The other day I met a nice lady on the train back home. She mentioned that she was studying English at a local university, so after talking to her for a few minutes I gave her my contact information and wished her good luck with her studies.
Surprisingly, I got an email from her a few days later telling me how she was worried about her future because she felt her English had plateaued and was at a loss with what to do.
My reply started with, “Thanks for your message. This may sound a little crazy, but I’m glad to hear that you’re worried about your future. Too many people aren’t – now that’s scary.”
I then proceeded to ask her some questions to better help her.
- Why do you want to be fluent in English?
- Why don’t you have much time to study?
- What are you doing to learn English now?
- What is your dream?
I was curious to hear her answers, but as of today (three days later) I have yet to get a reply. Maybe my questions intimidated her…I’m not sure.
For some people, being scared is a good thing – it forces them to reevaluate their life and the direction they are heading.
Sometimes we don’t need a crystal ball to see where we’re headed.
I think Jim Rohn’s example of a person’s philosophy explains this best:
- “Guy slips in late on the job, they don’t seem to notice. He stretches his lunch break 2 hours. Nobody seems to mind, 4:15 he’s the first one on the parking lot heading for happy hour. Guy says ‘Best as I can calculate I’m putting in about a half days work & I’m collecting a full day’s pay.’ And the guy says ‘I’ve got it… made.’ Little does he know the seeds of his own disaster are already being sown by his lousy philosophy.”
People with this kind of philosophy are always hoping that no one ever sees through their act.
But in the end, it always catches up to them.
Hopefully their fear of getting caught causes them to make changes before it’s too late.
That is the positive power of fear.
Unfortunately, fear has another side, one that is quite destructive – it can paralyze you from taking action.
Things can seem so overwhelming that rather than taking some action, people choose to take none. Hoping that a solution will miraculously present itself.
People who let fear control them, let time slip away from them and as a result of not taking any action, still have to deal with the problem at a later date.
They act as if it’s no big deal.
They look the other way.
And the result for many isn’t pretty.
Fear can push us forward or hold us down. Only we have the power to decide which.
I hope the lady I met on the train will use her fear to begin to make the changes necessary to help her achieve her dreams.
As Lao Tsu once said, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”
I hope we all decide to take that first step.