Feel the fear and do it anyway: the key to living a life with no regrets. Image courtesy of Vlado at freedigitalphotos.net
For some people, myself included, it is a lot easier sometimes to say “I can’t” than “I can”. Sometimes, a negative mood pervades my consciousness, and doing so, pushes aside a positive and constructive mindset. At these times, it is much easier for me to think of why something won’t work than why it can.
Upon reflection, it has occurred to me that fear is at the root of this way of thinking: usually fear of rejection or fear of failure. For example, I might entertain a particular new career move that seems exciting. It would be constructive to think of all the reasons why it will work, for example by thinking of qualities I have that would help make this conquest a success.
Sometimes it seems that for many of us, our upbringings and our society feel designed so as make sure we ‘stay realistic’, meaning we try not to dream, or to be positive. Sometimes, we therefore have in our heads a favourite word: “but”.
For example, a lot of career opportunities involve being around people. They also involve inherently a risk of not doing as well as we would like, or not being right or achieving the degree of success we would like to in the position. Sometimes we are not even hired so we never get to give it a go.
I do believe objectively I am a shy and introverted person. I have also experienced painful rejections, which, although not personal, have hurt me profoundly at a deep level. Therefore, whenever I think of situations, such as social or job opportunities, from parties, to meeting a new person, to thinking of a job where I would need to interact with people, I immediately think of reasons I ‘can’t’.
Socially, as well as career-wise, I immediately jump to the conclusion that I am not good enough, or will be rejected by others.
There have been many people in my life who have accepted me. However, my mind usually casts to situations where I have been not approved of, at least in my mind.
However, I recently turned 39. Conscious of an ever more present sentience of the fact that 40 is not far away, and this is about the half-way point of my life, I feel a sense of a need to more urgently embrace my dreams. I never forecasted that this would occur with the knowledge that middle age would soon be upon me. I thought if anything, I may further limit in my mind what I wanted to do.
However, instead I felt a need not to live my life with any regrets. I did not want to reach the age of 85 and think ‘well I would have tried to be a music teacher/psychologist/Zumba instructor but I was scared I might not be successful. I never thought of all the reasons I would be great at doing any of these things.
The only safe pathway seemed to be to choose to live behind my computer and write: because at least I would not have to face my biggest fear: people. I know that I do love to write, and this is just part of the reason I write: however I need to examine the possibility that I am only doing what is ‘safe’.
Even though it does not come naturally for many of us, for whatever reason, to think of why we might succeed or not be rejected, (or succeed despite of rejection!), do you really want to live life not knowing that you never ever gave it a go anyway?
I eventually decided “%%Guess what. I might fail. People might not like me. I might not be competent.
Then again, just suppose they might? But one thing I do know. I am 39 years of age. I do NOT want to get to the age of 85 and think I was too chicken to try. So I AM JUST GOING TO DO IT. I AM GOING TO LIVE A LIFE OF NO REGRETS. %%. The only real failure is not trying.