Fear and the Comfort Zone

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All of us have dreams.  Fame, fortune, family and more, all of us, in our private moments, imagine a better future for ourselves or those close to us.  Some of us take it a step further – we’re planners.  We concoct elaborate schemes, filling diaries and books with minute detail the script we desire for our lives and every step we’re going to take to get there.

And yet, we still do not succeed.  Weeks, months, years and decades pass and we are still no closer to your goals, our ambitions and hopes remaining unrealized.  Our earnestly made plans became cruel mockeries, taunting us each time we read them and the carefully crafted plans we put to paper. Why, we are ourselves can we not make this happen?  Where is our motivation? Why can we not reach beyond our inertia and claim our destiny for ourselves?

Then the excuses start.

  • “I’m too busy with work or study”.
  • “My family needs me, I need to focus everything on them”
  • “I’ll get started after Christmas when I’ve more time”
  • “I need to wait for the economy to pick up”

We’ve heard these and more from students who’ve purchased courses in the past (You know who you are).  But sometimes what we don’t hear is more important than what we do.  And often, when we investigate why a student hasn’t made progress on their course we find something that might seem unexpected – the student is privately scared and controlled by fear.

The Root of All Fears

Fear as an insidious emotion.  It can rob someone of the strength of their convictions and cause them to abandon even their most well laid plans.  And yet, it’s often quite hidden when it shows itself.  One of the biggest fears is that of change – of what will happen to our lives.  Without really thinking about it, we become comfortable in the status quo of our lives even though we may wish for better for ourselves. 

More worryingly, even as things get worse in our daily existence we find ourselves clinging to our daily routines and habits as some sort of comfort in our lives.   We stay in jobs and careers even when our hours are reduced and our bosses aren’t looking out for our interests even though it makes us sad and depressed.  And every day we concoct our excuses as to why we stay in our current place. 

Getting Over Your Reluctance

Opening the door to a new future by taking a course or trying for a new career is always going to be a daunting prospect.  There is always some inherent risk involved in any change.  However, fear is a human survival instinct, not a portent of doom.  Thousands of year ago, a healthy dose of fear kept our ancestors from being eaten by tigers.  The tigers may be gone (sadly), but the fear remains. 

Feeling afraid at the potential for change is normal, and the first step to making progress is realizing this.  You are moving out of your comfort zone.  This is something you need to do to grow and adapt as a human being.  Remember that every skill you have, no matter how small was learned.  You were not born knowing how to talk, read, write or even feed and dress yourself.  And yet, today you can do far more than you ever could.

Feeling the fear is normal.  You’re going to feel it.  The most important thing is to recognize that fear is at the root of your excuses. Then you can properly examine it, see why you are afraid and then properly confront and overcome it.  

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