Well it has been awhile since my last post.

Been doing some reflecting lately. Where I am at in my life. Stuff that is going on etc, etc.

I have long known that I have spent a lot of my life in fear.

Fear of failure. Fear of not being accepted. Fear of rejection.

I went to my girlfriend’s 20th high school reunion on the weekend. I went to the same high school but am a few years older. I did recognize a few people.

Whoever came up with the concept of reunions should be questioned.

A lot of people are wonderfully successful and kudos to them. They have accomplished things.

Me Not so much. Here I am in my smallish home town working at the local factory. Years ago it was considered a good place to have a job. This is not the case now for whatever reason.

The other day I was spoken to about using a green marker on the white board instead of a black one.

Yes you read that correctly.

This is why my boss makes 65000.00$ a year I guess.

I don’t mind hard work. In fact I rather enjoy it.

But this is not the path I saw for myself.

So it forces oneself to reflect on how this came to be.

And for me I think the answer is fear.

I am afraid to try anything new. I am afraid to apply for jobs. I am afraid to take risks.

This is not a very good way to live your life.

So what can be done about it?

How can a person get over fear?

I would like to do something that makes a difference. I want a sense of accomplishment.

I am not looking for riches. I don’t care about that. Yes a person has to be able to support themselves and I have my teenage son to look out for.

As you can tell I am feeling a bit lost right now.

Certainly a lot of people would suggest that this is life. That everyone goes through this kind of internal struggle. I get that.

But I don’t agree with it.

Again I know I have a lot to be grateful for.

But what do you do when you are not happy with your current path in life and you feel like a failure?

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42 thoughts on “The Only Thing We Have To Fear Is…

  1. Hey! I think we all need to remember that … You are doing the best that you can do. Right now! You are perfect just as you are! Am just about to post something about this – perfectionism! Look out for that! Fear – we all feel afraid … Some are just better at hiding it than others. It is NEVER too late to make a change. Even small steps can make a BIG difference, start small. Takes a lot of courage… Give yourself some credit.. Great post!! Keep up the good work 🙂

  2. What type of job do you think would make a difference? If you don’t know the answer, ask your self two questions. “What would I love to do even if I didn’t get paid?” and “What did I want to be when I was a child?” Then try to find some way to spend some time in that vocation. Volunteer, take a class, etc. I lived in a large city all my life, but wanted to be a cowgirl as a child. As an adult, I started taking riding lessons and I could go on and on about the powerful changes that have. occurred since standing in my truth. Was I scared, you bet. But by breaking it down into baby steps and persistence, I learned how I have to handle fear. Wishing you fun in the changing process.

      1. Agreed. If you are not seeking fortune as you say, then enrichen your life in a way that provides you and others with meaning by involving yourself with something special on the side. Community work, part-time study, learn a new sport, that sort of thing. You may or may not excel but you will have experienced!

      1. There you go, you’ve got a start. Take a photography class (seriously – if that was your first reply – even if meant to be funny, makes me think you’d like to be a photographer), volunteeer at a senior center, teach kids how to do something. Find an outlet for all that good.

  3. Oh yeah, you are certainly not alone. I’ve lived my life in fear and I’m nowhere. Nowhere important in the business world, but somewhere definitely important on the home front. Still, I look back and wonder what could have been different if I didn’t grow up in a world that expected girls to end up as a wife and mother, staying home all day. THAT was a successful woman. I grew up on the cusp of that old life and the new one. At Career Day, the only career displayed for girls was either a nurse or secretary… I loved the sciences but to proceed with that required good math skills and, sadly, that was the only subject I did not excel in…crazy twisted turn life threw at me… But not being good in math intimidated me. That and the fact that none of the women in My family had careers… Oh two were hair dressers. Back then, I just assumed I’d get married and stay home just like everyone else… AND my parents did not encourage me or even bothered to find out what my dreams were.

