Fear and insecurity have held me back from accomplishing so many things in my life. There is this voice in my head that tells me that there is no use in doing things because I will never be the best at things. And the problem with that voice isn’t that it’s present, it’s that it’s true but completely misguided. Perfectionism can easily manifest itself in inaction if I allow it to. I often become certain that nothing I do will be perfect or good enough, and therefore I do nothing. But the reality is I can’t let the fear of not being the best and the insecurity of putting myself out there inhibit me from trying. If I allow insecurity and fear to dictate my life I’m assuring that I’m never going to achieve anything.

Perfection isn’t achievable, but progress is. Not only is it attainable, it’s quite easily attainable and almost guaranteed with the smallest amount of willingness. Progress is especially attainable when you’re starting from ground zero. In order for me to write my book I had to absolve myself of the insecurity, fear, and apprehension that was holding me back. I also had to be acutely cognizant that everyone has their own opinions and not everyone is going to like or relate to what I have to say. Pleasing everyone is nothing more than a pipe dream, an erroneous invention of the mind. Lowering the bar of self-expectation is crucial if I’m going to endeavour into anything unknown. There is no shame in putting myself out there, and there is also no shame in failing. The real shame lies in the absence of trying.

The other thing about fear and insecurity is that they become muddled and quieted once action has taken place. Once you’ve taken the leap into the unknown, once you’ve exposed yourself for who you truly are, you’ve already conquered the worst of the fear and insecurity.  Insecurity and self-doubt go hand in hand. This concept that I’m never going to achieve what I truly aspire to, and therefore it’s better left untouched and unexplored leads to nothing but complacency, regret, and inaction. I don’t need to be grandiose in nature to overcome insecurity and self-doubt, I simply have to be courageous enough to decide to pursue what I truly desire and covet. Courage is acting in spite of fear. The courageous people aren’t living in absence of fear and insecurity, they are living despite the fear and insecurity, and that distinction and recognition is important to make.

It might be scary and fearful to do things I’ve never done before, especially if I can’t accurately or surely predict the outcome, but what is equally scary is letting my life slip away from me. From letting life move by me without having ever put myself on the line, without ever taking that risk. In doing that I end up in a state of realization much worse than failure, I end up in a state of neurotic regret. I’m going to descend deeper into the domains of “what ifs”. If I don’t persevere through my insecurity, fear, and self-doubt then I will be perpetually stuck in a mindset of wasted potential and far worse, of wasted life. It’s normal to have elements of self-doubt, but there is no reason to allow such feelings to debilitate you into catatonia. I’ve learned that if there is something in life I truly covet; I’m far better off taking that risk and failing, then never trying at all. This perverse sense of perfectionism can result in a lifetime of missed opportunities and regrets.

Self-appraisal of my biological realities such as my physical looks and intelligence are far less important than the content of my character. There is no use being insecure about the things I have no control over, but there is great utility in actively trying to maximize the qualities I possess that I have control over. Industriousness, willingness, courage, open-mindedness, and honesty, are far better attributes to foster and possess than anything rooted in biological reality, and these all fall under the domain of things we have direct control over. Insecurity, fear, and self-doubt are self-imposed conditions, and deciding to conduct yourself in pursuit of your desires and what you think will lead you to fulfilment is much more important than playing it safe and placating your neuroses. If I’m doing the best I can with what I’m given then where is the use in being afraid, insecure, or full of self-doubt? I’ve learned that failure is far less painful than living uncomfortably in your own head.

  • Jack A. Bingham

Author of Obsessive-Compulsive Dramatic: My Fight Against OCD, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Addiction