Fear is a very visceral emotion. It grips your gut before you know it. Even when you know it, it’s too late. Your body’s already reacted sharply. You break out in a cold sweat, you become breathless, your heart starts racing and what not.
I studied in Psychology class in school that there are two basic fears- fear of the darkness and fear of heights. I’ve never been afraid of the dark. Metaphorically, that aligns to fear of the unknown.
As Anne of Green Gables says, I like bends. One never knows what lies around the corner. It’s only when things don’t go your way that you start to worry. I took a risk in changing my field of study from English to MBA.
Many people tried to dissuade me, including someone who had done exactly the same. I was apprehensive too. I hadn’t studied math for five years. Still, I thought it would be exciting.
Well, it was too exciting. The naysayers were right. I was a fish out of water. I took a while to grow shark fins, but they did sprout eventually. I’m glad now that I took the plunge.
As Nietzche said, what does not kill you , makes you stronger. Well, it did come near to killing me emotionally- the difference. Still, I survived. And felt the fitter for having done so.
More than the alien subjects, it was the alien environment. People with different priorities, different worldviews. Immensely practical people. Well, I like to think a bit of me rubbed off on them and a bit of hem definitely rubbed off on me.
There were days that I cried. Days I couldn’t sleep. But with a little help from my friends, I scraped through. Even did well in some subjects, inside and outside of class.
Sticking to one’s strengths is important. So is being true to your USP. That’s how I remixed the Bard’s line, To thine own self be true. Too often, in playing it safe, in staying in our comfort zone, we get bored. We don’t grow. We don’t challenge ourselves.
Being in an adventure might seem glamorous while reading about it in your armchair, but it can be nerve wracking actually being in it. Still, that’s living.
B-School may have lasted for a couple of years, but the lessons lasted longer. Not the ones in class, but the ones outside. How to make a CV. How to present yourself. How to get work done. How to adapt. How to assert myself.
That confidence helps me even now. Any time I feel fear, I take a deep breath and remind myself, if I could get through that, I could get through anything.