Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Root of Fear and How to Defeat It

There are lots of things to be scared about in life. Giant robots, clowns, chainsaw monsters, being homeless, death, scary old rich people who don't care about other people - there's lots to be scared about. There are even giant plant/boar/fungus/frog hybrid nightmare beasts to worry about. But really, all our fears, at a very basic level, all boil down to one single fear.

This fear is what paralyzes us when we should be taking action. It keeps us awake at night worrying, it prevents us from leaving our day job. It seeps out from a deep, primal part of our brain and often times, we don't even know it. It is a fear so deeply ingrained in our mind that unless you're specifically aware of it and looking out for it, it'll operate stealthily, right under the plane of consciousness like some evil fear ninja assassinating your success.

It is the fear of being inadequate. It is the fear of not being "enough."

When we're afraid of monsters, we're afraid that we won't be strong enough to defeat them. When we're afraid of losing our jobs, we're afraid that we won't be able to find another one. When we're afraid of being abandoned, we're afraid that no one else will save us and love us. When we're afraid of people not liking us, we're afraid that no one else will. When we're afraid of asking for help, we're really afraid that no one will.

Pretty much every fear stems from this fear of inadequacy. While we may feel competent and skilled and awesome in some aspects of our life, if we're afraid of anything (which we all are), it stems from the fear of not being adequate. This fear is strongest because it is so hardwired into our head. Ever since we've been alive, we've seen other people not be enough. We've seen the hero die in horror movies, not strong enough to combat the ancient evil. We've seen business close down and people lose their homes. We've seen homeless people on the street, drug addicts on the corner, people who hate their jobs but are seemingly stuck there. We've seen people fail tests, people get kicked out of school, people who our parents talked patronizingly about or with pity. All our lives, we've seen people being punished for failing.

Because with our hyper-competitive world, there is one winner and a bunch of losers. One person takes home the grand prize, no one else does. You win the gold, or you don't. You get into the school of you dreams, or you don't. Even then, you graduate as valedictorian, or you don't. We have been conditioned from extremely young ages to believe that you are either the best or you're nothing. It's an all-or-nothing binary world that we're told we live in. We get encouraging pats on the head when we come in second, but everyone knows that it's still not first.

However, fuck all of that.

You see, your binary world is baloney. Being second place is still awesome, and failure isn't something to be ashamed of. Failing is an opportunity to learn and grow so you can come back even stronger the next time. There are millions of grand prizes out there, and truly winning is figuring out that your competition is yours alone, and really the only person playing against you is yourself. You are your biggest adversary, but you are also your biggest trump card.

You see, you are way more crazy amazing than you think you are. I can already hear you thinking "well, I'm not really that great." NO. Turn off the inner voices, shut up your parents and teachers and peers, and listen for a second.

You. Are. Amazing.

YOU (not that other person, you). Are. Amazing.

If you have read this far, it's because you're interested in whatever you are afraid of. If you're interested in what you're afraid of, it is because you want to crush that fear and move past it. If you want to crush your fear and move past it, it is because you want to change and that, dear reader, shows that you are already above and beyond most people. Most people don't care about fear, as they live by it. They are too scared and too paralyzed to even search for a way to defeat it. By showing the slightest inclination to defeating your fear, you're taking the first step to conquering it, and gosh damn that's a pretty amazing thing to do.

You have the capacity to do something amazing, and its only fear that is holding you back. Think about all the projects you'd do, or the places you'd see, or the freedom you'd feel if you could just get past that fear and doubt that you can't do it. You CAN do it.

Marshall your resources. Ask friends and family for help. Create action plans, think things out. Do your research. Start taking baby steps and you can do whatever your mind can conceive of. It might not happen as fast as you want it (Monkey wanted to be a billionaire yesterday, but that didn't happen), but if you constantly keep taking action and keep on moving forward, you will make it. I guarantee it. The only way to truly lose in life is to give up and let the fear lead your life. Just remember: you are more than adequate, you are amazing.