The One Fear That We All Share

Jul 12, 2019

3 minutes

I’m a self-help nerd … maybe even a junkie (which you might have noticed from the book reviews).

I’m enamored with white space; with spending time letting my mind wander + thinking of all there is and could be, though not the best at taking action when it’s related to myself or my business.

I read, I explore, I experiment – but I rarely share.

Some say it’s because I’m an introvert, or an Enneagram 5, or an INFJ. And maybe they’re right.

Or maybe it’s something bigger – something you and I both experience: the fear of being fully alive.

The fear of being our true, unhindered, unconstrained selves.

I experience this sensation of “being fully alive” when I’m “in the flow” – when I’m completely in the moment, experiencing only what is happening in front of me.

Many of us have experienced this during creative or professional pursuits, but it can also happen during conversations, time in nature, or any moment when being sad about the past and/or scared about the future is the furthest thing from your mind.

The book I’m currently reading is about the good and the bad of seeking + following your passion (something the online world LOVES to push) (and yes, you can expect a review soon).

Seeking something that you enjoy doing so much that you lose track of time, when you find that sensation of being fully alive – it’s part of your biology to seek that.

Even though we seek it, we fear it at the same time. It’s called the Jonah complex.

“… the fear of success or the fear of being one’s best which prevents self-actualization, or the realization of one’s own potential. It is the fear of one’s own greatness, the evasion of one’s destiny, or the avoidance of exercising one’s talents. As the fear of achieving a personal worst may serve to motivate personal growth, likewise the fear of achieving a personal best may hinder achievement.”

I inherently stand in my own way. It’s been that way since I can remember having thoughts.

It’s where my long-time suffering from depression and anxiety originated. I’ve been to counseling. I’ve been on medication. I’ve gone off medication. I’ve eaten too much. I’ve lied too much. I’ve drunk too much. I’ve turned away from growth opportunities … all because of fear.

Fear that I might fail, of course, but even more so – in the back of my mind – fear that I might succeed.

What if I shared fully, even as a work-in-progress?

What if I tried fully, knowing that failure is an option, but never a final destination?

What if I loved fully, being more vulnerable with another person than I ever have before?

What if?

My entire life has been driven forward – and stopped abruptly – by the pondering of “what if?”.

Lately, many things have caused me to reflect on my 15 years as an entrepreneur. Ultimately, there have been a few consistent threads.

Fear. Experimentation. Inner Growth.

I have learned more from failing that I ever believe I could have from experiencing “easy” success.

The most important thing I’ve learned the past 15 years is how to turn toward my self-imposed blocks, instead of away from them; to approach what is holding me back with a massive dose of curiosity, instead of fear.

“What if?” now has a best friend – “Why?”

The answers rarely come right away, but I keep asking Why. The Why questions live in the back of my mind. I meditate on them. I exercise with them. I journal about them. The one thing that’s never worked? Trying to force an answer.

So what is it that’s keeping you from being fully alive?

Me? I think it will take a lifetime to answer that question, but in the past 15 years, I’ve been fitting together a lot of pieces to that puzzle.

I hope you experience curiosity more often than fear, no matter how long that takes.

[This post was inspired The Fear of Being Fully Alive by Jason Silva]

Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

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