awesomeness fear growth
... you should do it.
1. Because you can
Sometimes that's the best reason of all: your potential, and the drive to realize it. You know you can run farther, love more truthfully, lift heavier, earn more, learn more. You know that you can do better.
Yet, day after day, you find yourself in the same place you were yesterday, not living up to your potential.
This starts to irritate you, but you try to be grateful for what you have. After all, plenty of other people aspire to what you do and what you have.
But you're not other people.
Because you can, and deep down inside, you know you should, if only to honor yourself.
2. To push back your limits
Today, it's a 5k. Next month, it's a 10k. Then a half marathon. Before the year is out, you're running your first marathon.
A funny thing about people is that we only dream so big. But why limit ourselves? Dreaming is free. I could imagine myself making the next big Hollywood blockbuster, just like JJ Abrams, but I don't, and he does.
There's nothing wrong with this, but it means we really do need to go after our small goals, because once we prove to ourselves that we can do those, we give ourselves permission to start dreaming bigger, and bigger, and bigger.
You'll never get to the life-changing stuff until the day-changing stuff is under your belt.
3. You want to, deep down inside, where you hardly even admit it to yourself
You know that polite little voice inside you trying to protect you from disappointment? The one that really cares about your well-being, only wants you to be happy, doesn't want you to make waves, offend others, or attract dangerous attention?
Ignore that voice.
You know the other voice? The crazy one that keeps telling you that you are a superhero? The one that doesn't get the whole 'modesty' and 'politeness' thing, but really just wants to shine?
Listen to that one.
I was always taught that it's rude to act like you're a rockstar because...well, I don't really know, and that's my point. Sure, arrogance--the belief that you are better than you are--is stupid and is likely to land you in hot water. But that's not the same thing as acting as awesome as you really are.
I'm a great writer. Maybe not America's-next-great-novelist-great (not yet), but I'm good, and I have potential. If I never admitted that to myself (and it's sort of an ongoing exercise), why would I even bother with this blog?
Maybe you are afraid to admit it, because it's not proper or ladylike or whatever, but you're pretty damn amazing.
Of course, it'll take practice and adjustment living up to that once you decide to stop hiding it. Maybe you will occasionally cross the line into arrogance as you negotiate what it means to let your awesome shine, but don't confuse the two, and allow yourself a few mistakes.
After all, the alternative is to sit forever listening to voices in your head, and that's just crazy.
4. To show other people it's possible
Maybe you're a parent with a kid who's kind of hard on himself. Maybe you have a friend who thinks greatness is for other people. Maybe you're just tired of seeing people misled and discouraged in their wellness goals (like me).
I spent so much of my life believing that I 'couldn't', I know how paralyzing it feels. I know that weight of malaise, of heavy, despairing boredom, like being trapped in a cage of inability.
I don't want others to feel that.
So, I've decided to be somebody, to make a difference, partly for the reasons above, but largely because I want everyone out there to believe they can be a real hero, someone who makes a massive difference.
Sometimes, you can't talk people up. You just have to go out there and show them it can be done.
5. Because you're afraid, and you can't accept fear into your life
Afraid to fail, afraid to succeed, afraid of fame, of offending people, or just afraid, whatever it is, it's the wrong reason.
To paraphrase Joseph Campbell, find the darkest part of the cave and that is where your treasure lies.
You don't have to go into those shadows, but until you do, you'll never be free of them.
If you accept fear as a controlling force in one thing, you open the door for it to seep into other things.
Find the thing that scares you, the thing that challenges your conception of self, that would rock your boat in a big way, and run straight at it.
Because our natural fear of change and growth lights up the one thing that will help us change and grow the most. It's like a built in highlighter, albeit one we normally try to avoid following.
What is the point of being alive if you don't at least try to do something remarkable? - Mario Novak
Photo credit: woodleywonderworks on Flickr