Over the past few days/weeks/months (it's been a long time coming) I have realized the recipe for happiness, success and a sense of accomplishment.
Fear is a primal emotion, usually driven by a sense of self preservation. Whether we are preserving our feelings, our pride, or our ego (or in other obvious cases, your physical safety which is not what I am referring to here) or whatever it may be, fear is always there to tell you exactly what you want most, or what is most important to you.
When faced with an opportunity, many of us shut down. Why? Because we are terrified. Of failure, embarrassing ourselves, of the unknown, the list goes on. A lot of us let opportunities slip by, because of this fear. It is normal; it is common. But it does not lead to happiness or contentment in any way. No, it leads to regret.
Fear is something to be embraced and grateful for. Because it tells you exactly what you want.
I reiterate this, because there are so many people who don't know what they want, or don't seem to know. People trick themselves into thinking they don't want something, because of this fear. It is the opposite of their deepest desires. The result is regret and many other negative emotions.
Behind every fear is a dream waiting to be realized. Face your fear, and suddenly you realize there was nothing to be afraid of. Conquer your fear, and revel in your success.
Speaking of success, let's discuss the fear of failure.
This used to be my biggest fear. It is irrational and ridiculous, when you think about it, since it is impossible in this day and age to predict the future with 100% accuracy. I think it is probably one of the biggest reasons that people do not do what they want to do. We fear failure, some more than others, intensely, because whatever you are attempting or wishing to attempt is so important to you. Stop as soon as you feel this terror, and think to yourself, 'this is great; this is how I know I am doing exactly what I want.' Embrace it. It's awesome! Really - if you want something so badly that you're terrified to do it because you're so afraid you'll fail - well you see where I'm going with this. Do it and make yourself proud.
Before you convince yourself that failing is too risky, consider this.
Failure is incredible. Yeah, I mean it. I used to hate it - I revel in it now. Failure is only a sign that you've tried
. Failing because you have attempted is not failing at all. Pick the pieces back up off the ground, and do it again. Push through the pain, the emotional discomfort, because pushing through the pain is easier to deal with than suffering the regret of quitting. Fail, try again, fail, try again, succeed. You will if you keep trying. If you want it badly enough, you will
succeed. And before you think that your goal wasn't reached, stop for a moment, take a look at yourself and what you've done, and feel awesome for how far you've come along the way. You can continue to strive for your personal goal, but don't let it rule your life - enjoy the ride.
True failure isn't having an epic moment of horror when you realize your goal was not reached. True failure is when you give up before you began. But guess what? Successful people are the ones who try and try again. Successful people have epic fails constantly
. Success isn't a straight shoot, it's a twisting winding path that sometimes doesn't even make sense.
So next time you feel the fear of failure, embarrassment etc. instead of succumbing to it, try welcoming it, thanking it for being a strong indicator that whatever it is that you're doing is what you want. Of course, if it's a fear regarding your health and personal safety or safety of others, it's probably a good idea to heed it.
But seriously, just pause, and think - what am I really afraid of? Establish your fears. Face it, just for the sake of feeling like the hero of your story*. Because without struggle, victory is not so sweet.
* "I'm the hero of this story, I don't need to be saved."
- Regina Spektor