Mondays with Shama: How I turned fear into a motivator

12 February 2018

Mondays with Shama: How I turned fear into a motivator

Image credit: Lina Hayes (Flickr) – CC BY-NC 2.0

I was home alone one Saturday night pondering the big questions, as you do. I reflected on the last few years of my life and how much time I had spent writing — whether it be in my room or in trains, in between lectures or tutorials. And while being a writer had always been one of my dreams, I asked myself a simple question: “Is there something more I want out of this life?”

It then dawned on me how confronting this thought can be, and how fear of failure can stop us reaching our full potential.

“Too many of us are not living our dreams, because we are living our fears.” — Les Brown

Growing up, I was always surrounded by someone who was a go-getter — my brother. My mother would say “everything he touches turns to gold”, and this was true. My brother is someone who spends more time doing than fearing.

While watching him grow over the last 21 years, I had seen that fear was never a question in his ability to chase after a dream. It was never even a thought, and for me, being around this always meant stepping up. I never felt the need to match his level or be who he was, but I did feel I needed to work harder when doing thingsm and make sure I did them to the best of my ability. It wasn’t always easy, but in a way, fear of failure or not hitting the mark was a motivator.

Recently, I was yet again deep in thought, and I revisited the idea of chasing after dreams. Whereas before fear stunted the pursuit of dreams, this time I considered the idea of allowing fear to motivate us. Why couldn’t this extend to our dreams and aspirations?

It is simple enough to think about the idea and agree with it in principle, but implementing it is another matter. However, this soul-searching session was liberating, because if my subconscious was conditioning me, then all I had to do was train it to think otherwise.

So I researched how to change my subconsciousness, and allow myself to be more fearless than fearful of my dreams. After scrolling through article after article and watching video after video, I found something that actually made some sense.

Canadian public speaker Brian Tracy wrote:

“Your subconscious mind is subjective. It does not think or reason independently; it merely obeys the commands it receives from your conscious mind. Just as your conscious mind can be thought of as the gardener, planting seeds, your subconscious mind can be thought of as the garden, or fertile soil, in which the seeds germinate and grow. This is another reason why harnessing the power of thinking is important to the foundation of your entire thought process.”

I’m not saying this is a solid scientific result, but perhaps the control was more in my hands, or in this case my mind, than I thought.