It’s like a default setting for human beings who wish to do more with their lives but just can’t get — or keep — going.
There have been days when I longed for mediocrity and normalcy. You may even remember the time when I shut down my YouTube channel and social media accounts. My goodness, you have no idea how awesome that felt. No longer would I have to deal with 8 billion emails every morning. Never again would I have to wake up to find another smear video by the fruitarian dude posted on my Facebook wall. And I wouldn’t have to worry about getting caught in line at Whole Foods with a slice of chocolate cake in my basket.
I just wanted to make edu-taining health videos. I didn’t sign up for all of this other stuff!
Leading up to my meltdown, I had convinced myself that I couldn’t deal with you guys — the readers, listeners, and viewers who followed me online. But the truth of the matter is that the fear of success had taken over both my subconscious and conscious minds and had its way with me.
But as I like to say, every breakdown is followed by a breakthrough. And here we are, almost two years later, still cranking away at it. And having a ton of fun doing it.
It’s interesting that we are so very familiar with the fear of failure, but seldom do we ever consider how we fear success at the same time.
Another of one of life’s certainties is that there will always be people — sometimes even those who are supposed to support you the most — who will do all they can to keep you down. They go out of their way to sabotage your diet and exercise program. They do all they can to tear you away from your significant other. For some reason, they can’t seem to be happy for you no matter what awesomeness may be occurring in your life.
That’s a hater.
Yet, little do we know that our biggest hater may be, in fact, that three-pound noodle between our ears.
Last night, I decided to pluck one of my favorite books, Life Unlocked: 7 Revolutionary Lessons to Overcome Fear, off the shelf. In it, author Dr. Srini Pillay breaks down the science of fear and why even though we know what we want, we just can’t seem to act on it. We get stuck.
This reminds me of a Facebook status update I posted a couple of months ago, in which I asked my peeps what they would do if they were guaranteed to succeed. The responses were some of the most amazing aspirations I had ever read. Yet, when I later inquired about why they were not pursuing these inspiring endeavors, the almost-unanimous response was fear.
But where does this fear come from?
The human brain is quite the survivalist. Although we have developed higher order functions like speaking, thinking, and, of course, blogging, our brains still possess primitive forces remaining ever-vigilant for signs of danger or threat. It is these latter forces that may lie at the root of what I call the game of start-stop-start-stop-only-to-start-again-and-stop-again when it comes to moving toward our goals.