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Curing Fear Of The Future

Something crazy happens every day I worry about the future. About 150,000 people die.

I don’t think I’m causing it but still, it’s another incentive to stop.

Things I worry about: 

  • Will I hit this or that “life milestone” by this or that age?
  • Will I achieve as much as those around me?
  • Will I have the life I thought I would have?
  • Where will I be in five years?

Things those 150,000 people worry about:

I’m sure those people all had plans and hopes and their own worries about the future. But five years from now doesn’t exist for them. Achievements don’t matter anymore. Their age is permanently stalled.

It seems morbid but it’s a constant reminder to those of us who are still here to see another day.

For me, it’s a reminder to focus more on appreciating the present, to stop delaying going after the things I want from life, to immediately take on the difficult challenges that promise the greatest rewards.

Most of all, it’s a reminder not to let worry and fear hold me back.

Because life will throw things in my way. There won’t always be a clear path to where I want to be. I’ll have to overcome obstacles, both real and perceived.

One of the biggest of these perceived obstacles is fear. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of damaging my reputation.

It’s perceived but it usually feels all too real.

So how do I overcome this fear? In three steps. Sure, this is simplifying it, but why not make life more simple?

  1. Curiosity – What am I afraid of? Can I define it in clear terms?
  2. Understanding – Is the fear justified? What is the worst possible outcome and how could I recover from that outcome?
  3. Action – Take the first step.

One step today, another one tomorrow, and so on.

Where do the steps lead?

To the thing I’m scared of doing. (And as such is probably the thing I most need to do.)

One small step is fortification for a future attempt at doing that thing, and however slight the related reduction of fear is, it’s still a reduction.

One step today. Start with curiosity.

Each time I think of these people who have died, these 150,000 today alone, it kickstarts the process again. I remember I will die too and a lot of my future fears fade into insignificance. 

Onward, to that next thing I need to do. Curiosity, understanding, action.

Having a purpose in the present, being engaged in that action, allows the future to take care of itself.

So what if I fail? I can try again.

So what if I get rejected? That is the rejector’s loss.

So what if I damage my reputation? Those who respect me for who I am are the most important.

Every day I die a little more. That is my motivation, every day, to try a little more.