Why do we watch scary movies? We hate fear with a passion, and we try hard to avoid it. Nevertheless, for the price of a ticket, popcorn, and a soda, we go into a dark Colosseum and allow the programming to scare the hell out of us. Sometimes this goes on for two hours. It amazes me because a lot of us allow fear to hold us back from being successful. A lot of us let fear stop us from reaching goals, talking to someone we are interested in, going out with friends, and falling in love. Yes, even falling in love. But why? Is fear in our DNA? Was fear somehow taught? Or maybe it’s what we fear that holds us back rather than fear itself being the problem. The things we fear have several names. However, for this blog, I will acknowledge fear by only two names: Rejection and Failure. When I think about my childhood, rejection and failure were two things abundant in my life. Sadly, I don’t remember anyone teaching me how to deal with rejection and failure. It’s like sex education class. Sure, we learned some stuff in class, and it was awkward. However, we learned more in the real world. What we were taught in school was not the same as having that awkward but real conversation with our parents.
We fear failure so much that we will change our plans to avoid experiencing it. Maybe there is something you want to do in life that requires you do have a degree in Math, but you are so afraid of failing the class that you make up an excuse that math isn’t for you and then change what it is you wanted to do. The problem is you’ve used the excuse so much that now you believe it to be the truth. Maybe you didn’t apply for a particular job for which you are qualified because you told yourself that you weren’t skilled in that field, but it’s only true because you allowed yourself to believe it. When you speak something in life, it becomes true because you said it. If I tell one person I am a writer but tell two other people I am trying to be a writer, I am no longer a writer. The truth I created was that I am trying to be a writer rather than admitting to being who I feel I am. The realities we create with our words and thoughts are what helps feed our fear of failure or rejection. If I go to court and the judge asks me if I remember speeding, I will respond no because that’s MY truth. Now, sure, there is probably proof that I was speeding, but what matters is my determination not to pay the ticket. So, I create my truth by saying, “Your Honor, I apologize, but I don’t remember speeding. I was driving safely while trying to make it to my job.” That is MY truth. The idea of truth is misguided because you feel it shouldn’t be a lie to be true. This is not true.
Another term that needs to be introduced is Confidence. A great song that comes to mind when I think of the word confidence is J-Cole’s “Wet Dreamz”. The entire time he is talking to this girl about having sex, his confidence is through the roof, and so is the girl’s. But, when he is alone, he is terrified. The lyrics state he looks up videos and practices what he’s going to do to her so when the encounter happens, he will be prepared. Then he learns in the end that she also is doing it for the first time. His confidence not only pushed him to continue but also helped pushed him to learn more. He did research and practiced to help boost his confidence. I’m sure we have all faked being confident about something in our lives before. For example, when a boss asked could you get the job done and you replied yes, but internally you were dying because you weren’t sure you couldn’t handle the task. However, having confidence helped with your truth. Your words have so much power behind them. So, when you tell yourself you can’t succeed, can’t pass a class, or can’t talk to someone who you like for fear that they will reject you, it becomes the truth because you have made it your reality. So how does one change their “truth”? How can we create confidence out of thin air? If I told you the answer was to believe in yourself, would you stop reading right now? Yes? Well, I probably would, too. As a child, I never understood why the solution to every problem that involved fear, lack of self-confidence, or having self-doubt was to just believe in yourself. If I could have done that in the first damn place, I wouldn’t be so terrified. I’m positive someone reading this is like, “But, Mr. Copacetic, I believe in myself, and it has helped.” Sure, but it’s because you knew how to create confidence within yourself. If I asked you to explain to me the process of believing in yourself, could you teach it to me? So, this is our first problem, learning how to believe in yourself. My answer is not absolute; it’s only my way through years of practice through my perspective. So, what do I do? I lie to myself. Anti-climactic, I know, but it’s the truth.
I wake up every day telling myself that I’m the shit. I wake up every day telling myself today is going to suck, and that it will be the worst day I’ve ever had. But, I also convince myself that I will have a solution to every problem that presents itself. I tell myself this on the hour every hour until I have no choice but to believe it. I say it so much that I feel the energy of my lies turning my doubts into lies of their own. Believing is just that. To believe is to have an understanding of something without proof. The more you lie to yourself, the more you will believe. I hope it makes as much sense to you as it does for me. Right now, I am saying to myself as I write this that you will completely understand what I am talking about. So, that’s the first step. Lie to yourself so much that you have no choice but to believe it.
Unfortunately, we need to talk about the next step because it’s the most crucial step of all. Now don’t get mad at me when I say this, but you should welcome failure and rejection with open arms. I know I just talked about believing in yourself and lying to yourself until you come to terms with your new truth, but hear me out. If you played a game that my friends and I created, would you win if I never told you the rules? What if I only told you one of the rules, but every time you played you won? No matter how many times you played or who you played against, you always won. Well then, what have you learned? Would you even care to learn more or create a strategy to help you achieve victory? Of course not, because based on your perspective, what you are doing is perfectly fine since you keep winning. You have to teach yourself how to get back up after you fail. You have to learn why you failed and why you got rejected. What you learn helps you strategize for the next battle ahead.
Think about Ali and Bruce Lee. Do you think they were perfect fighters on day one? Of course not. They had to train, learn, and of course, lose. They learned as much as they could to become the greatest at what they did. When you lie to yourself, you have to tell yourself it’s okay to fail. Say it enough to where it becomes your truth. By increasing your confidence level and gaining an understanding of failure, you will lose your fear of failing and being rejected. There are plenty of ways to get over your fear of failure and rejection. The methods that I have shared with you are what have worked best for not just me but also the friends I surrounded myself with who had the same problem. You are only as great as you say you are. It’s like when people compliment you by telling you that you are beautiful. For some of us, even if we believe they are being truthful, sometimes we don’t believe it ourselves. So, to answer my first question, I think the reason we continue to watch scary movies is because we want to learn how not to be afraid of anything.