What do you want to do but are too scared to do?
Some might say "talking to girls," while others would say, "telling my mom I don't want to major in chemistry", or perhaps you want to say "opting out of college".
What is it for you?
And what about it scares the bejeezus out of you?
One of my greatest fears used to be looking like an idiot in front of everybody.
Even so, I would put myself in these positions:
- I asked a girl to junior prom by rapping in front of my entire English class.
- I performed a speech in front of 300+ people for four years for a student government position.
- I tried and failed to come up with witty answers to team ice-breakers.
After putting myself into these situations where looking like an idiot was really easy, I learned that I did look like an idiot sometimes. I stumbled around my words. My hands got sweaty whenever I did those hand-holding ice-breakers.
But the more I "embarrassed" myself, the more I realized how much it didn't matter.
All of the fears I created in my head were self-made. I was so narcissistic to believe that everybody was always paying attention to me and focusing on how dumb I looked.
I didn't realize that everyone else was going through the same game.
No one really cares about you to the detail you think they are. They're so focused on themselves, that they really don't care what you're doing.
Realizing this makes the fear of social consequences become irrational.
But other types of fear can do so many harmful things.
1.) Fear prevents you from saying what you truly feel.
People who promote political correctness are usually empathetic people. I think that the movement started from humble intentions, but ultimately, the result of PC culture is fear.
What does PC culture do?
In short, PC culture causes fear of being honest.
It stops you from saying controversial things because of "hate speech". It stops you from wanting to converse with strangers for fear of "offending or triggering" them. It stops you from getting to the root of any problem -- and instead promotes dancing around the issue so that you don't hurt anyone's feelings.
2.) Fear stops you from pursuing your dreams.
College students who don't belong in college are scared of telling their parents.
To the writers, directors, entrepreneurs, marketers, authors, tradesmen, philosophers, who were told that college is the only way to make your dreams come true -- I urge you to reevaluate your fear especially if you don't like where you're at.
The colleges and your parents have warped societies perception to be that college is the safe route.
What if the safe route was following your dreams?
What if instead of spending $200,000 on a degree, you spent it on some DSLRs, books, online classes, seminars, professional meetups, travel, private acting lessons, etc?
What if instead of spending 4 years of your life working towards something you're lukewarm about, you spent your time apprenticing for a company, or doing things that mattered to you? You could still have a job and do the things that make you come alive on the side. But you wouldn't be encumbered with midterms or finals, or Greek life drama BS.
Why don't we do this?
The fear of socio-economic status, being a failure, and embarrassing ourselves.
These fears take a nasty hold on us, especially because all of our life, everyone's been telling us to go to college. We've never had that example of someone close to us who did what she wanted and laid out the path for us to follow.
3.) Fear makes you blind to the possibility of something greater.
I was having a conversation with a friend who is pursuing his Masters in Chemistry. He told me about how an Uber driver was spouting a theory about how they could create some chemical impossibility. The theory is promoted by a group that is considered "fringe" and unscientific by the "scientific" community.
He said the theory seemed largely unlikely to be true, but why not just entertain the idea?
People thought Einstein was a lunatic before people started worshiping the man.
The fear of being wrong and maintaining the status quo is a common. You see it in academic circles such as the chemistry, as well as in political speeches, and family arguments too. People hold on to this pride of being right, even though they know they may be wrong.
I think we tend to overemphasize most, if not all, of the fears we have.
Most are unfounded.
Why these fears don't work for me anymore:
- Fear of being a loser and starving to death -- there's no way I wouldn't lean on the relationships I've spent years cultivating to get me through a tough time in my life; I have enough grit to find a minimum wage job within a month if need be
- Fear of working minimum wage all my life -- there's no way I would let that happen, because I trust myself to be a self-learner and acquire new skills my whole life
- Fear of disappointing my family -- luckily, I believe in the strength of family where even if I mess up really badly, they will always be there for me... so I have a strong conviction to my actions
- Fear of failing -- there is no failure in real life, only in school
- Fear of verbal backlash -- I know there's always a community of people who will have my side
There's many more fears I could talk about, but I just wanted to give you an idea.
Fear isn't a bad thing. It really just helps us learn about ourselves.
Understanding our fears leads to our freedom.
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Are there any fears you once believed that you realized were silly? Let me know in the comments below, or email me at evanduyLe@gmail.com.