Our entire lives we have been prepped for greatness, constantly striving to reach short term goals. We are told that we are capable of doing anything we set our minds to and that everything is possible if we try hard enough.
Nobody talks about failure. Not the kind of failure that a speaker at your high school graduation ceremony mentioned that is temporary, fleeting. The kind of failure that prevents us from reaching our goals, that sets into our decision making long-term.
In our formative years leading into our 20s we are told that we can have it all.
We literally spend years in school preparing for this incredible life we are supposed to have once we enter the real world. Magazines, blogs, celebrity news articles, media outlets tell us how we can have it all; the perfect body, friends, social life, relationship, education and job can be ours. Our brains are trained to expect the best of everything and when we can’t achieve perfect scores in every category we start to become overwhelmed.
In our 20s, or once we start to experience real life failure, fear begins to creep into our decision making. Instead of asking ourselves the best approach to a task, we also consider what could go wrong. Rather than go to a party because we want to be social, we go because we fear missing out.
A prime example is the existence of the phrase FOMO. It literally means fear of missing out. We aren’t doing things out of desire, bravery, passion or inspiration.
We are participating solely out of fear for the consequences.
You didn’t tell that cute guy at the party you liked him because you thought he was incredible, you made a move because you pictured him being with someone else. You didn’t get the fancy dress you wore to the party because you felt stellar in it, you bought it because it’s super trendy and you wanted to fit in. Acceptance and fear of rejection go hand in hand. If we put ourselves out there, there is a possibility of getting burned.
There are so many reasons we create in order not to do things- money, time, desire, laziness, you name it.
The most noticeable excuse for not doing something though is fear. Fear can be positive. It prevents you from forgetting about the ramen on the stove and burning your house down. Fear can be negative too.
Fear keeps us from doing things we want to do to in hopes of preventing pain, disappointment, rejection or failure.
Following our instincts, taking risks, and being courageous are all things we like to do ideally, but when it comes to putting words into action, sometimes we hit a wall. Sometimes the wall is due to our own self doubt. We create barriers and make things harder than they need to be in order to make reaching our goal an impossible feat. Other times the barriers are in place because of the people we surround ourselves with. They talk us out of doing things we want to do, make it harder or create problems.
Here’s the thing, the only one truly stopping you is YOU.
We can choose to listen to the people in our lives telling us what to or not to do. We can choose to ignore the voice in our heads encouraging fear and inaction. We can choose to take action and accomplish our goals. It may not be the case that any and everything is possible, but if you want something, chase after it. How will you know it’s possible until you try? Failure is only an option if you’ve tried and that’s a greater mark of success than apathetically not trying at all.
The next time a challenge or opportunity arises think about the potential for success, a good time or any positive outcomes, rather than what could go wrong. Just don’t be like this guy from “We’re The Millers” and use spell check.
You’ll be amazed how your outlook on life changes when you embrace your strengths and opportunities and ignore fear when it creeps in.