Let’s take a minute away from games to talk about our October CBlog’s prompt: Darkness. It’s a word that is associated with many different themes, but when it comes to philosphy, we can perhaps define darkness simply as “the unknown.” That which we cannot see.
As Master Po once said, “Fear is the only darkness.” He’s exactly right. Fear is one of the most powerful adversaries that we fight in our lives.
Fear erects the imaginary barriers that hold us back from taking risks and chasing our dreams. Fear is an ingrained survival mechanism, and one of the greatest obstacles we face in our lives as conscious beings. It’s one of the reasons we fall into life routines and settle for familiar, predictable futures. Now don’t get me wrong, a predictable way of life is certainly comforting in some ways, but it should never be driven by fear of the unknown, or fear of possible failure. The truth is that failure is just another part of the process for finding success. Failure is a possibility just as much as success, and neither possibility can even be realized without at least a full-hearted attempt.
U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered a very similar message during his inaugural speech in 1933: “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.” It came at a time when the quality of life in the United States was at an extreme low. His message was clear though. It was a call for hope, and a belief in a better future. Hope is just one part of the equation for success though.
The emotion of fear often stems from the unknown, thus it can be managed with planning. Staying informed about what you want to do in the future is one way to alleviate a lot of uncertainties. Do the research. Know all the in's and out's of what you plan to do and it will strengthen your confidence. No goal is too big. If you plan to do something complex or long-term, create an action plan with small, incremental goals. A plan also helps to define progress, and mitigate the fear of feeling overwhelmed.
Procrastination is another mentality linked to fear, which can stop a goal from ever being acted upon at all. You've probably heard someone say: "Now is not the right time," or perhaps you say it yourself. That can be a dangerous excuse. Consider this quote from Rage Against the Machine: "It has to start somewhere, it has to start some time. What better place than here, what better time than now?" The first step is critical. Sometimes just jumping into something is the best way to initiate a commitment. It may feel awkward at first, but that new goal will begin to feel achievable as the progress measures up.
Last but not least, don't be afraid to take a calculated risk and potentially fail. All of the most successful people in the world have failed at some point. Failure is not just failure. It's experience. Thomas Edison claimed to have failed a thousand times before his lightbulb worked. While we can never truly predict the future, living life in the shadow of fear will never yield fruit. The future can be bright, but that's up to you. So say goodbye, darkness.