“One should never be nervous about being asked to tackle anything. One has all the power necessary to achieve everything within oneself. It is only necessary to remember the power. If people are nervous, it is because they forget their potentialities and remember only their limitations”.
(Frank Lloyd Wright)
Do you remember that invincible feeling you had when you were just a kid? You drew, you painted and you never criticized yourself. As for physical challenges, you were ready to try anything, sometimes alarming your parents with your dare-devil feats.
Then You Grew Up.
When last did you accept one of your own creative efforts as being ‘just fine’? When last did you so much as try to do a cartwheel? What happened? You’re stronger, more co-ordinated and your sense of aesthetics is more developed than it was back then, but a simple box-jump leaves you sweaty-palmed with the fear of failure, and when you look at a blank canvas, you find yourself afraid to make that first mark or brush-stroke on the pristine white surface.
Did your friends tell you to stop playing on the jungle gym and ‘grow up’? Did your art teacher at school critique your work after you put in a huge effort? Did your parents stop getting enthusiastic about your artistic efforts and resort to a brief glance and a bored “Uh-huh, that’s nice”?
But Who’s Holding You Back Now?
Deep down, you already know who your fiercest critic is. That’s right, there’s only one person who limits your creativity and who makes you fear your fitness goals, and that’s you! Your biggest fear is ‘failure’ , your own imperfections scare you until you’d rather not even try. You look at that box-jump and say “I’m too old to do that”, you look at the canvas and say “I’m not creative enough”. The result? A self-fulfilling prophecy that prevents you from exploring your real potential for creativity and fitness.
Unleash Your Potential!
Of course, there will be things that you simply cannot do right now, but as long as they’re not physically impossible, you can work your way up and ultimately achieve your goals. For example, you may not be ready to run a marathon, but if you train regularly, you will reach the point where you can. You may need to work on your technique with watercolors, oils, or the simple lead-pencil, but if you allow yourself to try, and keep at it, wonderful things can happen.
“I Can’t” or “I Won’t”?
We often claim that we want to achieve this or that goal, but then we add two little words: “I can’t”. These are powerful words. They’re almost like a magic spell, because they come true from the moment you say them. They’re born of fear. Either that, or maybe you don’t really want to achieve that goal after all. In that case, you should be saying “I won’t” or “I’d rather not try” instead of “I can’t”.
There’s Nothing Wrong With Not Wanting To Try Something.
But there’s a big difference between lacking the desire to try and not being physically able to do something. If you have a fear of heights, you may not want to try bungee-jumping, but saying that you can’t do it is obviously not true. Bungee jumping is as easy as falling off a bridge with a line attached to you. What’s really stopping you? Fear!
The first step to overcoming your fear of failure is to recognize that it’s there. Now ask yourself how much you really want to achieve your goals. The more you want to achieve a result, the more willing you will be to tackle the painful process of overcoming your fear.
Don’t think that all it’s going to take is an Ah-Ha moment. You have created a “Can’t do” conditioning, and you’re going to have to overcome that. You will be outside of your comfort-zone. You’ll be sweating bullets at the gym or on your run, you’ll be making those first, hesitant brush-strokes on the canvas. You’ll pick up your musical instrument for the first time and it isn’t going to sound particularly good when you play.
Accept yourself and know that you can!
You won’t be a master at what you do the minute you begin, but know that you can achieve your goals, and accept the learning curve it may take to get where you want to be as an enjoyable part of the process. Try a lower box-jump: too easy? Now try that one that frightened you! You will find that you’re capable of a lot more than you ever gave yourself credit for – but you have to put your self-imposed limitations aside and take the plunge!
You Don’t Have To Be ‘Perfect’
Have you told yourself that you have to be perfect? Poor you! And yet you accept the imperfections of others. Sure, a handmade pottery bowl isn’t 100% symmetrical, but you are able to realize that this is part of its charm – unless you made it yourself! Then all you see is its ‘imperfections’. That’s if you were even able to bring yourself to try your hand at pottery.
Be a little kinder to yourself. What are you really good at? What if someone else wanted to learn to do the same thing – what would you tell them? You’d tell them to keep trying and have fun while they’re at it! Your confidence will grow as you expand your physical and creative abilities – or you can stay just as you are – the choice is yours!