Fearing The Known

For somebody who has browsed some of my older posts, it is clear that fear is a recurring theme over here. If you haven’t seen the topic around before, now you know.

To be honest, that’s how everything started out. With me writing, trying to motivate people (read me) to be brave and go after their dreams. To get out of the comfort zone, to step into the unknown and just do it.

And I have to admit, this recipe worked quite well for me. I ended up doing some pretty adventurous things I never thought I would have the courage to do. It felt good. It made me feel powerful.

But here’s the thing with that type of “charge” – it is not that long-lasting. You go out and do it, you feel the thrill and then it is just a memory. It still feels nice remembering how brave you were, but it doesn’t feel the way it does while you live it.

So what’s the remedy?

You go on to the next adventure. And the next one. And the next one.

It feels good to be the one living the fast life, right? The black sheep, the one who decided to follow the path less travelled. The one who has all the good stories to tell.

If that’s your sweet spot, the thing that not only makes you but also keeps you happy and gives you the feeling you belong, then you can stop reading here. You took a leap of faith and you won.

Yet if there is still something missing, something not quite right, maybe I have the answer to that. And maybe not, but I will share it anyway.

Most of the time it is hiding in our subconscious. We don’t realise we are so brave yet so afraid.

That’s something I’ve noticed, and maybe it’s just me, but I feel more comfortable going for the big risk than for the small one. It sounds counterintuitive, but it is true. Trying to fit in a group of friends feels more daunting than going to a foreign country for a month on my own.

Why is that so?

Because in high risk, there’s actually less risk of real failure. That thing is dangerous, not ordinary, not everybody is doing it. So even if you fail, you are still a hero, you’ve tried. Whereas if you fail in a low risk situation, like making friends, you are what? A loser?

Then there’s also the commitment part. You don’t make a relationship, a friendship work by diving straight in and it’s done. It requires effort, it requires you to show up daily and grow. 20% vulnerable today, 21% tomorrow.

These small daily wins are different from the big momentary wins. You want to live in a different city every 2 months? You get up, you go, it’s done. But actually settling there might be a bit more difficult, right?

The stakes seem to be lower with high risk – what is it to lose when there’s nothing stable?

And I can’t stress this enough – I don’t want to say don’t be adventurous. I’ve been advocating so long for that. All I want to do is make sure we recognise both sides of the coin. Neither stale life nor extremely unstable one is the way. Unless one of these is the way for you and it makes you truly happy.

If not, simply alternating between the two doesn’t help either. We need that balance, we need to incorporate the known into the unknown and vice versa.

Because big wins are not always hidden in the big risks. Or should I rather say, big risks are not always hidden into the unknown.

For some of us the known is scary, and it’s good to know.

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