    Well, today I am 52 and drowned in this economy… Since my seven year old entered school four years ago, I’ve not been able to find a job. My friends think I’m not looking but I am. The problem is that I don’t have much hope of snagging a position because of my age. My husband is currently attending school in an attempt to change his career from a chemical factory worker to something in……… Math. Either a teacher or statistician somewhere. Ironically, I like being home and I am loath to giving my valuable time to a company that will not giveme the same level of loyalty I am prepared to give them. I’m from the old school that taught me to give 120% to my employer. Now a days employers do not value their employees and overwork them to the point of their failure.

    Geez this is such a downer comment. Im sorry about that. The baggage I carry from a life of working in an environment that is increasingly supporting the 1% and the rest of us be damned. I actually love being home and even though it’s a burden on us, I really need to be here for my son as he’s autistic and needs that extra attention. So it’s kind of a wash right now, though our schedules are due to change when DH gets his degree in January.

    Reflection is good, and I like the advice given in the second comment by Wallace Studios… It’s scary leaving the known and entering the unknown…. But it’s worth it.

      1. I love this comment too because it doesn’t contain any advice. Debbie knows the value of speaking her truth as, obviously, do you. It seems to me that you have already taken a risk of failure and rejection by having this blog. And what a pay off! You must be succeeding because look at the great conversation you’ve generated. Well done.

  4. What the caterpillar perceives as the end of the world, to the butterfly is the beginning….
    Take a personal inventory of what it is that you truly love. Do those things and practice gratitude daily. That caterpillar was uncomfortable too. Find IT, love IT, believe and do everything with passion! We always feel uncomfortable before we step out of our comfort zone, but think about what would ultimately be worse. Doing nothing to change means everything will stay the same. Have faith, it feels wonderful to step out of your comfort zone. My comfort zone is now moving and changing all the time, I love it!

  5. I agree with Wallace Studios, what did you like to do as a child? me, I loved to draw and paint and specially play teacher and gues what: eventhough I am an architect by profession I AM A TEACHER BY VOCATION and love every minute of it…Make a plan or make several plans- plan A,B,C as many as your imagination permits, don’t think about your limitations, don’t suppose what you can’t do…just imagine yourself in each situation and see which one makes your heart race…you can do this and still keep working where you are so that you don’t stop receiving a paycheck…till you get that excited energy that’ll get you to your first interview…and like a poster a saw recently: LIFE IS LIKE PHOTOGRAPHY, YOU USE NEGATIVES TO DEVELOP…failure (such a harsh word) is just a lesson learned the hard way, so don’t stand still just to avoid it because you are also avoiding growth and progress (at least that’s how I see it, I too, am afraid of failure) all the luck, read you soon, Alexandra (btw, I wrote a post about this same feeling http://microrrelatososhortstories DOT wordpress DOT com/2012/04/17/act-being-paralyzed-by-something/ … if you’d like to read it!)

  6. Mr. Minimalist, I strongly recommend daily meditation. Focus on your breath and let go of the past. The chopra center is offering an awesome 21 day meditation on love….try it! I suggest starting from the beginning…they are on day 7.

  7. I have posted this in response to a similar comment on another person’s blog. It seems fear has the power to freeze everyone. When I find myself stuck because I am afraid of the unknown I say this quote to myself (one day it will be a tattoo) “Imagine what you would try if you knew you could not fail”
    For some reason that quote opens up the entire world to me. I discovered I was more afraid of opportunities lost than I was of the unknown.
    PS – your blog is wonderful, and I enjoy reading. I have been trying to simplify to reduce stress, and I live minimally already. Your blog gave me a feeling of acceptance. I am ok, I am not anti social, I am not uninspired or un motivated I just appreciate everything as it is without glitter and frills. Keep writing!

