If you say it doesn’t matter you’re lying!

How many times have you heard someone say, “what they think about you is their problem”? And had this thrown at you ad nauseam, “It doesn’t matter”.

So much BS! A lot of our life is devoted to gaining acknowledgement, be special, be recognized, be loved. So why do keep getting brain washed by all the best mentors, speakers, self-help gurus, inspirational leaders who say, “don’t worry about what others say or do or think, do what you want to, be yourself.”

Well honestly, I have never actually got beneath that statement enough to figure it out. I mean hey, are you seriously telling me that when you come first in the race, or manage to actually run the marathon, or sing in front of the crowd or get that role after auditioning for the nth time, or win the “star employee of the month” award, or when someone at work says something really nice to you about how you handled the presentation, or when the bus driver actually waits till you get on board, or when the guy at the pastry shop puts in an extra marzipan chocolate in your gift pack, it doesn’t matter? Of course it does. By Jove!

I know when I used to come first in school, what my grandparents or my aunts thought mattered.
I know when I chose an outfit and got it tailored (yes not very long ago, I used to get my dresses tailored), I was silently praying for the nods of approval from my cousin or aunt or friends.
I know when I did a good job with the content for a website, I would have my heart in my mouth (still do, after so many years of doing the same) till such time the client approved it.

I know it matters. I know what others think, say, do, about how you look, feel, or treat you as a person matters.
I’m not sure what the context of “it doesn’t matter”, “be you,” “be true to yourself” really means, because at the end of the day, each of us is really playing out a role, trying to somehow win some kudos, some recognition from the “other”. We start off on a mission with the faith that we can do it. But why do we start out “doing”? What is the “driving force”? Isn’t it a doffing of the hat from others as you pass by saying “well done?”. No? Then why?

Let me know. Because I refuse to believe that Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg or Ariana Huffington did what they did because it didn’t matter what others thought or said or did. Where would they be if no one bothered about Apple or FB or Huffington Post? So give me another yeah?

So next time someone says, “don’t worry about what others think”, think about it. Think about if the person saying it to you actually believes in it himself. We’re geared to please others. In the process if we somehow develop a mindset of actually believing that what others say doesn’t matter, how others treat you doesn’t matter, as long as you have unshakeable belief and faith in your ability and have a really tough and thick hide, well, goof for us.

Did you think that courage was the absence of fear?

FEAR!      F-E-A-R!             FEEEAAAAAR!!!!

I get goosebumps even as I write the word down, mind you! Fear! Just a simple 4-letter word you would think. Not a chance honey! Fear is that one powerful word that can:

  1. change the status quo of your heart beat.
  2. allow you to froth at the mouth
  3. make you beg and plead for mercy
  4. have a million thoughts churning in your head at full throttle
  5. make an agnostic completely devout and faith-full
  6. make you take risks that you never thought possible – it’s called leap of faith maybe?
  7. ruin your appetite, give you ulcers and perhaps be the root cause of your irreversible illnesses (really? is that even possible? I thought my illnesses were because of the processed food / genetics/ rare disorder/ environment/ self-medication? And you’re saying my fear could be the root cause? So I eliminate fear and I can be cancer-free for instance? Hmm! Maybe. The point is no one can actually eliminate fear completely. Which is what I was coming to and the point of this entire post is. It’s about the conquest of fear. And replacing fear with another f-word. Guess!)
  8. make your friends into enemies
  9. give you x-ray vision and you can see ghosts where none existed
  10. help you swallow your pride and ask to be saved
  11. make strange bedfellows with greed and insecurity and allow you to feel complacent
  12. take you to the nadir of being humane without letting you on
  13. blind you to itself and weave veils of illusion around your befuddled and fearful mind
  14. make you want to be the best you can be
  15. spend sleepless nights in a toss-turn-hallucinate-toss-turn-hallucinate continuum that you fear you may never wake up from
  16. ensure all your relationships are f&%$ed!
  17. can make you wealthy and successful beyond belief
  18. can also make you aspire to be more than you can be
  19. help you survive (ever seen Bear Grylls doing his thing on Man vs. Wild? Maaan! He’s something and I think his FQ (Fear Quotient) must be pretty low. He’s seen it all, been there, done that and his belief in himself and in that other F-word keeps him going!
  20. help you value LIFE when it hits you in the solar plexus and knocks your breath out.

Because when FEAR wrestles with you, the only chance of survival is when you give yourself over completely to that other F-word! It’s 5-letters and anyone who needs miracles in their lives needs to inculcate this pronto, NOW! Dunno what I’m talking about? It’s called FAITH!

Do you know what happened before I decided to pen this post, here, right now? Firstly I was overcome by fear! Fear of:

a) Writer’s block having come to occupy me like Occupy Wall Street
b) my writing not having the power to move even an ant, let alone a human being
c) having my memory cells slowly and surely being drilled away by termites and my memory crumbling around me like powdery dust
d) my Outlook crashing/ being infected/ and all my emails disappearing (it has happened incidentally, the Good Lord knows I’m not lying and that there’s a worry gnawing away at me this very instant even as I write this (what will I do? will it mean all my emails are gone forever? why didn’t I take that back-up? will my emails be on my mail client?) and on and on like a carousel gone wild goes that inner voice of mine)
e) not remembering the movie that I saw last night and all the wonderful dialogues that made an impression on me and made me think of writing a blog post on that
f) just not having flow  – you know the stuck-ness that you feel sometimes where nothing that you say or write sounds right? It’s like trying to get into a tee-shirt or jeans that’s too tight – you wriggle, you jump, you shake – nothing! It won’t budge.

That’s like 6 friggin’ things that went through my mind as I was logging in to write my post after a week. In the space of maybe 10 mins. What the F#$@! Another F-word! Sheesh!
And then I realised that no one, no human being can ever have the absence of fear. In fact if you don’t fear anything then that’s a fearful space to be in. Because fear helps you survive, helps you decide, helps you take that leap of faith and be superhuman sometimes.

As long as you don’t allow fear to paralyse you into taking those risks, those actions that allow you to fulfill your potential, you’re okay. As long as you look fear in the eye, you’ll be fine. As long as you can outrun, outgun, outsmart fear and confront it without blinking, without taking a step back, without hesitating, you’ll be fine.

Because fear cannot, should not be eliminated. It’s about sifting it, learning to understand what it’s egging you to do, then you can conquer it, turn it around and make it your best friend. If fear allows you to go out there without second-guessing yourself, allowing FAITH to have your back, that’s the time to sport the badge of courage. Because courage is not the absence of fear, but it’s conquest. I did it just now. I couldn’t think of words to write. I was fear-full. Then I closed my eyes, meditated and my Faith came back on, blazing headlights et al. I won today! Yes!!

Go forth! Stand tall! Crush it!!

And while you’re doing that, try this one on for size – sing this song imagining that you’re singing to a girl/ guy called ‘fear’. Have fun! Peace out!