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Fear as a Factor

Why are we so change averse?

This was a question that was put to the persons in a class I had earlier this week. The whole discussion surrounding the question was based on the world being this interconnected village prone to change and uncertainty. The whole point really was to cement the fact that those resilient to it (i.e. change) will just have to make a decision; get with it or get left behind.

Then the question was asked. Why are we so afraid of change ? The answer was in the question itself- FEAR

For me, fear is absolutely crippling. It literally holds me hostage, even in random situations – from being in a room with strangers to attending a meeting that could possibly change my life – it’s always there. Now this is where the problem arises. In situations such as those I’ve mentioned just now, I’m hindered from gaining the full experience that each situation would have warranted me. Consequently posing a threat to my overall personal growth. Because I mean if I’m going to be fearful for the remainder of my days then I might as well turn in the cape and become a full-time hermit. Which to be honest, is a less than appealing option.

So there are different types of fear that were highlighted, two of which I could appreciate because I related to it on a deep spiritual level: fear of failure and fear of success.


I know this all too well. It has been a roadblock in my life for the past few years and it is something that I continuously try to handle. It varies of course,  and exists on a spectrum which goes from something like maintaining a conversation to applying for a job. Fear of failure in simple social exchanges is a common thing for me because in my head the range of bad end results are endless. There are really so many things that can go wrong. And of course I have  enactments of all the possible ways the scenario could turn out. Most times none of the outcomes are ones that I’d like… So what do I do? Well I avoid the situation all together. I mean if I take myself out of that entire equation then there really isn’t any reason to be afraid right ? But how does failure come in exactly ? Well that’s just it. There is always the thought in my head that I will fail to strike up an interesting enough conversation, fail to maintain it and unwittingly say something extremely naive or stupid which is just going to lead into embarrassment of some sort. On the issue of a job well that’s pretty straight forward isn’t it ? You can’t get rejected for something if you don’t try right ? And sometimes it goes even deeper than that. What if I actually get it and then suck ? I really don’t want to be seen as that incompetent person which is furthest from the truth. Its a thought that surfaces ever so often … but it is the wrong kind.


Really child, how could you possibly be afraid of something as rewarding as success? But I think it’s a common thing for a lot of persons. Success means a lot of responsibility , on going and constant. A lot of persons aren’t ready for that so they settle for average and even mediocre. Furthermore persons think that success will mean them changing. We have been predisposed to prescribe certain characteristics to persons  who are successful some of which aren’t really enticing. I’m sure we all have a story or a few about someone who became successful and ‘forgot where they came from’ or didn’t help those who helped them along the way or have just become manipulative. You guys know the stereotype. In other cases you just can’t see yourself in that capacity because of some notion of who you are, your living situations, anything really that makes you think you’re not worthy of it.

For me, the experience has nothing to do with anything I just mentioned. I’m just really scared I’ll be a disappointment to not only persons who expect better from me but myself. I’ve never been afraid of responsibility, I’ve never had the slightest thought that I’d somehow turn into a monster nor do I see myself unworthy in any way. I’m just afraid of being disappointing and disappointed which really has a lot to do with what I think I’m capable of and if I’m confident in my capabilities why should I be afraid of success. Why should you? It’s all in my head and yours.

Now, reading along you must see how self destructive these tendencies can be . Come on, what could I possibly hope to achieve from literally doing nothing just because I’m scared. And I’ve realized that. For the most part  I think I handle it well because I do get things done regardless of the discomfort that I may experience because of fear. I try my best to live through the situation and then think about it after. Really just do it and live to cringe another day. There is literally nothing to be achieved from being afraid; neither joy nor accomplishment. In fact all it does is support inaction and a sense of false security.

So all in all, this is a friendly reminder to limit the reigns on fear on whatever sphere of your life that it may affect. Always act. And in paraphrasing some dead guy’s words of wisdom, “act in spite of fear, doubt, worry or discomfort”.

P.S. Feel free to comment and share how you’ve experienced fear and ways you use to cope or any words of advice for someone who might come across it.


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