I have a fear of heights.
Now, if taken literally, someone evil might put me on a ferris wheel or a roller coaster just to get a good laugh. However, if someone were to correctly analyze the word “heights” they’d understand that the top of a ferris wheel is nothing compared to what I’m actually scared of.
Acrophobia is the fear of heights. But, as I pointed out earlier, it’s not the literal definition of “heights” that I’m referring to. Instead, I’m referring to the utterly terrifying idea of heights or new heights. I’m terrified of heights in the perspective of success, failure, love, friendships, everything. I’m afraid of being successful because where there is success, there is failure. Think about it, if you are sitting at the top of that ferris wheel, it’s not really the height you’re focusing on, it’s how long of a drop it would be from that height. Success is the same way for me. My biggest goal is to become a successful author, but if I do then I also know that my success with ultimately come with the uninvited reoccurrence of failure. It could be as simple as not reaching a deadline or it could be as terrible as not selling a single copy of my book. Either way, there is failure that I will have to account for when I become successful.
So, this ultimately leads me to my next rant about phobias. If by being scared of “heights” I mean I’m really only scared of the “drop” then wouldn’t that mean that I’m in fact NOT scared of “success” but majorly scared of “failure”? I think it does. The fear of failure is defined as atychiphobia. I truly believe everyone has a slight fear of failure. We all have trouble believing that if we were to become rich and famous that we wouldn’t somehow screw up our chances. It also could be, like I said before, career based. We want success so badly and our dreams to come true that we may not realize how terrified we really are. The road to success is, however, not a straight line. One must remember that failure is not a reason to lie in bed all day. Failure is the reason to keep going, because for every one of your failures there are ten more that will lead you to success. As humans, we never truly stop reaching for success. Our goals will always grow larger and larger. What your goal is today may seem like a simple step toward your ultimate happiness ten years from now. You never truly know when you will actually meet success. For me, I feel that success isn’t real. Sure, there is accomplishment, but accomplishment and reaching success are not the same. Once you reach your so-called “success”, as a human, you will only reach out for me. So, here is my question: Do we strive for success or do we strive for accomplishment? My logical thinking behind this is simply that if we are striving for success then we mean to reach a goal and never go after another one. However, if we are reaching for accomplishment then our hearts will find contentment and soon enough reach out for the next accomplishment of our lives. You might be wondering how this still has anything to do with phobias, and so, I remind you that accomplishment and success are both results of trials and failures. Yet, how can I want success but fear failure?
The answer, I believe, is that I cannot. I cannot want success and fear failure. Fearing failure will only lead to more failure. If I want success, I must want failure.
Today, I’m positive I’ve left you with some serious critical thinking about phobias. I now know, after quite a lot of ranting and babbling, that my fear of heights is really my fear of the drop, and that I must learn that what I really need is accomplishment and I cannot obtain accomplishment unless I manipulate my failures into advantages. Although it’s a quote we all hear often, I feel it’s necessary for this post:
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
I hope I’ve opened some eyes to the insight of their real phobias, and I would love to hear of them below in the comments. Before I go, I leave you with one more thought. Perhaps, though it is ironic, success, every humans long term goal, is simply failure, because in every failure there will eventually be success.
Jinapher J. Hoffman