Fear No More

23 Jan

“The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.” – Sven Goran Eriksson

 

I’m not sure why I’ve procrastinated writing this personal statement, but I think it has mostly to do with fear — it’s certainly not a lack of motivation — and I don’t think I’m alone with this feeling. As human beings, we all have internal fears. Fears of change, of rejection, of failure — each of us just seems to deal with these fears differently. I’ve always admired the people who face their fears head on with no holding back, like facing a fear of heights by skydiving. Me? It’s usually a more gradual approach. Last fall I rode up the Mount Washington Auto Road, and my husband, who was driving, seemed to enjoy laughing at my extreme discomfort at being so close to the edge of the mountain. I thought I might pass out! I wasn’t impressed with the lack of guard rails, or the fact the road was so narrow that every time two cars had to squeeze past each other, it was a delicate, stressful maneuver. By the time we got to the top, I started to feel a little more free and happy that I made it (even if that involved a little hyper-ventilating along the way). Needless to say, however, I am still afraid of heights. Regardless of what my husband thinks, fear is a natural response to danger, either real or imagined. While this emotion can be useful for certain times, I believe too many people experience it regularly, and for no good reason. I’ve let a fear of failure paralyze me.

I am no longer afraid of change (another painfully slow process), but instead I’ve let doubts about my abilities to write choke my dream of being a successful, published novelist. I am facing that doubt now; I refuse to let it stop me any longer. I intend to reclaim my purposeful dream again. I also intend to get the most out of this program, and of life. It’s time to bring back the passion! I am ready to take the next step and begin phase two of my life.

I have another fear that is bigger than my fear of failure, and that is of staying “average” and living an institutional-like life. A desire to live bigger, better, and with more passion drives me. It was lost for a while during some difficult life trials, but its back. I believe I have a special purpose to write, and that I have much to contribute.

I want to stand out, not in an attention-grabbing, star-of-the-show way, but to reach people and connect us through my writing. It’s difficult to describe that in a way that’s not cliché, but it’s true for me. It’s long been my desire to express myself through writing. In the 1998 film Ever After, Drew Barrymore’s character Danielle talks about her father, “when I was young my father would stay up late and read to me. He was addicted to the written word and I would fall asleep listening to the sound of his voice.” I feel that I too, am addicted to the written word, having a passion for reading and writing since I was young. When I was six I wrote my first fiction story about a princess and a unicorn (as any girl that age would). Shortly after that, I wrote a true story about my cat catching and eating a spider (my hero!) in the bathroom.

I believe in the value of the written word to individuals, and society. Isn’t it amazing that so many great works of literature are still around today! We need to study language to write better, to communicate more effectively, and also to teach the next generation how to carry on these important lessons. In my personal search to find my writing “voice”, I’ve found that learning to properly use grammar will give me a better ability to express my ideas, beliefs, and stories. Each one of us has different points of view, with different personalities and senses of humor. Sometimes, the best way to reach a large audience to share your experiences with is to communicate through the written word. I find it so exciting to broaden my scope of understanding by reading what others have written. It is a way of connecting to humanity as a whole, and to realize that in the grandest scale, we aren’t really that different after all.

So I guess I’m still trying to figure out why I’ve been standing in my own way. Theodore Roosevelt once said, “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” Oh how true this is! I am surrounded by people who believe in me, who believe I can do this. I’ve discovered I not only have an intense desire, but also a need for this program, to thrust me into a world that I’ve only dreamed about; a move from wondering and wishing to a plan of action. I want to learn, to grow, to network, and gain some confidence. I don’t need the approval of others to write, but knowing that I don’t know everything I should, I can’t wait to get started!

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11 Responses to “Fear No More”

  1. w9 form February 6, 2012 at 2:08 am #

    i love your blog, i have it in my rss reader and always like new things coming up from it.

  2. Rob Greene January 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

    Nicely said. I’m sure many of us are in the same fear boat. The biggest monkey on my back was not giving myself permission to take this “dream” seriously. I had to shell out a lot of money, call it homework, in order to create the space in my head to write. My worry now is, once I graduate, will I be able to keep fooling myself?

    • Jennifer Lauren January 24, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

      Rob, I think I also needed to validate my desire to write. I’m also glad I did, because I’m learning so much!

  3. Rebel Sowell January 24, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    You’re not alone. I understand your feelings completely and I believe you can do anything you set your mind to. Carpe diem! You go, girl!

  4. Charlie Stella January 24, 2012 at 5:42 am #

    I’m guessing fear and confidence go hand in hand. It took me 40+ years to learn how to ignore a few key naysayers in my life. I permitted them to hold sway until I put my head down and ran over them, but that took confidence … and the confidence took conquering the fear of failure. Good stuff, kiddo.

    • Jennifer Lauren January 24, 2012 at 11:20 am #

      I’m sure they do! Now, for confidence to take one large step forward….

  5. Suzi Shumaker January 24, 2012 at 12:30 am #

    Jen, thank you for sharing your personal statement. Great idea for a blog post, too. I am right there with you on the fear of heights thing. This doesn’t apply to airplanes, strangely. But I hate travelling on roads like the one you described, especially when I’m not the driver – no control and death a few inches away!

    • Jennifer Lauren January 24, 2012 at 11:21 am #

      I have no fear of flying either! So strange when you think about it. :) Thanks.

  6. Kelly Gamble January 23, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

    Well, said, Jen. Go for it.

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