      1. Forget about other people do. Beat your own record from previous day and you are a success.

  8. Fight the fear! Find a way to do a stint on a volunteer program in another part of the world. I know it is easier said than done but give it a shot. You have spoken in the past about wanting to run a low-key resort thing in South America somewhere, if I remember correctly. Do a volunteer stint in some interesting area and get a sense of it all. Might help clarify directions for you. Keep writing – doesn’t matter if it is not regular. I was wondering when we were going to hear from you again and seeing your post in my inbox gave me a warm glow.

  9. I have come to the conclusion that “a failure” does not exist. I have learned from listening to Zig Ziglar “failure is an event, not a person” and “that failing is a detour not a dead-end.” Whenever I underestimate or misjudge something, not fail, I take time to learn from it. A moving forward attitude about mistakes helps me get through my emotional lows. At times progress is measured in inches and yet it is still progress.

    1. How perfect Lenny… You’re right it’s important to look at what you/ we learned from any given situation / scenario. Rather than make ourselves wrong – pose the question.. What did I learn from this ..? I agree with you we are always moving forward even when we think we aren’t!

  10. I know exactly how you feel, as I suspect do many people. Firstly I echo what Mother Nurture Moncton said in the previous comment. Secondly my advice: Identify what things you do outside of your job which make you feel good about yourself, focus on this, reflect on this and embrace it. I read something interesting lately about how the brain works in terms of retention of information, regularly thinking about negative things you have done/think you have done/something someone said or wrote that made you feel bad about yourself or stupid strengthens the pathways to those memories making them more likely to pop into your head when you don’t want them to. The obvious remedy to this – although hard initially – is to stifle those thoughts the second they pop into your head and immediately ponder on something positive that someone said to you, a smile you generated, something that made you feel good.
    Keep doing it, it becomes easier as you strengthen the links to the nice memories but this is just a start, you must generate new good memories as I suspect you, like me, have a personality type which allows negative influences to weigh you down far more than positive ones lift you up.

    If you don’t have much in your life that makes you feel good then go out and try things, when I started training for a half-marathon I had never run such a distance and didn’t believe I would do it. I trained hard, did that half-marathon in a pretty decent time and then moved on to do several and a couple of marathons, I still run and it still makes me feel good to even just go run 4-5km because I could easily have just sat on the couch instead. I also went along and very reluctantly tried rock-climbing despite a life-long crippling fear of heights. I absolutely loved it and continue to climb regularly several years later and the feeling of conquering that fear continues to empower me every time I climb, it also led me to my beautiful girlfriend and has drastically reduced my phobia. The best thing about both of these is that they are a challenge to yourself – not against others. They give you pride in yourself based purely on your own achievements, not in comparing or bettering others – something which will quickly be shaken when you come across someone who climbs harder or runs faster or betters you in anything you do, and this WILL happen sooner or later. This is why I believe it’s crucial to build that self-esteem on overcoming your own fears/weaknesses and feeling proud of that because nobody can take that from you. You had your fear, you pushed past it. Even if you try something and suck at it, AT LEAST YOU TRIED!! Many do not…

    As you say we must all support ourselves financially to some extent so some care must be taken in major life changes. However as you, and I’d imagine all of us who follow this blog do, strive towards a minimal life in a form which best suits our own personalities, goals and values, you obviously realise the value of achieving financial stability can be as much, or more about reducing expenditure on unecessary items. Attempting to re-evaluate what is and is not “necessary” rather than striving for ever higher salaries in jobs which often generate greater and greater stress and less and less time doing the things we love.

    I would encourage you to consider the fears in your life, pick a small one and challenge it. I guarantee you the power you gain from this will help you move onto the next.
    You must have a few things that you think, hmm I’ve always wanted to do that but….. Go do it!

    You clearly have some other ideas of what you’d like to do for a living, instead of vague thoughts of “something along the lines of….” why not look into some specific jobs which would reward you in the way you have mentioned. Research, plan, make lists, break it into small, achievable steps, tick things off and make it real. Unless you are incredibly lucky nobody is going to hand you the happiness you are searching for and it can be terrifying taking the leap towards achieving it which is why I suggest starting small. Do it in your own way and face your own fears, what I did may not help you but I really hope that what I’ve said will.

