Fear. It’s one of the basic primal urges that drive us every day. Mating, eating, and being afraid. These are the basic, animal instincts that drive us at our most base level. Sure, we may dress them up in pretty picture, using marketable phrases and societal urges. At a basic level, though, we are driven by the urge to make babies, eat food, and not get killed by things more dangerous than us.
The funny thing about fear is that it can manifest in many different ways. For instance: frequently I have a hard time seeing a project through to completion. I start lots of big projects, with all kinds of cool plans and ideas, but I have a hard time closing them out. Why? Fear.
It’s easy to start a new thing, for me. Everything is shiny, hopeful, and theoretical. The project can run based on just the raw energy you get from the excitement of a new project. Then it gets down to the nitty-gritty, when the honeymoon phase is over, and you have to really put your head down and get determined. I’m usually okay up until the final half of the creation phase. That’s when the fear kicks in.
What am I afraid of, you may ask? Well, failure. Until the project I’m working on is complete, it is immune from judgement in my eyes. It doesn’t have to fly, or stand on its own two feet, or prove anything. It’s all just theory and predictions. But when it gets down to completion time, all of a sudden the product, or device, or idea I was working on needs to work. This is scary to me, because I find myself suddenly doubting whether or not the quality of my planning and effort were enough. More often than not, I used to just stop working on things at this point, and migrate on to something new, never really completing what I started originally.
The funny thing is, for a long time, I didn’t even realize it was fear holding me back. I thought I was being a shrewd businessman, or a realistically critical artist. I would reason away that the thing I was working on wasn’t that good an idea, and it was good that I had gotten the proof of concept far enough to realize that and stop, before I wasted more time on it. What I didn’t realize, is that I was wasting years of time on a whole bunch of half-completed projects that I worked my ass off on, without anything to show for years of hard work.
You are almost always too critical of your own work. You should always get others opinions. If you’re working on something, be it financial, artistic, or even the reshaping of your own body, don’t be like the old me, and quit as soon as you could see the finish line. Face your fear of failure, because you need to fail. Seriously, look at every major inventor, mover, shaker, or paragon of history. Every single one of them had many more failures than they did successes.
It’s only by failing, and then trying again, and failing, and then trying again, that you really get to see results. Sticking your neck out there might be scary, specifically because you might fail. You may not stick to that new fitness and diet lifestyle you want, at least not right off the bat. Maybe your first book or painting won’t be critically acclaimed. Perhaps that cute boy or girl you want to ask out may turn you down. But all of these are maybes. If you don’t see it through to the end, and face your fear of failure, you will never achieve any of your goals.
Personally, I’ll take some success along with the failure, rather than no success at all.
That’s all for today, thanks for reading! Tomorrow is a new character breakdown, with Faith from Mirror’s Edge!
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Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace