October 21, 2023•542 words
If you grew up poor, you likely have a fear of poverty. I read once that many of the Forbes list is made up of people who fear poverty, and this fear propels them to crazy heights of financial success. Another common fear is fear of failure and actually fear of success, which keeps many, if not most, people living lives that are not aligned with their dreams. In fact, this is so common that it's cliche.
But many different kinds of fears hold us back. Fear of not being smart enough, even though many successful people admit on their own that they're not that smart but know how to hire smart people. Meaning you don't need to be smart to be successful. Fear of being alone is another big one; many of us stay in toxic relationships that have no benefit for us for too long because we're afraid of being alone. Fear of change is another big one. We all know people who adapted well during Covid. In fact, I was reading an article today about someone who built their dream home during COVID-19 because they finally had the needed free time and inspiration. And we know many others who lost everything and never recovered.
With the war in Ukraine, there are many stories of resilience and adaptation and others of defeat and hopelessness. My saying, which I repeat often, is "adapt or die". Nevertheless, fear of change is a big one and why many people don't make the desired changes. And I can't forget the king/queen of fears. The fear of what others think. That is likely the biggest fear of them all. It is also challenging to rid oneself of this fear. The younger you are, the more impossible it is. Once you reach 40, as in my case, it comes more naturally, but the programming of a lifetime is difficult to completely phase out.
But what happens with fear is that one gets discouraged when they experience fear. "I don't care what people think, so why am I thinking about it?" because you've been programmed this way. But remember, a hero is not someone who is not afraid; it is someone who acts despite fear. So if you think about what people think but are doing what you need to do despite what they'll think of you, then you're doing just fine. If you're afraid of the dark but still head into it to do what you must, you're doing fine. Fear is not useless; it is part of our being to protect us from peril. The problem is when it keeps you from doing what you must do.
I need to make those cold calls, but I fear rejection. I'm going to do them anyway. I'm scared to ask her out because of fear of rejection, but I'll ask her anyway. I'm afraid to live alone, but I'm getting divorced anyway. I'm scared of moving to country so and so, but I will do it despite my fear. I'm afraid of going over that mountain because I don't know what's on the other side, but I'll do it anyway. So it's not fear that's the problem. It's letting it hold you back, and that's the problem.