Posts Tagged 'wallflower'

Fear of Fear

fear of fearMost of the things we avoid are avoided because we’re afraid of being afraid.

The negative outcomes that could actually occur due to speaking up in class, caring about our work product, interacting with the boss – there’s not a lot of measurable risk. But the fear… the fear can be debilitating, or at the very least, distasteful. So it’s easier to just avoid it altogether. We avoid the feeling of fear.

On the other hand, artists and leaders seek out that feeling. They push themselves to the edge, to the place where the fear lives. By feeling it, by exposing themselves to the resistance, they become more alive and do work that they’re most proud of.

It usually looks higher from up there. When we find ourselves on the edge of a precipice, looking down at the depths of the chasm below, it’s easy to think that our plan is far too risky, or our behavior too weird.

The funny thing about perspective is that most bystanders don’t see you standing on a precipice at all. They see someone doing something a little risky, or even questionable, but by no means off-the-grid nuts. You’re far more likely to go not-far-enough than you are to go too far, especially if you tend to find yourself worrying over what others think.

Internal monologue amplifies personal drama. To the outsider, neither exists. That’s why our ledge-walking rarely attracts a crowd. What’s in your head is real to you, no doubt about it, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us can see the resistance you are battling. And most don’t care about it.

How deep is the water? If it’s over your head, does it really matter?

At some point, when the stakes are high enough, you will swim. And when you swim, who cares how deep the water is?

How much does it cost you to avoid the feeling of risk? Not actual risk, but the feeling that you’re at risk? What are you missing out on? Feeling risk is very different than actually putting yourself at risk. Over time, we’ve created a cultural taboo about feeling certain kinds of risk, and all that insulation from what the real world requires is getting quite expensive. It’s easy to pretend that indulging in the avoidance of the feeling of risk is free and unavoidable. It’s neither.

The fear doesn’t care, either way. The choice is to spend our time avoiding that fear or embracing it.

 

Half the World

Half the world wants to be the other half.

Think versus Do

The sometimes crippling weight of leading versus the powerlessness of following

The desire for popularity versus the difficulty navigating the superficial

The boredom of this career versus the risk of that one

The lack of recognition of the engineer versus the lack of respect of the salesman

The danger and chaos of the city versus the boredom and closed mindedness of the country

The loneliness of the wallflower versus the emptiness of the extrovert

The burden of being self-aware versus the random and frustrating outcomes for the clueless

Here versus There

We struggle because in most cases we got “here” in part through a series of semi-random occurrences: luck, or fate if you believe in that. Even the things we thought through and decided to do or change were based on limited information. We’re very well aware of what OUR difficulties are. We don’t know what it’s really like to live in that alternate universe of being the other way. We tease ourselves with little fantasies about it. We sometimes even take actions to try it out. We rarely commit. We can act in another capacity for a time, but we are who we are, and most of us who are “sane” believe we aren’t going to fundamentally change that.

Better get on with it and be.



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