Hi again! I am traveling around the US and writing about it, and there seems to be no end in sight.
US Tour Day 15: Goodbye Scottsdale, Hello Tucson, and the Fear of Success
Today I left Steve Peterson and his wife and daughter. I had to keep moving, there is so much left ahead of me. Tonight I would be in Tucson.
Leaving is the worst part of this trip. The other parts are fine—meeting new people, staying with them, enjoying our times together. I just hate saying goodbye. I build up some sort of relationship with my new friends and acquaintances, and I feel anxious and scared when I have to get in my car and drive away.
They reassure me that I'm going to have many more adventures and meet many more great people. I know they're right. At least intellectually I know. I guess I just have a tendency to cling to the great moments I'm having, not wanting to relinquish them and continue on to the next great moment.
I should know better. I've thought about this theme in my life many times. I even wrote a song about this once in an attempt to process it:
Never Go Back Again
[Keep tuned, the album will be available soon!]
I don't have much to write about Tucson yet. I'm tired from driving. Plus it's dark and I haven't had the chance to really explore.
My host's name is Olivia. I already like her, although I haven't known her for long. She is on the cusp of great discoveries in her life—discoveries about her patterns—and sitting in the presence of this electricity fills my nose with the scent of hope for our world.
It's funny. She thinks she's shy but she really isn't. Why do so many people decide they are bad at things before they even really try? They say things like, people don't like me, or, I'm not good at this or that. Or, maybe they say, No, no, I can't do that. Yet, when I ask them if they've actually tried—you know, really put their mind to it for a while—they almost always reveal that they've never really given it a lot of effort, if any at all.
Why do people give up—making up their mind about how the world is, creating a rigid, unyielding world view—without even trying?
Many think it is the fear of failure that compels people to throw in the towel before the fight has even started. But, I don't think so. I believe it is the fear of success that keeps us from standing up and taking those first baby steps.
Let's say we have a goal to do something, or to change some aspect in our life. We will call the state after which we have attained this goal success. So, what is the state before which one has achieved success? I will call the absence of success failure.
So, if you have not yet achieved your goal then you are experiencing a state of failure. That means you, me, and everyone else is already failing in many areas of our lives. How can you have a fear of failing when you are already swimming in a pool of failure each day, breathing lungs full of failure air, eating failure food, thinking failure thoughts? Failure is already here, and it's probably quite comfortable—it's warm and cozy and nothing to be scared of, really.
But, if we are to challenge this comfort and try to make our dreams and ideas into reality then we run the dangerous risk of success. And, success really means change. We run the risk of changing our lives from the failure state—a state of absence—to a life of completion. Look around—really look. Things can't get much worse. They can, however, get much better. But, only if we start to work towards that end.
Now, it's likely that we won't reach our goals 100% of the time. Or, we may reach a particular goal but not complete it to the level we imagined. For example, we may get rich or lose a lot of weight, but not quite as much as we had hoped. But, this partial completion is infinitely better than the original empty life of failure. And, by trying we are practicing and refining the process of changing our lives and shifting the world. We get better at it and it gets easier and less scary—it hurts less.
So, we see it's not the fear of failure but the fear of change that shackles us to our current lives. There's little risk of change if we continue to let our negative thoughts be the stillbirth of our actions. Getting out there and breathing life into an idea is way more dangerous to our sleepy, mental status quo. Letting our minds imagine a better life and putting some effort into carving out this new landscape has the potential to shatter, reform, transform our lives.
So, sleep if you want—comfortable and quiet and motionless. But, there isn't much time, and there is so much to do. Why not jump out of an airplane or start your own business or go out and meet five new people or start standing up straight or finally forgive your parents? Why not wake up and start today?
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