Somewhere during our college education, the training wheels for life come off, and it’s time to face the music of the real world.
This is where all the panic and constant anxiety storm in, as if that’s the only way to adjust to the upcoming challenges of independence and growth – what happens when you start a family? Should you get a mortgage? Do you really need a car? How about a vacation?
The irony of it all is that we are stuck in the future we cannot accomplish due to our present setbacks, and in order to remove them, we need to reframe our thoughts of our self-created destiny. Much like the proverbial hamster in the wheel, you will only continue worrying unless you take a different approach to things in life that matter most to you and your existence.
Fear of failure
The most common type of fear in life that affects your everyday decisions and choices is the dread that you will fail miserably at whatever you take on. Before you even consider tackling a challenge, you agonize over how well it will go, and if you will be able to meet everyone’s, including your own expectations. You don’t want to disappoint anyone, yourself included, and the fear of doing just that can be so overwhelming that you abandon some of your most essential stepping stones to growth.
It will take time, but you will need to shift your perspective of this little beast – failure is not your enemy, it’s your key to success. Rename it into a lesson, an experience, call it something positive instead of this hated word “failure”. Most importantly – fail on purpose! Build up your immunity by making less impactful mistakes in order to become more resilient when the time comes to learn from bigger mistakes in life.
If there’s one future-related fear all of us, mere mortals, share, that would be the prospect of becoming a burden to a loved one, both emotionally and financially. However, while we’re waiting for that age-reversing magic pill, there is so much you can do to shape your own silver years.
It’s this very moment that will define your old age, so define your career path, think of alternative work you can do in case you need a contingency, take the age pension income test to learn about your earning ability based on your current finances, and research retirement homes in your neighborhood. That way, you can create and fund your own retirement plan as soon as you start working, and sit back and enjoy the ride, because life shouldn’t be a sum of worries, but creating memories.
Lack of control
You know that wonderful serenity prayer: grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. We often walk through life learning none of the three, and we spend our days living with the illusion of control, until life takes it away, one way or the other.
Whether we like it or not, future is uncertain, despite all of our predictions and efforts to tame it. Just like with your fear of failure, you need to let go of control or the illusion or it. Take the occasional leap of faith, don’t expect certainties or guarantees, but do your best to enjoy life’s experiences as much as possible. You will get much further in life with the ability to recognize opportunities instead of constantly seeing potential threats.
Worrying about the outcome
Goals are healthy, and an excellent growth tool when used correctly. However, sometimes we need to focus on taking baby steps and making smaller, short-term milestones happen, and take our eyes off the prize, so to speak.
If you focus too hard on the end result, you risk getting stuck in the future that still hasn’t happened at the cost of not living your present moment. Meditate, take a break, spend time with people you love, don’t cut out all pleasures in the rush to get somewhere, you might miss the most important lessons in life. In order to move forward in life, no matter the goal at hand, make sure you enjoy the journey as much as you look forward to the outcome, and growth will naturally occur.