Ah, the power of dreams. They give meaning to life. They give hope to people. They are the element inside us which makes us aim for something bigger, something more substantial -- something to live for.
So imagine the kind of happiness and fulfillment we can bring in to our lives by actualizing dreams.
But why do so many of us not take any action? Why, all too often, do we somehow fail to pursue our dreams?
The Four-Letter Word
Celebrated life coach Tony Robbins has the perfect answer to this. In an interview, when asked to name the most common thing which holds people back from pursuing their dreams, here's what he had to say:
"The answer is fear. All human beings have fears. Be it the President of United States, top athletes, actors, actresses, billionaires; everybody, at some point in time, faces the fear that they are not enough in some context. Not smart enough, not pretty enough, not strong enough, not rich enough, not funny enough... and you may not be feeling that right now in your life, but we all feel that. And it brings up a deeper fear, that if I am not enough, I will not be loved. And love is like the oxygen for the soul. If somebody does not that have that sense of aliveness and love inside them, they feel dead inside.
"So people come up with all these excuses that 'I can't do this because I am too busy'. It's because they are afraid that if they are not busy and they fail, they will feel they are not enough, and hence unlovable. They will start putting labels on themselves. And these labels are a way to show: 'See, it's not me, it's this thing I have. I have this ADD or something.' It's a vicious cycle. Fear is what stops people."
Rightly said. Fear, this four-letter word, is what stops us from achieving the full lives we desire. This fear stems from judgment from other people. We are left feeling scared and nervous of taking the leap towards our dreams, as the brain continuously says that we are sure to fail. We're afraid to expose our failings and weaknesses to the world, assuming that people will view us as incomplete.
And we fear that this incompleteness will make us less attractive, less sought-after, less lovable. This fear of having lack of love in life is a very vapid, soul-crushing feeling. The subconscious mind can come up with a thousand different excuses to avoid going that path. A defense mechanism kicks in inside us, but little do we know that fear is the monster that is blocking us from pursuing our dreams.
The Way to Overcome Fear
When asked how to overcome this feeling of fear, Tony says, "The only way to deal with fear is to go through it. There is no other way around it."
Think about it. The greatest people in the world had to overcome some sort of life-changing fear in their lives. J.K. Rowling, Abraham Lincoln, and Winston Churchill all had to face the demons of fear.
But here is the key: to feel fear is very natural and very human. The difficult part is to overcome it. The difference between normal people and greatness is that normal people let fear get the best of them, but great people overcome it with sheer perseverance. In fact, it was Winston Churchill who originally said, "If you are going through hell, keep going."
I have been been fully engaged in the start up space for over 20 years. I hear the term almost daily from people I mentor or am partnered with on various projects. Fear is something that is a daily emotion for many of us building companies. Fear of not finding the right talent, fear of running out of funding and the list goes on. I have learned early on that fear is also something that can be good for the entrepreneur. And good fear can actually drive success in your business. It at the very least can keep you on your toes.
So how can you actually overcome the bad elements of fear? Look at the bigger picture. Think of how much you can contribute to the world. Think of the lives you can change, the joy you can give to someone who desperately needs it from you. Think of how many people you can save and the kind of positive impact you will accomplish long after you are gone.
How great would the world have been if we all overcame our fears and pursued what we were meant for? When you think like this, you'll be more equipped to face the challenges in the way. Keep your eye on the end goal, and fear then will be just that: a meaningless four-letter word.
--Abhik Shome contributed to this article.