Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fear or something like it

Fear is one of the unpleasant-er of emotions that every human being will face at some point in their life. More often than not, it will be at many points and not just one. Fear wears many different masks and presents itself in forms too numerable to mention in such a little space as this page. There can be a phobia of nearly anything, from seagulls to crayons, some are comparably trite while others can be virtually incapacitating.

Approximating near the top of the list of most common horrors are the fear of death (thantophobia), the fear of public speaking (glossophobia) and... the fear of failure. This particular phobia, known in phobic circles as Kakorrhaphiophobia (I dare you to try to say that ten times fast), is common in a society where success is the only option and failure is greeted with rebarbative looks and pitious attitudes.

Perhaps a smaller portion of the general public can relate to the antonym of the above mentioned disquietude: the fear of success. For some, this may seem an incredulous fear, so absurd in nature as to almost be unbelievable. I, however, have struggled with this very demon for near half of my 26 years. Once mentioned to those who are secure in their person and have no doubts as to their ability to succeed, this phobia receives looks well beyond rebarative. The dubiousness of actually being afraid of success renders many speechless.

Now, this reaction is understandable. It is nearly comparable to one being afraid of butternut squash or bamboo shoots. My fear is not fear in the sense of a repulsive reaction, such as one might have to spiders (shudder) or jellyfish (shriek!). It is more fear in the sense of being afraid of the disappointment that one might feel after longing desperately for something for so long, and upon acquiring said object would realize that it does not hold up to the expectation which was set. My fear of success can actually be directly related to this: being afraid of succeeding in something that I've wanted only to discover that the satisfaction held in that is lacking and temporal.

Nearly every emotion, whether positive or negative, is temporal. Whether it be joy or disappointment, "this too shall pass." There will come a time when the feeling, the internal sensation, whatever it may be, will be gone, although perhaps not permanently. When it comes to fears, per contra, they can be gripping. Fears can lay hold of someone and not let go for a lifetime. The fear of success is no exception to this.

However, succumbing to said trepidation can render one utterly stationary, immobilized and unwilling to step out in life outside the box of familiarity held so near and dear. The resulting life would be no life at all, but a waste of what could have been. Regrets are a terrible thing to have, and once your years have passed they are gone forever, beyond the reach of the time when you could have done something different.

This realization should force one to buckle up one's bootstraps and lift one's eyes to the horizon of possibilities and past the fear that tries to cloud the vision. The box of familiarity should be trampled and tossed aside, the path now cleared for a fearless adventure into the unknown regions of success... and also most likely some disappointments thrown in as well. The fear of success, for which I could find no phobic name, should be forgotten, removed entirely from one's consciousness as if it never existed. In doing so, one will be able to step out to that horizon and keep stepping, everyday until at last success is obtained. At that point, I should imagine that one would wonder why it took so long to realize that the fear was a mere hindrance, an annoyance with no real validity. And that, my friends, will be a very good day. A very good day indeed.


purity201 said...

i happened to find your blog and so far each post you have written as proved to anmazing and rather well thougth out blog. they have been very informative and intresting as well as funny to read. i am enjoying your view on things. thought you might like to know.

Cody S. said...

Interesting and truthful blag you have written here...I've gotta admit as well it reminded me of one of the more interesting thoughts that was presented to me recently. You know how I feel about post-secondary education as a whole, so be especially amazed when I say this. The individual who presented this to me was actually one of the only professors I've had in my educational "experience" worth his salt. or weight in gold. or salary. or whatever comparative term you choose to express something positive...but anyway - he pointed out a similiar thing as to that which you have, that there is such a distinct fear of failure, and moreso, scorn on those who fail. Especially in the business world (essentially the area the class deals in - business and organizational aspects of IT). But he was quick to point out that - interestingly enough - in most cases the only way we can improve is through failure. In the times where better decisions could be made, failure concretes that a better decision exists. Without it, you wouldn't know you goofed. So on and so forth. Anyway, not really directly related - but I find it interesting and thought it might be worth mentioning none the less. But great post (and math-error free :P )!

Ceidra said...

I think you might enjoy Lilith. I have Faith's copy if you want it.