The Power of Fear of the Unknown

In my last post I spoke about the fail faster philosophy. Followers of this thought process believe you should test your limits and live outside the box more freely. The thought is that you may fail more often but you enjoy the benefit of learning from those failures. The end result is that you move forward and find yourself in a much better place over time.

I am a person who likes to put myself out there and test the limits. This philosophy works well for me. If I were to name anything that limits me fully embracing the fail faster philosophy it would be fear of the unknown. I am willing to tackle a good bit of the fear of the unknown but not able to turn my back to that fear.

Right now my life is in a place where I am faced with a good bit of unknown. I am experiencing health problems. Over the past months, I have been though a variety of tests and soon will be faced with making a decision on how I will move forward.

I am certain that most people who know me would say that I am a happy optimistic person. I have to say that is an accurate characterization of me.  I am also a person who is good at hiding my pessimistic side. I have worked hard to change myself. I bury that uncertainty. I would be a better person if I paid more attention to and learned more from my uncertainties.

I came across an interesting quote from H. L. Mencken that speaks about fear of the unknown. Fear of the unknown makes us inferior because we flee from dealing with it and retreat to our safe place. It is the easy way out. The problem is that the original barrier that forced you to face that fear is still in place and keeping you back.

The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear – fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety.” — H. L. Mencken, American Journalist

gap3Personally, I saw my health issues worsening but opted to ignore them. I am proud of the progress I have made. I am proud of the weight I lost and how active person I have become. 

I now must fight that fear of the unknown harder than I have in the past. As the months have worn on I found myself being more pessimistic of my success moving forward. A few weeks back at my lowest after my latest series of tests, I faced that fear of the unknown and decided I was the person who defined my success.

What does that mean to me today? It is time for me to live further out of my safe place. There will certainly be changes. To make those changes successful, I need to be in control. It is really a time to look ahead at the possibilities and not dwell on what brought me to where I am today. I am taking control of the unknown and not letting the unknown take control of me.  

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