What Are The Consequences of NOT Moving Toward The Unknown?
Even if we can’t physically see it, everything in this world is constantly changing one way or another. Everything. Some of us embrace change, and choose to move toward unfamiliar grounds, while others try desperately to hold onto familiarity, -to comfort. What is it that makes one person fearful of the unknown, and the other excited? Is it nurture? Is it biology? Although I have not sought out research on this topic, I’m willing to bet it’s a combination of both.
I recently reread a silly book I was given years ago by my cousin and came across an old fable on the topic:
The criminal had committed a crime. (Because hey, that’s what criminals’ do. That’s their job.) Anyway, he was sent to the king for his punishment. The king told him he had a choice. He could be hung by a rope or take the punishment behind the big, dark, scary, steel door. The criminal quickly decided on the rope. As the noose was being slipped on him, he asked, “Out of curiosity, what’s behind that door?” The king laughed and said, “You know, it’s funny, I offer all you guys the same choice, and nearly all of you pick the rope.” “So…” said the criminal, “what’s behind the door? Obliviously, I won’t tell anyone,” he said, pointing to the noose around his neck. The king paused then answered. “Freedom. But it seems most people are so afraid of the unknown that they immediately take the rope”.
We often need to be “at the end of our rope” before attempting to walk in the direction of our fears, the unknown, -towards change! Many of us are literately at our breaking points before embracing change. Or worse, before we even realize that change is necessary.
I am certainly one of those people that fears change. Why? Ultimately, I think what it comes down to is that I can’t control something I can’t anticipate. I’m a control freak. I like to known how things will go, so I can plan-ahead, and plan a backup if that fails. I feel I must be prepared. Change and the unknown make me feel anxious. And that’s really, what it is; it’s anxiety.
Realizing that my need to control and my anxiety about the unknown, was deeply ingrained in my ideology of myself, and how I feel the world perceives me, has allowed me to take small steps towards changing (e.g. this blog). I admire those around me that don’t fear change in life, embrace it, and gravitate towards it. There is a significant advantage to embracing life in an optimistic, fearless, and perhaps enthusiastic manner.
If you find yourself wondering why you fear the unknown, spend some time reflecting on why you have these fears. If nothing else, reflect on what consequences you’ve faced thus far in your life, or what consequences you might face in the future.
“If you keep doing what you’ve always been doing, then you’ll keep getting what you’ve always been getting”