Friday, July 1, 2011

Fears and Decisions

Fear. Just the word itself exudes cold. It's a feeling that can grow into one of the largest and most powerful forces behind almost every single decision you make in your life.

It starts out simple, of course. In kindergarten and elementary school, it was fear of being alone that drove me to stay as long as I could at school or outdoors with my friends until my parents came home in the evening. In middle school, it was fear of defeat that made me work myself till sweat and blood in every single sport or other activity I was involved in. In high school, there were so many important decisions to make that it was fear of making the wrong choice out of which I tried to excel at everything. It was fear of letting my parents down that drove me to study Physics through and beyond college level while in 9th grade and brought me to earn the third place title in the whole nation during the National physics Olympiad that year. I’m afraid that in that case, it was probably the only driving force involved. To this day, I still don’t understand – why physics? Honestly, I don’t even like the subject. I never did, not even outside the stressful atmosphere of the competition. Interestingly, acquiring the medal brought more of a sense of relief rather than accomplishment.

See, fear isn’t the best-quality driving force, because it doesn’t do much when there’s nothing else pushing along with it. Neither is it only a driving force. Fear can be as much of a stopping force as it can be a driving one. It is fear of danger and death that stops you from taking risks or breaking rules, whether you’re sitting on a plane or just crossing the road on your way to work. It is fear of missing out that stops you from leaving a baseball game until there is a break. It is fear of being dependent on someone and missing out on certain chances later that stops many young people from creating a family before they think they’ve tried it all. However, when fear is a stopping force, it becomes, in some twisted way, partially less effective. Whether you turn off your cell phone before the plane takes off doesn’t guarantee you that everyone else did the same, therefore, doesn’t quite guarantee you your safety. If you marry late, you still might later miss out on things that you would get if you married young. The point being, no matter what you do and where you are, you’re always missing out on something. But is that a problem? No. It just means that decisions shouldn’t be based on simply your fears. Every turn taken in life can become the “ultimate right choice” for you when led by passion, love, knowledge, belief and purpose.

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