    Love the blog. Hopefully the next post will be an excited babble about the cool thing you did that you didn’t believe you’d ever do.

    All the best.

  11. My best friend and I always talk about what we want to be when we grow up. We are 35. It was always assumed that we would know this by now and be doing it. I might take a Professional Organizing course and focus on decluttering. We will see. I am scared too.

      1. I am 52 still am figuring out what I will be, and get scared all the time. Maybe it’s twisted, but the adrenalin rush keeps me moving. It’s a different world. Thank goodness. I am really enjoying this post. Honesty is so refreshing!

  12. I don’t usually do this .. But, I just wanted to comment on my amazement at how many people have commented on this blog post. When i posted my first comment, I unusually asked to be notified of follow-up comments. You have positively impacted people just by being honest, opening your heart & posting about fear. Everybody experiences it to lesser/ greater degrees. I hope you realise the impact you have made with this post. Maybe THIS is your purpose! Keep writing. Pay attention to who/ what shows up in your life. Trust your own intuition. Follow your heart 🙂

  13. First, don’t let yourself feel like a failure. If you have a job and you steal from the company and get fired, you have failed yourself. It sounds like you are equating success in life, like many people in the world today, in that you have to be financially successful, have a nice house, have lots of friends, have a great education, and so forth. Fortunately, the reality is that this has nothing to do with success. Or, for that matter, why do we even think about the word ‘success’ in terms of our lives? Our job as I see it, is to understand ourselves, understand others, love, and push the human evolutionary scales as far as they can go. This has absolutely nothing to do with what society sees as success. When you live like this, you transcend most of humanity and are in fact more evolved. You just need to get past that outlook and you are free. I think there are lots of things that we can do to help us get beyond what society says we have to be like, among them, stop watching tv and being brainwashed by the powers that be. We need to think for ourselves, find quiet time everyday, meditate, contemplate, and detach ourselves from the stuff that means nothing. Cheers.

  14. I adore reunions but probably just because I get curious and I like social events and I know it’s just a short thing where you go and say hi and then it’s over and it’s fun for me because I’m more of an extrovert and really high school wasn’t that terrible for me. My boyfriend is more on your side where he has no interest in them, doesn’t want to go them – was pleased his high school didn’t have one but then he’s more of an introvert to begin with and could probably care less what people are up to. It’s funny you mention about the green marker, I once had a teacher criticize me in grade 3 for colouring a dinosaur blue because I should have known that it should be green or brown because all of the other students knew that – I didn’t much care though, I was proud of my blue dinosaur – and you should be proud of your green marker impulses. Perhaps your boss was just concerned that green would be harder to see from the back of the room? If so he should have given you better feedback, an effective leader will always give positive feedback, followed by the behaviour they wish to correct, and then close with another piece of feedback that encourages the person they are coaching – simply criticizing people goes no where. As for your fear and sense of failure? I can’t say for sure, what is the right path for one wouldn’t work for another. Keep writing, that seems to help many. Keep reflecting and questing. Perhaps take stock of what you can do and could do, what skills do you possess and what services could you offer and where can you go from there. Taking stock and making a strategy from there has served me well, I’ve often observed that with the skills I have I can build on them and advance – or make a lateral move so I can get out from a place I’m not comfortable to some where else with other opportunities with another view. For example – I went from retail to office work and it really wasn’t much of a stretch because a lot of the skills were transferable, and from office work I got gradually more complex office work like book keeping with more of a focus on accounting and now I am doing more finance related stuff and I’m still looking at lateral and upward ways I could work – and doing an English degree in my spare time because hey, why not? Researching on google and talking to others is always helpful too, good luck!

