Acting out of fear or love?


Do you sometimes think: 'I can't do that, I'm not going to do that', or 'That's too difficult, I don't know if I can do that'. I catch myself and my friends thinking this sometimes. A good example is someone who wants to learn how to play a musical instrument. That person really wants to learn that but doesn't even start: He thinks it's too difficult. There are people who do start, but quickly stop with the thought: 'I will never be that good, I have no talent'. But who or what determines these choices?

Learning to play a musical instrument, picking up a new hobby, or wanting to acquire new skills is often accompanied by obstacles. It takes effort, it's trial and error. This affects your motivation, and you ask yourself whether you should continue. Maybe you even start doubting whether the thing you’re busy with is something that suits you. The opinion of others can also play a major role in forming a thought about it.

For example, I have experienced a number of times that someone is considering taking a course at another department, but ultimately chooses not to. When I ask why they didn’t start, since they were so enthusiastic, I get varying answers. They think that they lack the basic knowledge and therefore think that they can not be successful in the subject. Or sometimes the reason is that there is a group assignment, and they don't know anyone who is also following the course. If it then turns out that you don’t have knowledge of the subject, that group is stuck with you. It is then easier to choose a course within your own department, together with your friends. After all, the subjects of your own department are already difficult enough anyway and you already have one year of study delay. So why take that risk?

Let me try to answer that. Because then you're really going to do something that you like. Because the knowledge you gain from such a course will give you new insights and open new doors for you. Anyone who acts on the basis of what I described in the previous paragraph is acting out of fear. Fear of failure, fear of the feeling that others will think 'something' about you, fear of being delayed even more in your studies and what people maybe think of that, the fear that you won't like it after all. And finally: fear of being afraid of it.

Act out of love for yourself. Surely you are curious about that subject and surely you think that this skill will bring you something, don’t you? Don't let the fear that you won't succeed stop you, or that fellow students from that other department will think 'something' of you. Or that they might see you fail at the start for a while.

The central question you can ask yourself is: do you do something to prevent others from thinking something about you, or because you really want to do something? For example, do you cook for your housemates because you feel like eating together and making something delicious for them? Or do you stand at the stove because you haven't cooked in two weeks and you're afraid they'll think you're a less fun housemate because of it?

Reflect on the choices you've made in a day. Do they come entirely from yourself, or do they depend on someone's opinion, or your feeling that you're not doing it right? If you can figure out what you base your choices on, a world will open up for you.

Share this article