Apr 28, 2019 - 3 min read
I used to be very stressed. That actually is an understatement. I used to live with mortifying fear of failure. But I don't tell that to refer yet again to book by Mark Manson, but to share some finding that came with age, life events and yet again... failures. Well, with some successes too.
They say that wisdom comes with age, but for sure it comes with experience. Am I wise? Not extraordinary. Am I wiser than I used to be? Hell yea!
So let me tell you about three, but really one mortifying fear that has vanished with both time and events that pivoted my life.
First was fear of underachieving. I was a quite lazy kid if you compare it with my abilities and environment parents provided me. I might give the impression that I did not care as everything came to me so easily. But in the end, this situation made me even more vulnerable. I was afraid to fail. I was afraid so much that once my adult life began I'd start working very hard. Hard, but not smart. Long hours, much pains. I learned a lot, but as I was driven by panic I didn't make to much of it. Well, I earned well and gained unprecedented skills that paid off later. But at the same time, that panic made me not as efficient as other people and a bit show off. I acted to be heard, rather for a sensible reason. That made me go randomly into politics and build action that ended up in the parliament. But all wasn't worth real fuss.
The second was fear being simple, which was fueling the first one. I couldn't be just another guy doing his job. I had to do something big. I had to have a band, even if I'm shit at playing my guitar. I had to lead bigger teams, even if that meant learning to deal with conflicts as they happen. I had to go to the bloody parliament and organise nationwide action because I said "ok, I'll do it". That fear had balls, but not brains.
The third was a fear of being alone. And that was the only one I really had. I was outsider since my early childhood. Too intelligent on one hand, too fat on the other, too lower middle class to fit anywhere. I never cared too much about neither material things or symbols, so couldn't find a shared identity. It was cool when I was in high school but became tiring when I became an adult. And still was a big challenge even when I found a woman of my life - as my hidden insecurities made me unhappy at work and chasing fake dreams.
I mean, yes, fake dreams. Sold to us dreams that we need to build a big business and earn loads of money (a myth that destroys many good people in the IT industry living in the shadow of Bezos, Gates, Zuckerberg or Musk). Dreams of massive cars, houses, trips to Bali (if you follow Instagram a bit) or being beautifully ribbed and with too perfect white teeth.
This all doesn't mean anything.
Once I had a chance to stop and think I realised what is the real priority. And that priority is just next to me, each day. In my case, it's the family. It's my son, but through him also my wife. And you know what? When "I" was replaced by "we" fears became less freighting and everything started to make more sense.
I do try to work out and eat healthily, but I want to enjoy tasty dinner with my love even if it's full of carbs and calories. I love to attend the gym before the work, but I prefer to leave later and make breakfast for my love if that gives my wife a bit of breath before the difficult day with 3 years old. I might spend nights hustling for the big financial gig, but I choose to spend time with family and have a healthy sleep. I could attend conferences and meetups, but I prefer to want to use time with my boy while he wants to spend time with me. I try my best to support our dreams, but also (thanks to my wife) we decide to live within our means, not above them.
That all gives great ease of mind, soul and heart. I don't want to overdo it. I don't want to chase something that will have no real value. And the real value is the happiness of the close ones. I lost my dad when I was in my early 20ties and I want my boy to have me when he will really need me. That's why I both try to look after myself but also not put too much stress on myself anymore. That's what we both try to do.
- Share duties and responsibilities with your partner.
- Don't reach for things you don't really need.
- Value the time with the close ones.
- Give yourself time and energy, to stay fit and put and mentally healthy.
- Never allow outside pressures to enter your home.
Those are my priorities and I hugly recommend similar ones.