Fear Of The Unknown Keeps Us From Starting

I am guilty of this time and time again. I avoid something I want to do because in the back of my mind, I don’t have a solid understanding of (A) if it is possible at all, or (B) if it is possible, the path to success must arduous and painful. Not to mention the deep seeded fear of my overall lack of belief in myself of accomplishing any said task, and the deeper fear of if I “fail”, I will be consumed by feelings of shame and regret.

The first step to conquering this fear would be to grab that idea by the scruff of the neck and drag it out from the shadows, and push it into the light. Ambiguous ideas are a friend of fear. First, start by defining what you want to accomplish by getting your thoughts down on paper. If you need to rewrite what exactly you are trying to achieve, this is the time to do it! By becoming clear on what is your main goal, this should have a big impact on reducing your overall fear of starting.

So, you have spent the time to condense your thoughts down on paper, and now you have a firm understanding of what you are trying to achieve. The next step is to write out small actionable steps you can take to accomplish this goal. Maybe start out small. For example, I want to learn about SEO. I can start by studying for thirty minutes a day, five times a week. If after completing this task, I feel energized to do more, then I can up my study time.

The last comment is a segway into another thought I had on goals. Why do you want to accomplish this goal? This is very important. Are you unconsciously trying to complete a goal because you believe your partner or parents would be proud of you? Is this goal in line with what and who you truly are? Make sure what you have set out to do is for the right reasons.

This thought is in line with knowing your “why”. You have to ask yourself do you want it enough? Are you willing to wake up at 4am in the morning and study for two hours, five days a week for months on end? I know I am guilty of this. I will have a grand idea while taking a shower, but in the end I am just not motivated enough to put in the hours and effort to achieve the goal.

Track your progress, and keep yourself accountable. Its easy to oversleep in the morning and put off what you want to get done. Have a calendar handy, hang it above your desk and mark off the days you have worked on your goal. This way you can look back on the work accomplished and it can give you a boost in confidence, and an overall feeling of accomplishment. While you are at it, to stay motivated, write out your “Why” and your goal on a piece of paper and hang it above your desk.

I think that if you are clear on what you want, you have checked in with yourself and you have confirmed you are pursuing it for the right reasons, and you know your “why”, then I think you have a very good chance of succeeding.

Fear of Learning

I have had a deep fear of learning, ever since I can remember.  Actually, it is a deeper fear than that.  I also fear taking chances. I fear visiting a new restaurant to reading a new book.

I believe my deep seated fear lies in the chance that I will be made a fool, or shamed in some way.   That I will never be competent in the task at hand.

From my past history, as a child, I felt that I could never truly please my father or meet his lofty expectations.  To avert these feelings of shame and inadequacy, I would just not try.  Problem solved.

I found that if I did not try, I could avoid my father’s critiques, for the most part. Unfortunately, this mindset has followed me into adulthood, and it has had a tremendous affect on the trajectory of my life.

My career or lack there of has languished for years now.  I have come to the conclusion that I am afraid of trying because I feel that I am not competent to do the task.  Funny, since in order to be competent at something, you first have to put in the time and effort to master the skill.

This just leaves me in an endless loop of never fully committing to anything, because of this aversion.  Why does it seem that the majority can push through this cognitive block, and I cannot. I don’t think I fully comprehended how much of an affect it has had on my life and career.

I guess what I am saying is that I am not very conscious or self aware.  It is blind spot that I have dealt with my whole life.  How can I be so blind to the fact that I have been running all these years in place.  I want to be more proactive, and take charge of my life.

I don’t want to languish any longer in a dead end job.  What can I do right now that will get me in a better position in life?  It would best to speak to a career counselor or advisor?  Probably.

Maybe, I am not alone.  I would guess there are others out there that have been on auto pilot in their careers, or just life in general, too?  I am wondering how they have pulled themselves out of this ditch.   

If you care comment, if you have been in the same situation, please do.  I would be curious to what you have to say.

I Am Afraid To Try!?! – Mindfulness is the key

Part of what makes progressing in my life rough is that I get stuck in a proverbial loop.  My logic (or lack there of) for giving up on a pursuit is that If I put effort in a task and it doesn’t work out, then I would have ended up wasting all that effort and time.

I am bound to fail, so why even try in the first place?