  15. Such an honest post. We’ve all been there and so have all the people at the reunion. Life is full of ups and downs, and the downs make the ups all the better. Thanks for your honesty!

  16. I was in a similar place about a year ago. Unhappy with my job, missing direction and so on. For me, it was picking a direction that I would like to go and going. I knew I wanted to get out of the retail business but wasn’t really qualified for a bunch more. I found a job in a field I was interested in at the bottom of the ladder. In the last year I have learned a ton, gotten a small raise and the best part is my new schedule. I am making a little less than I was before, but I changed my spending habits and am getting along much better now that I am happy with what I am doing. And, in case you’re thinking I’m a young twenty-something, I’m not. I’m in my 40’s and am so glad I took the risk. Remember, the only one stopping you is you!

    Good Luck!
    Kim

  17. It sounds to me like YOU’RE doing just fine but listening to outside voices is what’s bringing you down. I have the same problem. My husband and I have rather expensive college educations but we make less than $30K combined. This isn’t the fault of the economy – it’s a lifestyle choice. He works the job of his dreams and I stay home with our son. We live in a low cost town so we can get by. When people ask about our lives and what we do I often feel like a loser. I have to remind myself there are so many people who would give everything to stay home with their kids and I need to speak proudly about that, not with shame.

    Remember that YOU are happy with your life and use terminology that reflects that. Don’t let people project their unhappiness on you. Unhappy people will always do their best to bring you down.

  18. Interesting that you posted about this since I’ve also been struggling with fears about starting my own book of business. Here’s some encouragment my regional manager sent my whole team via email this week. Hopefully you’ll be able to apply it to your life as well.

    “Now this might seem more like “personal life advice” but the truth is, if you aren’t able to over come your fears in life and in business you will never reach your true potential. You will always be stuck making decisions that paralyze you. So that’s why I am putting my tips of of handling insecurities in this email as I go through some personal reflection.

    Realize that fear does one thing and one thing only. It stops you from doing anything. I have read and heard over and over and time and time again that massive action is the only way to achieve success.

    Here’s what you need to do to get over fear and insecurity:

    1) Realize that everyone has fear. EVERYONE. You don’t have some special rare disease that causes you and you alone to be plagued by doubt. So get over yourself.

    2) Fill your calendar. Make yourself so busy that you don’t have time for fear. Fear thrives on that time you give it to think about what scares you. If you don’t give it any time at all, it will starve.

    3) USE your fear. Whenever something scares you, do it. Move towards it. Fear is a challenge that allows you to grow. That client you’ve been dreading to call? Call them now.

    4) GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE! There are way too many people in this world who convince themselves that they’re “comfortable” or “satisfied” This needs to stop. Growth can only happen when you challenge yourself. Think about when you were learning to drive. Remember the first time you were getting on the freeway? Maybe it’s just Phoenix that has scary freeways, but more than likely you were terrified. There were a ton of cars, cars changing lanes all around you, but when you got off you were a better driver. You learned that you could survive. That’s why you need to get out of your comfort zone. It allows you to experience challenges and gain the confidence that comes from overcoming challenges.

    So here’s what I suggest for the next month. Make a list with the following categories:

    1) Business

    2) Personal

    3) Family

    4) Community

    Write down all your fears under each category.  Take a moment to look at those fears actually written out. Now get to work crossing those fears off your list. Start small if it helps. Start with just one every day. Or if you’re feeling ambitious, work on one in each category a day. By the end of the month, you will be a completely new person on your way to achieving success that even you didn’t think was possible.”

  19. You are not alone. Lately I have been re-evaluating my life and thinking if I could have done things better. I read a very good post on Analyfe http://analyfe.com/2012/07/30/uncertainty/ about how fear and uncertainty can stop you from achieving the things which you really like. The post featured the book “Uncertainty” by Jonathan Fields. I must say I haven’t read it so I cannot give my opinion but it is on my list…

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