• 73°

Fear prevents us from living to the fullest

It is often said, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. But, what happens when you have plans and still experience failure? Plans do not always go the way we expect. If plans always went as expected, we would lose some of our creativity. In a sense, we experience failure because our creativity was left out of the planning process. As the world becomes more sophisticated, we must match its complexity with greater ingenuity. It is failure that often develops creativity and pushes us into new levels and dimensions.

So, why do some fail to plan? In my experience, I have witnessed that fear has held people back from trying. Fear can grip us like a python and paralyze us from the adventures of life. When you have been gripped by fear, it is hard to see the opportunities that are presenting themselves and it becomes more difficult to experience life. When an individual fails to experience life, he or she merely exists.

There is a vast difference between living and existing. When one only exists, he or she observes life as it passes by and makes judgments on others’ attempt to live a meaningful life. The person who chooses to live has decided that life is about opportunities, not failures. Those that focus on failures never see the opportunities staring them in the face. Sometimes it is necessary to fall short in order to appreciate succeeding. During the short fall, you discover that life is not about how many times you fail, it is about how many times you get back up.

On several occasions I have heard people say what they wished they had done years ago. Vincent van Gogh, preacher turned painter, once said, “The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.” These words speak volumes to us and challenge us to look within ourselves to see if we have ventured out of our comfort zone. The sea is a very dangerous place to make a living but it is a necessary place to travel if the fisherman is to live. If we are going to live, there are some necessary risks we must take. We cannot play safe all of the time! Instead of thinking what if we fail, we must now think, what if we succeed? Our drive to live should always be stronger than the drive to remain comfortable. On the shore of life, the water is shallow and less threatening, but it does not take gallons of water to drown, one can drown only from a couple of ounces of water. Whether you are on the shore or out in the deep blue sea there is risk.

Many of us are reluctant to leave the shore because we wonder about the storms that may be awaiting us within the sea. Such fear grips us and robs us of our potential and our dreams. Yet, there are times when fear must be thrown from the boat and belief and expectation has to be our anchor. That is to say, it is time that we expect more from ourselves than anyone else does. We cannot live our lives based on the expectations of others.

Darrio Melton is the state representative-elect for Dallas County in the Alabama Legislature.