Human beings are inherently fearful, and that’s not news or even the problem.
We need fear – or at least the knowledge of it – to tell us when to be cautious and careful, to tell us when we are close to disaster and to keep us safe another day.
The problem is that we let it paralyze us from achievement and happiness.
This is how fear f@#$% your life over…
Ben was a university student and an aspiring screenwriter.
He was the creative type and his passion, love & life was to have a career writing screenplays for Hollywood.
After spending time & effort working on a screenplay for a Stephen King novel, he had connected with King’s manager and his writing was met with great interest.
In fact, Stephen King himself was willing to meet up and discuss the possibilities.
The date and time was set.
Ben was on his way.
His future was looking pretty glamorous. His career was beginning like a dream come true. The possibilities for building his credibility and success were easily in his hands. Anyone in the business would kill to be in his position.
All he had to do was show up…
You’re going to hate this part.
I wish that I could tell you where Ben is today and what he is doing.
My hope is that he’s still writing, still creating, enjoying every moment of it and getting paid in the process.
My hopes are akin to his, for success, self-expression and satisfaction.
But the truth is that I don’t know where Ben is or what he is doing anymore.
And sadly, that probably means that my hopes for Ben are false ones.
What Ben did (or didn’t do…)
He never showed.
He called and cancelled outright within days of the meeting.
He didn’t try to reschedule – he didn’t call back later to reconnect.
At the cusp of Ben’s talented potential becoming a reality – he crapped out.
WHY You Will Die Of Fear – Most of You…
Most of us can relate with Ben’s situation – even though I’m sure we can all agree that his final decision was a bonehead move.
Taking that step towards success and happiness is a fearful thing to all of us, and not only in our careers but our overall lives.
Otherwise we would tell our loved ones how much they mean to us everyday.
There are too many things that we’re afraid of.
Rejection. Loss. Acceptance(Really). Fraud. Vulnerability. Apathy. Greed. Envy. Responsibility. Humiliation.
The real reason that it is so scary is that most of us don’t believe we deserve to be happy.
And that is the single major factor, before anything else – that determines if we will reach our goals and dreams.
So we stay safe in our mediocre 9-5’s that make us feel like we are wasting our potential, we keep emotional distance from our friends and family, we keep the best of ourselves hidden so that we won’t be excluded or thought of as weird.
It also appeals to our craving to be accepted, which ironically enough is also inherently human.
Luckily, if we use it right, that craving can also be our salvation.
You want acceptance in what you do and who you are.
But not from just anyone.
From the right people and the right groups. But by what definition are the right people/groups?
How will you know if they truly accept you if you aren’t truly you?
Are you asking how you will accept them if they are truly not the type of people you want to be associated with?
Or better yet, how many opportunities will you miss out in life if you pretend to be something else and hide who you really are?
What’s true of Ben?
He was creative. He was a writer. He enjoyed writing screenplays. He was good at it. He wanted a career in it.
All of these are Ben in his truest nature – nothing held back.
But in the end, he doesn’t believe it and therefore he doesn’t believe he deserves any of it.
If he had stayed true to himself, he would have went to the meeting. He would have started a working relationship with a successful and fellow writer, Stephen King, discussed creative alterations to the screenplay, compensation, future meetings, revisions and possibly future projects.
He would have continued to feed his creative need for writing, and augmented it with access to a buffet of other creative artists in their own right.
But Ben stopped being honest with himself. He stopped believing that he deserved happiness, success & stopped believing in his own talents.
The funny thing is…
I know for a fact that Ben, like everyone in this similar situation, still desires the dream.
We still want to succeed, to work on our passions, to make a name for ourselves, to tell others what we think and how we feel.
We still want to achieve and express.
But until we start to believe and accept that we deserve everything that comes with it, we never will.
Again, it’s too frightening.
At least until our fear is turned around, accepted and used positively as a compass to direct us to what really matters in our lives.
That’s the choice, and even though it seems a no brainer to read here, it is very different to experience it and make it happen in real life.
And that’s why you will die of fear (well, most of you…)
The Point (finally…)
So do you really believe you deserve the success you dream of?
Do you really believe that being rejected for who you are is better than being accepted for what you aren’t?
Do you really believe that the people/groups that you wish to be accepted by may possibly not be the type of people/groups that you would accept?
Or are you Ben?
And if so, which one?