I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
~~~ Frank Herbert
The only thing certain is change. We hear it and nod in agreement. But when it arrives, we sometimes curl up in a ball or deny its existence. We often resist change in either obvious or subtle ways. That is human inertia
Inertia is the tendency to of an object to resist any change in motion or direction. In the physical world, it is why your groceries fly off the back seat when you hit the brakes too forcefully. The car has stopped its forward motion, but the groceries have not. Your cell phone flies off the dashboard when you hit the gas because the car is moving but the phone is not.
So, we and, more importantly, our thoughts and therefore our actions are subject to inertia. Our jobs or relationships are moving in the wrong direction (too much stress, too little pay, long hours, …), yet we stay in the same job or relationship. We find all kinds of reasons (read excuses). I have bills to pay. Or, my favorite, better the devil you know than the devil you don’t. Fear creates inertia.
I once worked for a company that had an extremely toxic environment. They had acquired my employer. Having been there for many years and being a good networker, I had acquaintances in a broad number of locations. I heard the same complaints from many of them. They told me they hated coming to work, it was impacting their health, and their families. When I asked what they were going to do about it, I heard many of the statements I listed above. Some are still with this company and still unhappy.
I agreed with their complaints. But, unlike them, I began looking for options outside that employer. Little did I know at the time that coming from this employer was not a feather in your cap. But finally, I had had enough, my health, my relationships and, most importantly, my integrity were suffering. I resigned.
I had no new job and the word on the street was that this employer would challenge your unemployment claim if your resigned so “don’t bother applying”. So, I took a part-time job at a local supermarket slicing cold cuts. Some people in my life were astounded… two masters degrees and you are doing this?
But I had to DO something until I found something. I could not let fear of change keep me in a toxic job. I could not let fear of what other people thought keep me stalled. When things are in a bad place, having and executing a plan keeps me focused and positive.
Fear is natural and understandable. It is human instinct that allowed our ancestors to survive by recognizing a threat to our existence. In our ancestor’s brain fear triggered a fight or flight response. When faced with a threat (a large raging carnivore or angry human), it heightened their awareness so that they could instantaneously decide if the threat could be fought and defeated or should they exit rapidly to fight another day.
Modern man cannot just club another human over the head (at least not without serious legal consequences) and it is difficult to physically run from a modern threat. So instead, we may internalize the fear response, over and over again. It becomes the voice in our head that keeps us frozen in place, the mind killer. It becomes the inner critic, the Gremlin, that whispers:
“Why try, it won’t work.”
“People will laugh at you, if you do _______”
“If you want someone to like/love you, you won’t do that.”
We are often too close it to see the Gremlin.
If we are going to truly live the life we want, have the fulfillment and success we want, we must break past the fear, the inner voice that says stop. Are you ready to take yourself or your business to the next level? Are you at a crossroads and feel something is holding you back?
Have you been there? Are you there now? Share in Comments