Why Be Afraid of Something You Want?

A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world.
— Albert Camus

Why not be afraid of something you want? What’s wrong with setting goals that will challenge you and change your life? Aim higher, do better. I don’t know if we are afraid of what we want as much as we may fear what the process entails: change. The unfamiliar comes with some fear, some doubt, and some anxiety because it should. No one knows what to expect from the unknown.

According to Greek mythology, to create and commit to realizing a goal offended the Gods who, in turn, worked to thwart human striving so man would not encroach on territory reserved for them. When you set out to accomplish something you will be confronted with various difficulties. Problems will arise on the path that you must overcome.

We are all built like thermostats that regulate the temperature in a room. When cold air drops below the thermostat’s set-point, the heat fires. When heat exceeds the thermostat’s set-point, the air conditioner activates. We all have our own self-esteem set-point. When we experience too much success, we can quickly behave in ways that return us to our emotional set-point or where we feel most comfortable. Conversely, when we find ourselves uncomfortable and our boat sinking, we quickly begin to take actions necessary to restore us to our comfort zone or bail water.

We can’t outperform our sense of self. We will find a way to make our world match our  beliefs about who we are. When we attempt to change we can become fearful. Even if we act fearless by hiding our anxiety, it’s there and it reverberates in our spirits. It takes work to re-set ourselves so that we can tolerate increased success and accomplish our goals.

Courage appears to be the antidote to this human dilemma. Courage allows one to be afraid but  continue moving in the desired direction. Courage enables one to recognize and accept fear as a part of the human condition and be with it rather than escape it an abandon their goal.  From this perspective, fear does not have to prevent you from reaching your goals. On the contrary, fear is essential to helping you reach your goal. Without it you may not have a goal worth pursuing and you will never activate the courage necessary to proceed.