Updated: Aug 22, 2021
How many times have you had an idea that you wanted to work on, only to shelve it because you could not predict the outcome? Did you once feel enthusiastic about a new job prospect, then shied away, when, after much opining, you began to feel underqualified or unprepared? Or, how often have you felt like doing something you have never done before - travelling somewhere far, or maybe trying some new activity, but simply scrapped the thought because no one else felt your excitement? Did it happen once, twice, or too many times to mention?
Well, believe it or not, you are not alone. This response is all too familiar. Some, ascribe it to being cautious, acting responsibly, being prudent. Others say it was just ill-timed, not in my budget, or it can wait. While this might be true for some, for others, it is simply fear - fear of the unknown, fear of trying, fear of failing, fear of their true potential, fear of success. But this unnatural fear has roots - deep roots.
Fear is a natural response we feel when confronted with danger, harm, or any threat (whether physical or psychological). It is quite logical then to feel fear when standing face to face with a wild animal, or being in an airplane tossed about by strong, nauseating turbulence. That is physical fear. But the most crippling fear of all is the one that has been specially brewed and aged in the deep, dark cellars of our own minds. Psychological fear.
For some, it began in childhood. You were told (and reminded) that you were not (as) smart, (as) good-looking, or (as) talented like your brother, sister, friend, or your classmate. Maybe you had a speech impediment, a learning disability. Or maybe you were teased for simply being too smart. So you mastered the art of being quiet. For others, it started at puberty. You had body issues - repeatedly criticized about your acne, weight, odor, height, too much or too little hair. So you quietly became a "hidden figure". And for others, it emerged in adulthood - a bad relationship (maybe a few), being overlooked at work for a promotion (maybe too often to count), or just not fitting in with, or accepted, by your peers. So you became distant, detached, aloof. You believed it all. And accepted it all.
While this list is not exhaustive, it speaks to something deeper - it leads us to the pathology of our fear(s) and the natural response(s) to protect ourselves even when the seeming threat is not tangible.
I am a firm believer in natural law. This means, that "for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction" (Newton's third law of motion). In this context, therefore, I suggest that our responses to everyday challenges are not simply caused by them, but because of who we are at the core of our being. It is always easy and convenient to blame something or someone for our failures, lack of motivation, procrastination, disinterest, or fears. But in order to change that pathology, you must understand exactly who you are and why.
Why are you afraid of committing to your own plans and ideas? Why are you terrified to apply for that job? Why are you afraid of heading out on that once in a lifetime trip (on your own if needs be)? Why are you afraid to simply be you? If I told you that there was a million dollars in your bank account right now, you would not believe me. Why? Because it is simply not true. It can be verified. So, then, why do we always let others, things, or circumstances hinder us? And why do we even believe that they could in the first place? Can this too, not be verified? Most definitely! But if you understood and believed just how worthy and powerful you are, you would not be afraid. These self-defeating, crippling and unnatural fears are often the projection and reflection of our self-worth (or lack) - how we see and value ourselves. But one's intrinsic worth, however, is never determined by what others said or did to you. Do not fall for that lie. You always get to decide your own value. It's all in your hands! But first, you got to believe it, then go out and live your truth relentlessly and unapologetically!
Do not become the warden of a prison of your own making. Your ideas are worth the light of day simply because of who you are. You got something worth saying - know it, and say it! You got skills worth bringing to the table - believe it, then bring 'em on! You dream of venturing into unchartered territory or travelling to new places - feel it, then blaze the trail! Do it all, even if you feel alone. You are not! An unchallenged mind will not grow, an undeveloped product will not be marketed, neither will an untried strategy yield any result. "Every object persists in its state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed upon it" (Newton's second law of motion). So embrace the new you - the confident, determined, powerful, and worthy you. Shake off the chains of fear by knowing that you are already what you are now becoming - someone with limitless possibilities. Only you can decide who and/or what that is. Opportunity has come knocking, take it!
Do not be afraid of your own potential. Just go for it!