So you have a goal in mind and you feel it just might be your passion. It is right there in front of you like the low hanging fruit on a tree. All you have to do is reach out and pluck it and it is yours.
Yet you don’t reach, you stand or sit and just watch the fruit as it hangs there tantalizing your senses. It is often fear that stops us from following our passions and for me most often I have found fear to be a huge barrier to doing what I want. What is it that I am afraid of?
What If I Fail?
I think that we all have this fear in our minds to some degree. Being successful is ingrained into our consciousness from the first days we begin school. So failure is looked at as something undesirable. Our education system teaches this as rote fact.
Yet when you analyze it, really it is just one of the many possible outcomes of trying. All great discoveries and people became genius to the world as they stood on the heap that was their previous failure. Failure is not fatal, it isn’t even detrimental to accomplishment. So often we need one more piece of the puzzle to reach a new height, you can often learn what that is through the experience of a failure.
Sometimes we fail, but the choice of how you deal with that is always up to you. You can quit, roll up in the fetal position and rock slowly asking yourself: Why? Or you can analyze the failure and see the shortcomings of whatever you have done and correct them and try again, and again if necessary.
I have been paralyzed by fear before and in hindsight it always makes you feel foolish. Find the encouragement you need to keep going, in your friends, your family in the books you read or whatever you come in contact with on a daily basis. Don’t let this fear stop you. Fear is nothing but a thought, you don’t have to pay attention to it.
What If I Succeed?
As strange as it sounds, I have been hurt by a fear of success. How can I be afraid of
succeeding? Well, surely you have not met me. The human mind seems to be great at creating problems where none really exist. My mind is an expert at this.
Perhaps it is the egoic ramblings of my conscious mind that worries that if things go too well for me then something bad will clearly be following soon. This fear of Karmic retribution can sometimes make you just want to keep things as “even Stephen” as possible. Never reaching too high to avoid falling to a scary low, that perhaps you might not want to experience.
To me, this is the worst of all fears, because it is stopping you from reaching your limits. All of us are going to have experiences in life and one of them should be reaching our potential in any given area of interest, especially if it is doing something that we are passionate about.
Put this fear to bed by understanding that life is full of ups and downs and no matter what you do, no matter how even keeled you try to stay, there will still be setbacks. Being great at something will not result in a punishment later unless you choose to create one. Fear is only a thought in your mind that you choose to pay attention to.
What Will Everyone Say?
For me, this is the biggest fear there is. Perhaps it was a childhood weakness, or maybe it was high school trauma, but for whatever reason, I have been deathly afraid of what other
people might think of my actions.
The foolishness of this fear really jumps out at me as I write these words because the only person who is hurt by this type of phobia is definitely me. Let me share my anti-fear recipe here. First of all, what other people think is their problem, not mine.
Secondly, most often any bad thoughts that someone has about you are due to their own inadequacies and fear not yours. Other people are always mirroring into your soul. What you see in others, often exists within you.
Thirdly, what you think they think is most often not accurate anyway. This is because it is most often my ego that produces these thoughts of someone else. Really they are just your own perceived weaknesses projected onto someone else. When you think about it that way, you can see it makes no sense to be afraid. Fear is a thought in your mind.
In the end, the scary thing is that we all are going to face fear and it is most likely going to happen each and every day whether we like it or not. It is in how we deal with it that our lives will be defined. Will I shrink from the negative thoughts that fear creates? Or will I rise above it and start to pay attention to more positive thoughts.
I think most people who are able to achieve their dreams are able to look fear in the eye, recognize it for what it is and move on with their actions anyway, which take them to the finish line. Fear is nothing more than a thought, and that is it.
Fear is not a real tangible thing unless we allow it to become that through our inaction.