OOM?

By adopting a Process-Oriented Mindset:

POM is:

  • Agency
  • Freedom
  • Non-Attachment
  • Progress equals joy
  • Opportunities and Possibilities

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Craig Stanland

I write about my journey from corporate success to federal prison and finding joy, mission, meaning, and fulfillment beyond professional and financial success.