Fear of the unknown, often related to a person’s perception of the future, is always weighed against the events in the present and the past. The mental tug-of-war is between continuing what you are doing in the present for the same results, or trying something radically different for a risk of failing. There’s always a trade-off between consistency and potential virality.
But what happens when you continue doing something that no longer works? Maybe a process that you’ve been using is becoming obsolete, or information that you rely on is outdated.
The definition of an expert is someone who has special skills or knowledge based on training or experience. In other words, experts are people who have knowledge or experience that they learned in the past. And as history has illustrated countless times with various companies, industries, and schools of thought, the mindset of expertise often gets in the way of true innovation.
Of course, that is not to say that lessons from the past are worthless. Lessons from the past, no matter how profound and impactful or negligible and insignificant they might seem, are merely illustrations of what has worked in the past, not projections of how things will be in the future.
Using what has worked in the past to face the unknown future definitely feels safe, but the distinction must be made between safe and comfortable. Safety zones and comfort zones do not completely overlap. Many people are unconsciously disabled by assuming that things that are uncomfortable are unsafe, but even more disabling is when people assume things that are comfortable are safe.
Innovation is achieved under circumstances where it is rarely comfortable. Sometimes the only way to be safe is to be uncomfortable.
Your work, art, creativity, passion, and dreams are expressions of your identity. They do not reign as your identity, but are merely expressions of it.
People who are hesitant about broadcasting their work often do so because they are afraid of what might happen. They are afraid of how the might fail, and the attacks that might come their way. They have a fear that people might attack the core of who they are.
But the truth is, if your work is nothing more than an expression of your identity, the most that people can attack is the expression. The only person that can attack your identity is yourself, and that comes through choice.
When you choose to accept yourself, regardless of the calls that people make on your expressions, that’s when you get true freedom to be yourself. That’s when you have the freedom to stand up and say, “Here I made this. I’m not sure if it’ll work or if it’s even a good idea, but that doesn’t matter.”
“If you’re going to be loved anyway, your behavior doesn’t have to be driven by your yearn for an outcome; it can be driven by something deeper.” – Seth Godin
Vulnerability then, is being open and transparent with your audience about who you are and what you do, not to seek approval from them, but to step out of the bounds of comfort to make new discoveries.
And when vulnerability comes from a place of already being accepted, fear vanishes.
Doing a backflip will draw attention from everyone around you. People will watch your feat, wishing they were able to perform such a stunt.
The main obstacle for performing a backflip is not physical. Anyone with an average amount of athletic ability is physically able of performing a backflip. Fear is the only obstacle.
People are mentally unprepared and unable to take the risk and attempt such a feat. To learn how to do backflips, a person must be prepared to fail. Once the risk is taken, a backflip can be learned in a relatively short period of time.
Like backflips, people are physically capable of achieving great things, the only thing holding them back is a mindset of fear.