Why are phrases such as, “you have nothing to lose,” “lose yourself,” and Nike’s “Just Do It,” so powerful?
Surely, there must be something about them that makes them so emotionally potent.
You can spend hours trying to convince someone why a certain course of action or a certain decision is the most logical option. However, logic will rarely encourage anyone who is afraid to step out of their comfort zone, or stubborn in his or her beliefs, to do something that they don’t want to do.
Using a phrases such as, “just do it,” or “you have nothing to lose,” is often much more effective in thrusting people into action.
Nike has based a billion dollar industry around this campaign/brand image.
On a surface level it might seem like these phrases are so powerful because they get people out of their heads. They get them to stop thinking, and enter a state of flow, or action. And that’s totally true. That is one important aspect of their value.
However, when you examine these phrases more thoroughly, the source of their effectiveness becomes even more interesting. Below the surface, these phrases aren’t just indicative of thoughtless action, they are indicative of egoless action.
They prompt you to sacrifice your identity, and throw your ego to the dogs. If you “have nothing to lose,” that means there is no risk of consequences. If you fail, you won’t lose any self-esteem and you won’t suffer any form of diminished ego.
Nevertheless, that is not the most compelling reason why these phrases are so effective. On the deepest and most profound level, when someone tells you, “you have nothing to lose,” you enter a state where you have everything you need.
Yes, these phrases get you out of your head. Yes, they encourage you to temporarily sacrifice your ego. But most profoundly, they make you realize you are perfect the way you are.
Phrases like these empower you because they get you to recognize your own unyielding inner strength, the innate and everlasting power buried deep within you.
Really think about it.
When you’re in that state where nothing else can go wrong, you’re at the bare bottom. Shouldn’t that feel devastating and unforgiving? If you truly “have nothing left to lose,” then that means you’re deprived. You no longer have anything to your name. Your identity has completely dissolved. When you are deprived of everything, including your identity, shouldn’t that feel awful?
Yet, it doesn’t. It feels energizing and empowering. It isn’t devastating, it’s liberating.
“Awakening is not the gaining of anything. It’s the losing of everything until the only thing that remains is what never came.” – Michael Jefferys
We spend our lives fearing the moment when we will lose everything, but that moment can be a beautiful experience. The space that arises when you have nothing may force you realize that, in fact, you already have everything that your ego has been yearning for.
Loss can make you feel alive because you were born perfect, and now you are free to rediscover that. Without your ego and your identity getting in the way, you can become as daring and as spirited as you were as a child.
So congrats Nike, you tapped into something many of us are still discovering. Don’t think, don’t worry, and don’t hold on, “Just Do It.”
You need not fear losing your ego.
When you let go of your ego, when you let go of your thoughts, you don’t have anything to lose. You have everything to gain.
“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” – Cynthia Occelli