“Only fools have no fear.”
-Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Commander Worf
Anyone who has gone through any type of enlightenment through trials and tribulations knows that saying that something needs to be done and then going about doing those things are two different things. It’s somewhat foolish to think that we can just say something is going to occur and then not have a lick of action behind it. Well, I’d think it would be foolish. It also creates the reputation of just being “all talk.”
So, I thought to myself and figured out what really gives us our “bite” or more relevant, takes it away from us. Me personally, I don’t take action unless I’m certain that action will yield the intended results. As a matter of experience, most people and I among them would rather be unhappy and certain in their direction than uncertain and confident. We just like being in control. Even if that sense of control leaves us unfulfilled. It’s just how it is, sadly.
There’s an innate sense of fear in not knowing what the future holds. Fear, to some, is the ultimate motivator. Fear can keep us comfortable and in ignorance of the opportunities that they may offer. It has kept me from exploring new areas of my life because I have been so used to being held tightly in constructs that made me believe that the things I wanted weren’t attainable. Like, most people, I didn’t dare confront or educate myself on why they had such standing.
To understand the aspects of ideas that scared me, I had to first understand why they were so dissuasive. For me, when I was afraid of something, it warped my point of view. It was definitely a reactionary impulse. For example, I thought snakes are dangerous because they can kill me. As true as that statement is, I also had to learn that they react to us in an appropriate matter. I learned that if we are at peace with them, they can be at peace with us. Things beyond our control are like this as well.
When we look at the future, we associate it with our dreams or our plans for them. One big lesson that I’ve learned and boy does it hold true… was that if our aspirations for the future didn’t scare us, they weren’t big enough. I don’t think that having lofty goals is necessarily a bad thing; however, understanding that it may be a tall task to complete them is something else. I also feel like that if your dreams intimidate you, then you’re not big enough for them. Rightfully so because if I didn’t understand them or respect the power they wield, then my desire for them was unhealthy for the long term. So, as a result, I had to figure out why it was healthy to fear what the future may hold for me.
First, I had to accept that I was going to fail. Failure can be pretty frightening because it signifies that we weren’t able to live up to the achievement of a goal. Once it’s instilled that our goals cannot be met by our abilities, the consequences very often are dissuasive. So, I had to learn that it was perfectly acceptable to fail. Sure, success would be a more desirable outcome and I would think that it would be for everyone; however, I had to be able to reach a state of peace. Peace would tell me that I tried, in earnest, to achieve the goal and that my ability just wasn’t at a place that enabled me to succeed. But, the effort yielded knowledge that would allow me to grow so I could eventually get there. So, I figured that as long as I was willing to risk failure, I would gain some wisdom. As always, is such a thing worth the risk?
Like most things, my personal tendency is to not get what I bargained for and there happen to be so many intangibles that we don’t really consider. We either achieve the goal or we don’t. We either get what we want or don’t. It took me a while to learn how to consider all of the angles. Because I took some time to make these considerations, I was able to weigh the risks against what I consequently stood to gain or lose.
The driving question, for me, was a matter if what not knowing what the outcome would be was worth more than what I had to offer. Sometimes, we don’t have a lot to offer and it makes it a lot easier to take the chances. Other times, we have much more to sacrifice that it makes risk unacceptable. It just seemed to me that as long as we were informed and we found value in doing so, then risk seemed like an afterthought. I had everything I needed to make a decision. So, why would I continue to let an irrational sense of fear continue to oppress my ability to just plunge into things?
For starters, it still is an issue to have faith in my abilities. I couldn’t find safety in my talent. Nobody said life was safe. But, I don’t believe that it is threatening. Sure, it can confront us with things and how we rise to those things ultimately decides whether our ability is sufficient enough to make peace with it. But, being safe is merely an illusion. I found that growth stems from conflict. If nothing challenges us, we can’t overcome it. If there is nothing to overcome, then that means we are at a point where there isn’t a reason to keep moving forward.
I believe that progress is an ongoing journey and that there are stops on this journey. If I liken it to a road trip, I would stop and get gas when I was low. I’d stop somewhere and eat if I was hungry. I would stop in a place where I had friends or family and visit with them. Finally, when my day was done, I would stop somewhere and rest. The point was that stops happen all the time and many of them can be detracting and give you a reason to stand idle. But, it is as equally valuable to believe that those very same things can offer an incentive to keep moving. More often than not, all it really took was one reason. That reason being was that I didn’t like where I was and would rather be where I wanted to go.
But, the most frightening question of all really is “Why?” That question forces us to respond. The choice is taken away and we respond in fear. However, those who ask the question, in their own way, have taken that fear and subdued to a point where it just doesn’t have a place with them. It’s a challenge to overcome fear and it’s one I perpetually struggle with every day. Maybe one day, my instincts and intellect will override the installation of that fear. Until then, all I can really do is continue to move forward and make progress. I hope, that me working on this book, is a testament and a skill to do as such.