The Kenyan Nomad

The Kenyan Nomad

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Dropping Inhibitions

Picture courtesy of
What is an inhibition? To prevent you the trouble of googling a definition, I'll show you the ones I got: "a feeling that makes one self-conscious and unable to act in a relaxed and natural way" and "a voluntary or involuntary restraint on direct expression of an instinct". If you really think about it, these two definitions make perfect sense (thanks Google), and you really start to wonder how many times you have been held back by inhibitions.

I'll give an example that many of us might have encountered at some point or another. A crowded room, music playing cheerily in the background, people laughing and weaving in an out of crowds. Suddenly you see a face you think you recognise, but can't seem to place. What you really want to do it go say hi- but something holds you back.

We encounter inhibitions in more situations than just weekend parties. How many times have we been held back because of fear of failure, or rejection, or embarrassment? Like it or not, inhibitions may be holding us back in many ways; professionally, socially and personally.

By trying to fit in and be 'normal', we are kept from being ourselves. Giving in to our inhibitions can leave us with a feeling of inadequacy that lingers long after a specific incident has passed. If you're good at something and you know it, inhibitions can get in the way of allowing you to excel. By giving in to your inhibitions, you get conditioned to avoid these sorts of 'negative' situations, and may not realise how much you're missing out on!

Think about this scenario for a second; you've been working really hard at your job, and you know you've been doing really well too. You think that you may deserve a raise, but feel inhibited, and neglect to ask your boss. Think about these sorts of situations happening on a regular, almost daily basis, and you may begin to understand why you've learned to hold back and prevent yourself from getting where you deserve.

How do we overcome inhibitions? It's important to realise that you need to break free, and you need to want to break free. Expose yourself to things and situations that scare you (there we go again with fear being a good thing), and learn not to step back at the moment that you most want to. Don't escape the negative feelings; instead, deal with them, think about them, and ask yourself what they're telling you about yourself. Step forth, and free yourselves!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Let Your Fear Take You Higher

I think it's a very small portion of the population who can claim that they're not afraid. For people like me, who're in a transitional phase of their life, fear can be something that we learn to deal with on an everyday basis. I had addressed the issue of fear in a shorter blog post last year, but definitely felt like it was time to talk about it again.

Where does fear come from? I think that if we dig deep enough, this fear comes from being lost, from being disconnected with our purpose(s), from uncertainty. As I've mentioned many times before, so many of us get stuck in 'the rat race'. We end up doing things that we think we're supposed to be doing, while really being afraid to dig deep and explore our dreams and fears, and this ends up leading to unhappiness and a sense of not being fulfilled.

Why is it that so many of us are afraid to dream? And if we do dream, why are we afraid to follow through? Why is it that dreamers, those who have courage to follow their dreams, those who are very happy with their lives are the exceptions rather than the rule?

I think that part of the reason this is the case is that we have created a society that is so afraid of failure, that people would rather not try at all, lest they end up failing. When children are growing up, they are not afraid of showing their ambition, but as they grow, they are told to tone down this ambition, to stop dreaming so much. There are some lucky few who don't let society and educational systems diminish their abilities to dream and to believe in themselves, and I wish we could all be more like them. I've heard it said that a young Serena Williams was asked which tennis player she'd like to be like, and she responded by saying that she'd like other people to be like her. Incredible insight and ambition, and quite obviously, a determination to follow through!

Leaving aside the people who're afraid to dream, and who somehow may be able to convince themselves that they're happy where they are, I think it's even more depressing to think about the people who DO dream, but don't follow their dreams. Saying that they lack the courage to follow their dreams is but a small part of the equation, and I wouldn't like to phrase it that way, since it puts the blame on these people. Rather, I think the problem is that society and educational systems don't do much to help instill this courage in people when they need it.

Of course, this isn't always the case. I know, and I'm sure you all do too, about many, many wonderful people and educators who believe in their fellow community members and those under their tutelage. These people do everything they can to encourage and support, but sadly, sometimes it's hard being the only one in a system doing the encouraging and supporting. When one person is telling you that you can while everything and everyone else is showing you that you shouldn't, why would you believe them? If someone tells you that you can dream and also follow your dreams and be happy and successful, yet you see so many around you who're so discouraged, why would you believe them?

Thankfully, those who dream and are afraid to follow their dreams have a little bit of an advantage: their fear.This fear that they feel can be incredibly motivational. If you're afraid, it means you know there's more for you out there. It means that there's a part of you that knows you can do it. You can use this fear, channel it into making it work for you, into supporting others who may be dreamers afraid to follow through. I was rereading a Robin Sharma book last night, and one sentence really struck home with me. I read it, and was so overwhelmed by it that I actually had to put the book down.

"The very fact that you have a desire or a dream means that you have the corresponding capacity to realize it."
-The monk who sold his Ferrari

I'm afraid too. Why shouldn't I be? But I choose to look at this fear as something I will conquer, something that will teach me more about myself, something that will actually propel me in the direction of my dreams.

If you're afraid, recognise that that's not a bad place to be. Let your fear take you higher.

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