We’re afraid of failure. But we’re also afraid of great success. Because– then what?
I’m coming to realize that, generally, we’re just afraid of being judged by reality.
In football, I was a “blocking” tight end. Translation: slow and nobody trusted me to catch. Not even me. The last game of my senior year, the coach (inadvertently?) called a 440 Flood with me in the game. The ball was coming to me. It sailed about 6 feet above my head.
Whew. Huge sigh of relief.
QB’s fault. Crisis avoided. I didn’t want the ball. Too many what-ifs. If it came to me, then what? I either drop it — failure — or I catch it. Then, I’d have to do something with it.
Of course we might drop it. We all know that. But what if we catch it?
Its in that moment that a whole new world of what-ifs flood our reality.
This is the most frightening judgment — when we succeed and must do something with it. Most people don’t think that far ahead. If I can’t handle the black/white judgment of a single caught/dropped ball, how could I handle the full spectrum of judgment of deciding what I do with it when I’ve caught it?
So much easier to not know. To leave it in limbo. To blame the quarterback.
Many of us stay in prison for decades, because we wouldn’t know what to do on the outside.
A whole world of possibility awaits us there- outside the black and white. Out in the open, where failure and success are falsely terrifying, because self-judgment makes everything terrifying. The prison of ignorance is the safest place. But its not where you were made to live.
What are you waiting for? There’s an open door to every prison. Time to walk out. Jump. Catch the ball and run — or drop it. And don’t look back.