Fear….of Failure

Fear: To be in reverential awe of. (Source: Miriam-Webster)

I talk to a cricle of my closest friends about my future plans.  Where I expect to be when it is all said and done.  They look at each other slowly and then begin to laugh.  The idea of where I would end up compared to where I started and where I am now is so farfetched to them that they think I am joking.  I couldn’t possibly be serious.  Then they realize that I am the only one not laughing.  They slowly bring the laughing to a halt and ask me questions about why in the world I would want to set my self up for failure.  They give me what I view to be backhanded compliments such as, “I am sure you will do great but I don’t think there is anyway you can make it that far.”  Then another of my friends will stop them all and say, “just let him thinks what he wants, he will see.”  I always wake up around this point. 

I am haunted by this self doubt that manifests itself in my dreams.  It is a recreation of a much less dramatic situation when I told one of my few close friends about my future dreams.  My one future dream that I have told very few people.  Due to my well established history as a jokester he thought I was joking when I told him my dream.  Obviously his laughs still bother me. 

Since then I have yet to tell anyone else.  I have been reading Sonya Sotomayor’s book and in it she talks about sharing your wildest dreams with others.  She advises against it.  My interpretation of her reasoning is that people will go out of way to bring you back to the norm or bring you back to average.  Outliers in either direction make people uncomfortable at times and even without really meaning to they tend bring people to a level that they feel comfortable with.

Comfort is the opiate of the masses in my opinon.  The aversion of fear.  It is what will keep the highly intelligent at dead end jobs that don’t fully take advantage of their skills and potential.  They are making enough to support their family pay check to pay check and to want more would illicit ideas of greed instead of ambition in most. 

I’ve grown to change my opinon on fear and comfort of the last couple of years.  I used to think a person had to be fearless.  He should never feel that feeling in any sense.  That is what made a man a man.  But now I understand that the only time a man is without fear is when he has become to comfortable with his surroundings and refuses to strive for improvements in his life and the lives of the people around him.  Because when you strive for improvement their is always a huge risk of failure and if you do not fear failure you will not do the diligent work necessary to prevent against it.

Fear is the most necessary feeling to a man besides love.  If you do not fear then you are not striving for something that you are in “reverential awe” of according to the defenition provided by Miriam-Webster.  And if you are not striving for something that great then what is the point of living.  Why else would we or should we be here.  If not to advanced towards the incredible.

The most difficult thing about fear is no matter what kind of case I can make in favor of fear we will always will be strongly be fear adverse.  The “fight or flight” instincts given to us through years of conditioning is hard to resist.  That is what made the greatest great, Dr. King didn’t “fight or flight” when it came to his fears of failure in the civil rights movement.  He chose to live in his fears and work with the people and situations that he had always feared.  It is so simple and yet so difficult.  Just like many things in life.  The beautiful simplistic complexity of how to handle fear is very much a microcosm of the world we live in.  So many can understand the concepts but very few can actually execute them.  I hope one day to be among those few.


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