Maybe it’s not necessarily the hard work that scares us. Somewhere in our lives, we did the necessary hard work to get where we are today.
We did sports as kids growing up, got great grades in school, endured college challenges, prepared for employment, raised families and built relationships. Depending on our life circumstances, we may have done several or all of those things. And each one required hard work, dedication and at some point, embracing fear of the unknown.
Just maybe, what truly scares the heck out of us is that we possibly may become successful. Fear of failure haunts us all like a small child afraid to go into a dark room not knowing what we may find.
It’s real, I get it. Are we looking for a guarantee? What if all the necessary hard work we decide to take on doesn’t pay off. What if we don’t get the girl, we don’t get the promotion, our business fails, we don’t make the team, we don’t finish in the top five in our age group in our race. We can ‘what if’ ourselves half to death.
Bob McDonnell, a founding member of the Society for American Baseball Research, summed it up well with this question. “Are we a nation of guarantees or are we a nation of opportunities to achieve the American Dream?” That American Dream can be whatever we deem it to be.
Jason Silva, a media artist, philosopher, keynote speaker, television personality and producer of amazing short and impactful YouTube videos nailed it precisely when he produced If We Can Live Without Fear, We Win.
Courage & Conviction
We fear our own greatness. What we glimpse in our most perfect moments hints at what we might become. And it’s as if we lack the courage to take that chance.
We lack the conviction to become who we might be. Yet anyone who has ever achieved anything worthwhile has stepped so radically outside their shell – their comfort zone – that we cannot help but bow in reverence.
But why don’t we take their example and apply it in our own lives? Why don’t we realize that the path to transcendence is to shed our old skin?
Embracing Fear & Change
You know, I have seen this in myself. I feel like my disposition is timid. I feel like I’ve dealt with the constraints of excessive self-consciousness, fear and angst, and yet in my most perfect moments, I’ve moved beyond my shell. I’ve tapped into something – cliché as it might sound – larger than myself.
When this happens, your greatest work emerges. You are willing to be surprised and then you think, ‘Wow, maybe I don’t have to be scared all the time. Maybe everything is going to be OK. Maybe my hyper-vigilance is uncalled for here.’
As Silva says so eloquently, “If we could only live without fear. God, I don’t know. If we could live without fear, then man, we’ve won.”