Throughout my life I’ve had people tell me, “you’re not good enough.” I remember being in school and a teacher asked me why am I wasting my time playing in a band because I wasn’t going to succeed. Another time, during a meeting with a guidance counselor, when my parents said I was interested into getting into such and such college, his response was, “don’t bother, he’ll never make it.” When you also have people of authority making those kinds of judgments, they make an impression.
One day my wife and I went to see a therapist to help with our relationship and we filled out some sort of questionnaire/test to see where we were psychologically and my test came back as having a borderline Social Phobia. When my wife heard that she called, “B#&& $#!^” and said “he’s been a lead singer in bands, teaches in colleges and instructs martial art seminars all over, etc.” The Therapist looked at me and said, “Why?”
I asked my wife, “Do I get nervous before a gig, class, or whatever?” She admitted that I did, but thought that was just me being needy. The truth is, yeah, I may have gotten nervous, but I couldn’t let that stop me from trying to do what I needed to do. So to answer the Therapist's question... I’m kind of stubborn so I don't like being told what I can and cannot do, especially if that is coming from myself and my fear of failing.
By putting myself into those uncomfortable situations allowed my fears to subside. All those things that I feared eventually happened and I made it through. Granted not so gracefully at first, but every time those things happened again it wasn't as bad and the outcome was better. I figure anything worthwhile is worth getting a little uncomfortable for.
A simple fact that makes taking a chance on facing your fears easier is that successful people fail. Anyone who has succeeded in anything had to take a chance and push through tough times. It’s what you do after you “fail” that will shape the rest of your life. If you want something bad enough you’ll take a chance and keep doing it. Learning from your failures and get better at it until you succeed. Take your favorite band or musician for example, they were not always that good and had to face some adversity ("failure") to get where they are today!
Here are some great quotes from successful people you may have heard of…
“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” – Thomas Edison
“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” – Theodore Roosevelt
“You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” - Wayne Gretzky
Even in movies there are great quotes about failing…
“Why do we fall sir? So we might learn to pick ourselves up” – Michael Caine in “Batman Begins”
“Keep moving forward” - Wilbur in “Meet the Robinsons”
“Rise and rise again until lambs become lions” – Russell Crowe in “Robin Hood”
Even if it’s not about failure, but you are afraid of something, learn about it. It has been said the fear is nothing more than the acronym…
F. – False
E. – Expectations
A. – Appearing
R. – Real
It’s through the process of learning that you see what, “truly is” and what is just an over reaction to a preconceived idea. Once you have the facts and understand any given topic, you can then make rational decisions about what needs to be done to keep yourself safe physically and emotionally and therefore reducing fear.
Now if I had given into my fear and fully accepted what I had been told by others, I would not have recorded CD’s, gone on tour in Europe with a band, studied martial arts in Korea, learned from famous acupuncturists in Japan, have a beautiful loving family. Nor would I have attained my Masters Degree in Acupuncture, therefore would not have been able to help so many of my patients throughout the years. I am the person I am today because of fighting through my fears and not allowing someone else to limit who I am. So if you want something better in your life, remember one thing from this, “Overcome your fear through familiarity.”