If I take a look at my “recycle bin”, most of the items in there will be things that I was afraid of “leaning in” to them and pursuing them to the logical conclusion. Now, when I am talking about a “recycle bin”, I am not necessarily talking about that icon on the computer. I am talking about our personal “graveyards” where we have buried things like our talents, ideas, pursuits and projects. Right within that “recycle bin” there are things that could not only change a life, a family but also a community or even a nation and the world.
But fear has locked them up tightly. In the pursuit of purpose as we have seen in the previous article, fear is the greatest hindrance. It is because fear is an internal working. At times, it is easy to deal with external threats. However, inner threats such as fear and doubt offer a different kind of proposition.
Today, we conclude with the other types of fears that will plague you from reaching your full potential and deploying your purpose.
I always knew that I could write. In fact, this gift was “discovered” while I was in a rural primary school. With limited resources to books and living in an environment where we predominantly spoke mother tongue or Swahili, I excelled in my creative English writing. I remember that this gift continued while in High School. A guest teacher marked one of my essays and commented, “Has great potential.” After High School, the bug of writing a book bit me and as much as I talked to a seasoned writer back then, I was still scared of putting my heart out and writing my name on it. I was afraid that my book will fail. So guess what I did? Nothing in developing my gift and talent in writing. It was not until much later on when I was employed that I dared started writing. Guess what my first article on Life Signatures was? It was about overcoming fear!
What you need to be aware is that not everything you start will turn out to be great and of grandeur. You should listen to the first song a budding musician ever sang and compare it with their greatest hits. What if they succumbed to that fear of failure? We wouldn’t be listening to their ballads today. The same thing is happening with you today. When it comes to purpose, there is a great number of people who know roughly what it is…but they are afraid to fail if they venture. So they stay in their comfort zone. Fear of failure is useless. You overcome it by taking action and improving on the versions of your project until what the grandeur appears. Just start, get motion and momentum. You cannot be perfect at first.
Man is a social animal. We are born to belong. We are strongest when we are together. We have emotions and we give our love and affection to others that we select. When we are loved and appreciated back, it is one of the greatest feelings in our humanity. So we want to keep it and protect it at all costs. Rejection can be a very terrible thing. When one is rejected, it sends wrong signals to the subconscious that they do not matter, they do not measure up or they are not worthy to belong. So when it comes to pursuing purpose, at times people weigh the pain of rejection against the pleasure of purpose.
The problem is that as purpose might not be fully clear, they yield to the pain of a supposed rejection and therefore quit pursuing their purpose. They think that if they changed, as purpose will require you to, their friends and loved ones will no longer be available for them. What you need to know is that as a matter of fact, purpose creates the biggest severities in relationships. Purpose causes you to abandon your ways, and the people that you knew. However, on the opposite side of the spectrum, purpose will also cause you to meet men and women of like passions. These are people who care about what you care about. These are people who are excited about what you are excited about. The question therefore is: How ‘bad’ do you want to pursue your purpose? You might necessarily have to endure the rejection momentarily, and believe me, you will be grateful you did.
This one starts as early as one can have friends. There are those who thrive in social circles by making others feel bad about themselves. And that is where fear of shame and humiliation is birthed. Some are shamed by their parents or family who would want them to maintain a particular “family standard or tradition”. And just like the fear of rejection (these two are closely connected), people fail to pursue their purpose because they are afraid that they will be humiliated and ashamed. Someone really wants to speak, or sing, or dance, but they are afraid that the crowd will laugh at them and humiliate them. Someone wants to ask her out but he is afraid that she will humiliate him. And so, they decide to keep it safe and not make a move. The same applies to purpose. Purpose pursuit will mean that you do things that other people are not doing…something that might seem shameful, or something that will occasion them to shame you and humiliate you. Believe me, the pleasure of pursuing purpose far outweighs the pain of shame and humiliation.
This fear is extreme. How it operates though is intriguing. At one opposite extreme, there are those who know that they will die one day anyway, so what does it matter to pursue purpose? IN fact, those who do not believe (or refuse to believe, which is a more accurate way of putting it) in the Eternal creator will tell you that there is nothing like purpose of life. They are afraid of death and the repercussions of judgment. Therefore, they insulate themselves from this fear by lying to their mind that there is no life after death. But they are scared because deep down they know the opposite is true. So they do not pursue purpose. On the opposite side of the extreme, there are those who fear death and therefore they are engaged in most of their lives trying to wade it away. But then, there are those who know that life on earth is a rehearsal for better things and that the more they deploy their purpose right here the more pleasurable their death will be. Nothing is as useless as coming to your moment of death only to realize that you never really lived to deploy your purpose. Nothing is more torturous than that.
It is important therefore that we take stock of all the fears that plague us and find in us the resources to counter them until we win. We shall talk about this in the next article.