There is one common fear among men that is crippling their potential for growth and self-actualization. It is the most damaging fear in terms of how it negatively affects a man’s potential in life. This fear is seemingly benign and even thought of as being normal by most men that they don’t do anything to challenge it. These men are so used to dodging this fear that many aren’t even aware of the grip it has over their lives.
It must be made clear that this fear is irrational. Other fears such as the fear of harm and the fear of death are helpful in that they keep you alive, but this particular fear serves no such purpose. Instead, this fear limits you and prevents you from experiencing life. It’s this fear that makes you stop trying so that you won’t be seen making a mistake or failing. It’s this fear that stops you from standing up for yourself and speaking out. It’s also this fear that makes you needy and seek validation from other people.
Can you guess what this fear is?
It is the fear of being “stupid.”
The feeling of being stupid is shame inducing because it encompasses the feelings of being incompetent, insignificant, and all else that threatens a man’s sense of worthiness. A stupid man is a weak man who is ridiculed and laughed at by his peers. A man understands how much the world despises his weakness. And because his perceived status must be guarded against his fellow men, he chooses complacency over action, safety over risk, and ultimately, weakness over strength. In the end, he is deprived of the challenges of life to grow and become stronger.
To reverse this life of stagnation, man must deliberately and defiantly act against this fear.
What makes you feel stupid? What actions are you not taking because of this childish fear of making a fool out of yourself? Find out what they are and mark them to be targeted. You must challenge these fears daily and every chance you get until they are dulled. By failing to act against your fear, you will only reinforce them. With continued failure to act, you will come to accept your limitations as being abiding and unbreakable.
While facing up to your fear, you will tremble and you will fail from time to time. That is exactly what it takes to overcome your fears. If you do fail and feel stupid or embarrassed, just accept it and push on. If others look down upon you for failing, let them and push on. Just know that you’re becoming stronger and they’re not. In the end, all the negative feelings you may experience are fleeting and meaningless; the inner strength you gain, however, will be invaluable and enduring.
Learn to value the incremental growth of your character over whatever accomplishments you desire to achieve. Be outcome independent and measure yourself based on the efforts you put into things. That is the way of life.
Life is not waiting for you to get over your fears—time will pass through you regardless. It’s your choice as to whether you want to move on from your fears or let them hold you down. It’s all your choice.