Almost never do we close our eyes and walk off a cliff (unless we are bungee jumping). It’s nearly impossible to do it even when the cliff is a metaphor, because the fall is always real. It’s exhilarating and scary to fall down the face of a metaphorical mountain without knowing when you are going to hit and what you are going to hit. While the average Joe might call this ordeal something as oversimplified as ‘taking a risk’, I choose to differ and call it the cocoon experience.
You must be wondering the reason behind such terminology. To wond-er is human, surely. But I am sure you will empathise with me once I break it down to bite sized pieces. A period of struggle is a very private experience for most people. We are trapped willingly in a enclosure of our own thoughts, fears, doubts and existence. Until we hit a tiny sliver of success, we do not let any amount of light inside.
We shun normalcy and happiness on the quest for our dreams. It is that period in life where your cushion is missing. A period where your only option is to run in a direction entirely perpendicular to the one you were supposed to take. It certainly gives you perspective. Imagine running parallel to your finish line. You are almost there but not quite. Isn’t it simply frustrating? Don’t you think it crushes an average mind and scorches a mediocre soul.
For the first time, after being an adult, I decided to take that leap of faith and hope that I end up doing what I want to. This is what every single one of us wants to do. Jump over the divide that separates our dreams from our reality.
And the only superpower that gets us across that chasm is Hope. The hope that we will survive, we will make it through. When we retreat into that cocoon, we enter a state of self-doubt, worry, successes, failures and most importantly hopelessness. And that becomes our worst enemy.
In reality, no one ever thinks that they are going to fail. We are all just afraid to admit that we are confident. I recently brushed the dust off my suit and walked into a very important interview room for the first time in four years. I know that I am good at what I do. I know that I deserve that chance that is being offered from the other side of the table. I am confident about myself. But every time someone asks me “How do you think your chances are?”, all I can come up with is ‘not very good’. Is this an absence of confidence? No. Is this an absence of talent? I sure hope not.
It is the fear that rises from the thought of failure that doesn’t let me escape my own mind. That fear is what keeps us from believing in ourselves. Yes, the world is unfair at times. Yes, people get unfair advantages over you at times. But that doesn’t mean that you are any less. I fondly recollect Marcus Cicero’s words here:
I never had fully grasped the meaning of this until now. All the people who have cracked jokes about how mysterious women are have clearly never fallen prey to the immense evil of the human psyche.
To everyone out there, trying to reach their goals, I know it’s tough. I know how terrifying it is to wake up in the middle of the night thinking that you might fail. I know how excruciatingly painful it is to keep up the facade and tell everyone that everything is fine even when you are crumbling to dust. We all are in this together. Let’s hope the summits turn out as beautiful as we keep imagining. I do not know how true it is but someone did say that ‘This too shall pass’
“Like every man I am my own worst enemy, but unlike most men I know too that I am my own saviour.”