Brian Clark at Copyblogger has a very interesting post titled The Nasty Four-Letter Word That Keeps You From Writing that hooked me because I am in a situation where I have a chance to really change what I do for a living. Brian writes:
based on my personal experience, there’s a nasty demon hiding behind the excuses we make. This four-letter word represents a condition we don’t like to admit to ourselves, much less utter in polite conversation.
Yep, it’s the “F” word.
Fear affects us all more than we care to admit
Brian’s article is about fear in connection with writing but his post is valid in many areas of life. He mentions five different fears, the key ones (to me) are fear of failure and fear of risk.
Under fear of failure Brian writes:
Countless psychological studies have shown that the fear of failure is the number one barrier to personal success. We fear failure because we don’t separate tasks from ourselves, and therefore our self-esteem is at risk every time we attempt to do anything we really want to achieve.
If we try and fail then we can get up and try again. But if we do not even try then we lock ourselves in where we are now.
This is a quote worth remembering:
Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure.
In the part about fear of risk Brian writes:
Is it really better to be safe than sorry? Sometimes, yes. But when it comes to your writing dreams and goals, being safe is a fate worse than death. Not only do your dreams die, but you get to live the rest of your life knowing it.
Remove the word ‘writing’ before dreams and this statement goes anywhere. Dreams are nice but until they turn into actions they remain dreams.
A while back I came across a quote that says a lot:
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. (Mark Twain)
The feeling of safety makes us often hesitate and take the easy way out (stay in the harbor, no risk, no failure) and not take the exciting way (leave for the high sea, take risks). I think I shall go and check my sails…