Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Muse: Fear of Forward

I recently read an interview with Stephen King, the master horror story teller of our day, and he commented on the horror movies of today. He said that the grotesque and gratuitous gore does not make it scary. It just makes it gruesome. The real element of fear is the unknown. Why? Because we have wild imaginations that conjure up all kinds of situations and outcomes that are far more scary than anything anyone could write. That kind of fear is debilitating. It paralyzes you and prevents you from action. This kind of fear is something with which we are all familiar, and it has nothing to do with Freddie or Jason or clowns. I call it the fear of forward.

I have often thought of myself as a great many things and in my imagination I have become them all. In reality, I am just a jack of all trades with fairly good work ethic. I am not afraid of most things, and it would seem ludicrous to say that I am afraid of success, but that may be part of the problem. I believe that many people struggle to accomplish their dreams because they are either afraid of success or failure or both. No one likes to fail. It doesn't do much for the self-esteem and makes it difficult to look up with confidence in your abilities. However, being afraid of success is just as debilitating.

I have done a great many things in my life, but I have come short of accomplishing dreams I thought I really wanted. I gave up on them, perhaps a little too soon. Perhaps I was afraid that I would get what I wanted. Perhaps I was afraid that I would fail. Either way, I didn't do it. I don't regret the decisions I have made although I think that I probably could have made better decisions. But what about now? What about today? I am always encouraging other people to go after their dreams and to never settle, and yet it seems that at times I settle. I am not following my own advice at all. In my head, I make excuses that appease me but they are still excuses covering up my fear of actually doing something I might be really good at. What it all comes down to is fear. Fear that it will be hard. Fear that I might not be successful. Fear that I might be too successful, which will distract me from my real priorities.

Ghandi said, “Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn't have it in the beginning.” Eleanor Roosevelt said we need stare fear in the face and do the thing we think we cannot do. If I believe that I am mediocre and not qualified enough, then that becomes reality. If I tell myself that I cannot do something or that I am incapable of being successful at it, then it will be a waste of my time to try because I have already set myself up for failure. But if I believe I can do it, and I work hard at it, then victory is mine.

Fear does nothing but incapacitate us and prevent us from achieving our true inherent potential. It robs us of our dreams and convinces us that mediocrity is acceptable. I have been running pretty much my whole life. It brings me great satisfaction to see my friends start running and then racing and accomplishing something they didn't before consider. I love planning races and other events for people to participate in. I enjoy training people and preparing them for their races in whatever capacity they need. Therefore, people have been telling me that I should be a personal trainer. I have thought about it and considered it more than once. I know what I need to do to get licensed, but beyond that I know very little. So I have been sitting on it for months not doing anything about it mostly because I am afraid. Afraid I will do it and not enjoy it. Afraid I won't be good at it or successful. Afraid that I won't be qualified enough to teach people. Of course, these are valid concerns but they are also excuses. My fear has left me immobile on the matter. It's time for some action. It's time to really take a look at the opportunity and decide if I want it. Once the decision is made, I need a plan and the courage to move forward.

Much like horror movies, not knowing what lurks around the corner is somewhat frightening. Luckily, in this case, there won't be any maimed scary people jumping at me with a knife or monsters or aliens or clowns. The only thing lurking around that corner is the unknown and the gamble of success or failure. Just making a move toward trying puts me in a better place than succumbing to debilitating fear, doing nothing and waiting for the thing around the corner (that might not even be there) to get me. The only way to conquer fear is to face it.

No comments: