Living without Fear
I was getting dinner with a very successful friend of mine recently. He’s just been part of a successful exit but despite this has left feeling somewhat unfulfilled. Despite having reached some level of “success” in his endeavors, he’s been left wondering what is next for him. The felt need to accomplish something is still there. However, there seemed to be something else there too, which was a need to date, or to a need to explore life more.
The next piece that we talked about felt important. We discussed how he’s realized that he no longer is enjoying his life as much as he used to. This is because he’s systematically cut out a lot of his enjoyable activities for the sake of pursuing a goal. For example, he trained himself to no longer enjoy playing video games, because they felt like a waste of time. Somehow along the way of pursuing a goal for the sake of fulfillment, happiness was sacrificed, piece by piece somewhere along the journey.
As he shared this, I realized that I come from a very similar background. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been so obsessed with achievement in my life that I’ve re-organized my entire life to an embarrassing level around it. When I was in college, I uninstalled Windows and installed Linux on my laptop so that I couldn’t play video games on it. I also used to love burning through TV shows but I trained myself to un-learn the habit of watching TV entirely after deciding that it was a waste of time.
I’m starting to realize that this attitude of wanting to micromanage and control every aspect of my schedule has actually hurt me more than it’s helped me. Maybe these behaviors have helped me achieve some goals, but they’ve come at the cost of not enjoying leisure anymore. Rather, whenever I do anything fun I just am left feeling guilty. No matter what I achieve in my life, I still feel unhappy because I made the decision that I would rather be unhappy than not achieving anything. In fact, I’ve been making this decision every day for as long as I can remember without ever questioning if my line of reasoning was correct or not.
In short, my entire life has to this point been driven by fear. Rather than seeking the opportunity to change the world, I’ve been working my butt off because I was afraid of not being able to do that. My fear of not being effective resulted in me wanting to control more and more of my life.
The funny piece of it is that by objective measures, I don’t need need to be afraid anymore. In fact, I never needed to be afraid in the first place!
RESOLVED: To live without fear.
RESOLVED: To be kinder to myself so that I can be kinder to others.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
- 1 John 4:18