My default answer to this dilemma is indecisive action, by not putting much effort or time into the task at hand, because why would I,  I’m destined to fail anyways, or look like an ass in the process.

Subpar results are what is created from this train of thinking, or no progress at all .   A life not fully lived.  A coward afraid to step outside his comfort zone to address the unknowns in life.

Why am I asking these questions later in life?  I am 42 years old. Maybe it is self awareness that is playing the key part in all of this. I meditate almost daily, and visit a therapist twice a month, so it might just be that I am able to better visualize how my brain is processing and rationalizing certain situations.    I have never been more self aware, in my life.

What if instead of worrying about being shamed, for not knowing the answer at work, or being afraid that if I study up on a certain subject that I end up not mastering the material, I just pick a task and complete it, not for anyone else but because I wanted to learn the subject.

Isn’t that is what people do, they tend to practice what they are good at, and because of this they are good at what they practice?

Instead of heaping  worries, fears, lofty expectations into something, I just mindfully clear that mental clutter from my mind and just learn for the sake of learning, and the fact that I am curious?

Simplifying, acknowledging what I fear,  and addressing these fears and worries is what I believe it takes to overcome what we are reticent to pursue.   This could be a relationship, career,  finances..ect.  The list goes on and on.

In order to have better self awareness, we need to practice mindfulness.  If you google this topic, there is plenty of material out there, so I won’t bore you with the details.

As I mentioned previously, I practice meditation, but there are other means to becoming more mindful about your thoughts.  It just takes practice, and addressing your fears and worries, one step at a time.

How not to be a coward

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been a coward the majority of my life.  I never gave it my all.  I always let the other guy step up.  I hesitate to say that I could have done a better job than him, though. I never had much confidence. I could blame it on my upbringing but recently I have been reticent to play that card.

I don’t want to blame anyone anymore for how I behave. It is about time that I take responsibility for how I react to life’s ups and downs.

A coward is one who blames others for his mistakes.  A coward sits on the sidelines leaving others to do the hard work.   A coward doesn’t put in the effort or hard work, because of the off chance that it will not work out for him. A coward never really gives it his best…

A coward dies a thousand deaths, compared to someone with courage.  I could say that I feel bad for a coward, but I really don’t.  I can empathize and if asked, I would gladly offer hope and encouragement, but the path to courage is up to the individual himself.

So, here I am early 40’s and just acknowledging the depths of my cowardice.  It is frightening and exhilarating to face this deep personal defect.  I know I have the strength to persevere to permanently remove cowardice from my person, but there is always that nagging feeling that I might not be strong enough.

Well, I know I am strong enough to conquer this.  I have been on a path of self development for the past three years now.  I have conquered many demons, and I will conquer this one like all the rest.


Fear of failure is a fear of shame


I was reading an article lately about fearing failure. I think I have dealt with this the majority of my life. I have never been one to put myself out there.  I never saw the benefit equal or better than the cost of looking inept or stupid.

Recently, I have taken another deeper look at my fear of trying. What I discovered is something more telling about not only my fears but others as well. It was mentioned in an article that a fear of failure is essentially a fear of shame.   It is not that the person cannot cope with the feelings of disappointment, anger, or frustration, but that failing at something causes them to feel a deep sense of shame!

Shame has to be one of or the most powerful deterrents for stopping someone from trying.  Shame is insidious. It seeps into our souls, and infects our minds with deep, ephemeral feelings of fear, disgust, loathing.

Shame is something that will bend and break an individual’s soul, twisting it to and fro, with no mercy or pity.  I have dealt with shame for the better part of my life.   Shame of how incompetent I felt when performing new tasks.  Shame of my body, feeling like I did not meet the world’s standards.  Shame of my appearance.

The thing is, someone with deep shame, will never be successful. They will not be able to live a fulfilling life. They are destined to live a life of self imposed torment.  Living a life of mediocrity, never having the courage to raise their head and shoulders to meet the world’s gaze.   I don’t look down upon others that have shame in their hearts, I am empathetic to their plight.  I too have had shame burned into my soul for many years.

But, just because you have shame, does not give you the excuse not to fight the dark evil within you that is sucking the life-force out o your soul. And I believe you must fight.  Life is so damn precious and time passes so quickly, you owe it to yourself to stand and fight.  Seek help from a therapist, or counselor, do whatever you have to do to help relinquish the grip shame has on your heart.  It is well worth the effort.