“It is your destiny so to move your wand, / To wake up storms, to run through the heart of storms, / To lay bare a monument like a nest in a thicket, / Though all you wanted was to pluck a few roses.”
This quote has done wonders to my mind and the way I perceive my life, and that too in so many ways.
Nobody likes struggles or to face storms and end up fighting giant dragons. We all want comfort, settlement, roses in a big garden… but then again, where is the fun in that? Where is the reward in that?
Last night, I went for dinner with my dear friend and we engaged in some inspiring conversations. One of the conversations primarily revolved around the notion of fear and how crippling it can be for most of us.
Fear is an intriguing phenomenon. It starts as a tiny, little blob in our mind, however, before we know it, it transforms itself into a giant hurricane and sweeps through every inspiration, motivation, love, intrigue, wonder, and wipes away it all; and it does that without us even realizing before it is too late. In fact, most of us don’t even feel it come and leave. We just accept it unknowingly and let it steer the wheels of our lives.
When we are children we are truly fearless. I remember climbing up my neighbours’ trees, stealing the fruits and running away giggling before someone caught me. Now, I am afraid of even the thought of climbing a tree or of the thought of getting caught doing something so silly. Okay, well, disclaimer, I am not afraid of doing so because I strived to maintain the child within me, but for many of us that is the case if you cease to fight to keep alive that spirit within us.
We are born fearless and with no shame of failing. However, over time we learn that failure is bad, it is something we need to be afraid of and be shamed of if we face it. This is probably one of the worst manifestations of our society and the one that needs to be eliminated. Fear can take so many forms that it can most times be seen as something cautionary rather than crippling.
The worst form of fear, in my opinion at least, is the fear of struggling and of failing as a result. Most of us tend to settle down and take the easy way out; or as they all say, to take the road that has the highest probability of success. Such roads though, do not always yield the best results either.
For many of us, we are afraid of the uncertainty that comes with the struggle. The uncertainty of whether or not you will, in fact, achieve what you’re struggling for, the uncertainty of whether or not you’ll find what you’re looking for, the uncertainty of whether or not you’ll be happy after it’s all said and done. That uncertainty, almost always, pushes us to take the shorter, easier path so at least even if you fail or aren’t as happy, at least you can tell yourself you didn’t have to give up all that much for it. But boy, are we wrong! We, in fact, end up giving up far more than we think.
I believe, it is our duty to take up uncertainty head on. To use fear as a weapon instead of allowing it to poison us instead. For you see, fear is in fact necessary to succeed. As Elizabeth Gilbert mentioned in her latest work, Big Magic, that fear is important for us and therefore should never be completely eliminated from our lives. Think about it, if we had no fear we would perform reckless acts that would yield deadly results. For instance, if you have no fear whatsoever, you would probably not be afraid of jumping off a cliff and probably end up dying. Therefore, you need to be more brave than fearless. For being brave means you are still afraid, you are aware of the worst outcomes, but you’re still willing to go for it by taking precautionary measures to be successful.
Thus, in order to fulfill ones journey to its utmost potential, we should be brave and face uncertainties head-on. It doesn’t matter what outcomes we face in the end, what matters is we tried and we damn did we try. As Don Miguel said in his works, our utmost duty to ourselves should be to do our best and leave it at that. Therefore, we should embrace the fact that we need to strive for the best, we owe it to ourselves to struggle for the best outcomes, and even if we fail, it is okay because we know we tried our best and find peace in that itself.
If we don’t struggle, if we don’t fight for ourselves, and settle for mediocrity we will never truly know what true happiness or content feels like. Because deep down, we’ll always know that we let ourselves down, we didn’t fight for ourselves, and therefore, we lost and failed. You see the pattern here? If we are truly afraid of failure, then we should in fact give our best and struggle to achieve our dreams because if we don’t, we will end up with results we won’t be proud of and that ultimately will transform itself into the biggest failure of our lives.