Afraid of Something New?
I see it everywhere I go, on a daily basis.
I don’t want to try that new restaurant.
Why would I want to change coding libraries?
I’ve been doing it this way for years, I’m good.
Why do we need to use GitHub?
But I don’t want to learn how to take a better wrist shot?
Yeah, Glassblowing looks like fun, but why would I want to learn it?
And it’s all the same, story, day after day after day — you, we, me — are all afraid of doing something new.
(Do I need to get to the 5th Why?)
What are we afraid of?
Failing? Doubtful — there is enough literature out there celebrating the fail that you could get a ribbon for it and feel great about all that you accomplished. Is it the cost of failure then that holds us back? What if we fail and all that investment goes right out the door? All those dollars we could have spent on something else?
Succeeding? Really? — we’re that messed up that we are worried about that moment in our life when we are going to succeed? When new challenges will arise before and doors we never even knew existed open? Is it that unknown level of success that holds us back?
What if you hate it? What if you get in there, become a great success but you actually, truly 100% hate everything you are doing and now you’re stuck with it because well — you’re good at it so you might as well stick with it?
What if you love it? Or on the flipside, what if you love it so much, are so crazy about it that all you want to do is that one thing? Forget your family and friends — this is your passion, your joy, your mission in life — you cannot be held down by the constraints of those around you?
Yeah, sorry to say, it’s none of these. And if you’re chuckling at having thought of some of these yourself all you’ve done is throw up some goofy barriers to hold you back because you don’t want to talk about the elephant room.
What if you get stuck?
What if you get stuck trying something new? What if it’s not easy, you still enjoy it, but you don’t know what to do next? What if you plateau super early on and start to think you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread only to realize that you are a nothing near the beauty of sliced bread and instead are a moldy piece of pumpernickel?
That’s what we’re afraid of when we want to talk about doing something new — that’s what’s holding you back from that new adventure or endeavor — what if I get stuck.
Not to be confused with “what if I suck” — you will, you will be very bad at whatever it is you are learning that is new, but being stuck? That’s where our deepest fears come from.
It’s from this feeling of being stuck, of not moving forward, of not growing, of not changing that scares us.
After all, we only took on this new change in our life so that we could get “unstuck” from whatever we were on before so why engagement in euphoria for a few months and then go back to our stuck self for the next ten?
Because that’s how you grow, that’s how you get better, that’s how you learn.
And your stuck is someone else’s goal.
I’m stuck on a few goals I want to work on now — I’m afraid to get started on them — not because they might succeed, not because they might fail or my passion might become my life or I might realize that this passion I have loved for so long I might actually hate and that’d be sad — but because I’m afraid I might get stuck and not know how to get out.
For the past few years, I’ve been working on becoming a better artist/drawer and there have been plenty of stuck moments. One day I draw something amazing and post it to Instagram for the world to marvel at and then for another 3 months I struggle to get over that next level until I have another breakthrough only to repeat the same process of getting stuck again.
I guess that’s how goals work — some days I succeed, some days, I fail, some days I like what I’ve done, other days I wonder why I’ve even bothered — but what I’ll never regret is having tried something new.
And neither should you, whatever’s holding you back, chuck it out the door and take on that new thing you’ve been holding back on.
You won’t regret it, but you will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.