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YOU are your own biggest obstacle

YOU are your own biggest obstacle

There are many reasons why people fear to dream big, but in short, it’s hard wired survival instinct. Your brain is programmed to fear anything that might ultimately put your life into danger. It’s a leftover evolutionary trait meant to keep us humans alive.

And it’s not necessarily a bad thing. When you understand that the purpose of fear is to keep you from starving, you can put it in it’s proper place. Fear is a reminder that you need a plan before taking that giant leap of faith. But if you want to be happy, eventually you have to leap anyway.

It’s important to remember there is a difference between the fear that keeps you alive and the fear that keeps you from living.

Let’s break it down a little further, shall we?

Fear of Failure

Most people are afraid of dreaming big because they are afraid they will fail. In the context of evolutionary hard-wiring, it makes sense. If you fail to kill the tiger you were hunting for food, it will kill you. Failure has meant death most of the time for thousands of years. But the good news is, in today’s modern world, you’d have to seriously mess up for failure to mean impending doom. But your brain and your nervous system don’t know that. They haven’t caught up. There is a part of you that believes if you fail, you will die.

So the solution is to just put it into perspective. What would success look like? What would failure look like? Does the worst case scenario seem likely? Are there things you can plan for now to prevent failure? Is the possibility of failure worth it for the possibility of success?

It’s also important to consider redefining your definition of failure. If, for example, you want to start a business, society has provided a definition of failure for us already — not making a profit. But if you are starting a business to learn how things work, then failure in the eyes of society will still provide a learning opportunity, and thus, success!

Fear of Success

Sounds silly, right? But there is a little voice inside all of us that is afraid to succeed. If we succeed, that means we have more to lose. If we work really hard and have a taste of the good life and then it’s taken away, what then?

For this fear, at least in my own experience, the solution is to look at why you want to go for your dreams. If it’s because you want more money, then yeah, that will suck if it gets taken away from you. But if there’s a deeper underlying heart reason for it, if you’re doing it to help other people or to help yourself grow as a person, that’s not something that can be taken away from you.

Fear of Rejection

Maybe there are a few people in your life who would not be supportive if you go for it and dream big. So two things with this one: if you want it badly enough, it won’t matter, and you have to realize that friends and family have a tendency to project their own fears onto you.

So, this goes back to why you’re doing it. If you want something badly enough and you know why you’re doing it, I think you’ll find that the approval of other people won’t matter as much as it used to. It’s your own approval that really matters. If you like you, then other people will too. And the people who don’t, probably don’t need to be in your inner circle anyway. Because when you’re going for your dreams, the best thing you can do to ensure your success is to surround yourself with people who are supportive.

Secondly, the friends and family who are not supportive are probably just speaking from a place of concern. They have convinced themselves that their dreams aren’t possible. And the only way they can really believe that is to try to convince you of the same. By going for your dreams, you’re going to remind them that their dreams are possible too. Some people don’t like that. Let them not like it. 🙂

Fear and Excitement Feel Almost the Same

You said when you think about doing these things, you get an adrenaline rush. Awesome! Isn’t that the same way you feel when you’re about to get on a roller coaster or go on a first date with someone you really like? Depending on how you choose to look at it, the adrenaline rush could be either fear or excitement.

I strongly believe that the only difference is whether or not you’re committed to the action yet. If you decide to do it, then that same feeling will turn into excitement, not fear.

The important thing to consider is, how do you feel when you think about actually achieving your dreams? Does it feel good? Make you smile? Does the thought make your heart dance? If it does, then the longer you wait, the more and more “mediocre” you’re going to be at your current job…. because your heart wants to be doing something else.

Let Your Heart Lead and Let Your Brain Figure Out the Details

There’s a massive, massive difference in the quality of your life depending on who you put in charge of your major life decisions: your heart or your brain. Most people in Western culture lead with their brain. Example:

“But it’s a good job! It pays well! You can’t make money doing x!” (Where x is whatever your dream is.)

That all makes sense to the logical mind, but the thing is, it won’t make you happy. Give yourself permission to follow your heart, but give your brain veto power to keep you from doing something totally irresponsible. Let your brain plan and solve problems. That’s what brains are good at. But brains are not so good and figuring out how to make you happy. That’s what your heart is for.

I hope this is helpful. I actually work 1-on-1 with people on things like this, so if you have any questions or feedback, feel free to send me a private message and we’ll chat.

About The Author


Amira is a Canadian author, blogger and entrepreneur. She published her first novel 'Ecstasy' March 2014.

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