We were just 21 years of age, fresh out of college with new dreams of building our successful careers in the IT hub of India. This story is of about 10 years back when I and few of my friends came to Bangalore on a job hunt. We stayed in a PG, ate in a small local canteen, bought bus passes every day to attend numerous walk-ins and interviews. We all belonged to small cities and had never been to shopping malls earlier. Only one of us had taken a flight in her life. We were basically simple girls with little access to luxuries that we enjoy today.
One day when we went to the mall, we encountered the escalators. Yes, you might laugh at this but 10 years ago, girls like us had never stepped on an escalator. With a bit of hesitation I managed to step on to it. But one of my friends simply refused to get on it. She was literally trembling at the thought of stepping on it. She eventually got over this fear and now we all have a good laugh about those incidents.
I have learnt that there are two types of fears – authentic and inauthentic. Authentic fears are the real fears. The fear that you have if you spot a snake in your room is an authentic fear. My friend’s fear of escalator also was an authentic fear. This type of fear keeps you on your toes and helps you stay safe and alive.
Inauthentic fears have no concreteness; these are fears which are based on ifs and buts. “What will people think of me if I stammer on the stage?” is an example of inauthentic fears.
I would invite each of you to look at your fears right now and find out if it is authentic or inauthentic. Most of us will realize that it is an inauthentic fear that pesters us the most. These are the fears that stop us from taking a risk and grow.
One of the most common fears that I always had is “What will people think of me?” This fear of being judged and rejected had turned me into a people-pleaser. And this is what happens – these inauthentic fears tend to have a life-long effect on personalities which hinder our very growth. The only way to realize these changes in the personality is to have someone show you a mirror. When you have that trustworthy friend who tells you that you are being a doormat to your spouse – listen to that friend and introspect to see what might be causing it.
Life always throws situations at us with which we will always confront our fears. And that is the time when you will realize that you have been living under the umbrella of an inauthentic fear whereas the whole wide world of success was waiting for you outside. Getting over an inauthentic fear is also like stepping on that escalator that scares the hell out of you. You just have to take that one step and the escalator will take you to the heights.
Do not run away from the situations in life because that is when you reject the chance the life gives of getting over an inauthentic fear.