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Wednesday, 2 November 2011

How Fearful Are You?

On Halloween I watched Paranormal Activity 3, a jumpy film like its predecessors. I love films about ghosts so I thoroughly enjoyed it. But what made it even more terrifying was the atmosphere that filled the cinema, other people's tension. I soaked the fear up like a sponge and was almost beside myself during the films final moments, and afterwards it took me about ten minutes to calm down so I could feel normal again. But once outside the cinema's scary complex, I started to think just how much we are influenced by other people's emotions.

If I were to watch that movie alone I probably wouldn't find it so scary. Sure I would jump because that's the whole nature of the film, but I wouldn't be influenced by other people's negativity.

So, how much are we influenced by other people in every day to day life? And more importantly, do we let them hold us back from doing what we really want to do? If you had a teacher or a parent that forever told you you couldn't do something no matter how hard you tried, eventually you would start to believe them. Listening to repeat criticisms does nothing for self confidence and if anything it just reinforces your own lack of self belief. If you believe you can't do something, you're probably right -success is all in the state of mind. You start to tell yourself that you will do things someday but that day never arrives. And a common reason why people delay writing that book is because they are too fearful they'll never finish it. For some it seems like a insummountable task that's just too big to complete.

Bad reviews are also notorious for making writers feel lethargic. Some automatically think they can't write because someone has told them so. That's rubbish! - what about the ten outstanding 5 star reviews they have also received? Too often we just focus solely on the negative.

I think it's time we took a stand against fear because that's the biggest reason we leave so many dreams unfulfilled. During my travelling days I met so many inspirational people, people who led their lives without letting fear barricade them into a corner. If you're fearless you make the most of every opportunity because you don't let anything hold you back.

So, what's your greatest fear and does it ever hold you back?


  1. As far as my writing goes I don’t really have any fears other than, perhaps, a fear of wasting my time. I’m not a prolific author, nor, when I do start writing, am I a quick one and so, when I am in the position I am at the moment, having finished a novel (back in January) and with a viable idea for my next one, I do find myself reluctant the begin because I know once I have begun I’m the kind of person who will stick with it through thick and thin until I get it done and, as that will probably take me the next three years (maybe longer), it’s not a decision I take lightly. What if I start something that it beyond me? That happened last time and the book became something I never intended writing. It was something that was worth writing – so my time wasn’t completely wasted – but it wasn’t what I hoped to write and I have the same fear, for want of a better word, now. I will start it – the idea won’t let me go – but I can’t pretend I’m not nervous.

  2. Thanks for being so honest, Jim. I, too, am like you in the sense that once I've started something I will finish it no matter what.