When we talk about making bold moves in our lives, especially those which involve radical changes to established paths and plans, we normally see that the will to change may be huge. However, this will may be thwarted by the sheer fear of taking such step. Such fear may very well paralyze us, making us literally give it up. So, what exactly is behind this fear that stops us from trying?
In one of his lectures, Alain de Button talks about a very interesting concept, stating that one of the things that fuel such fears is the fact that we are surrounded by snobs.
According to him, a snob is: “Any person who elects a small part of you to determine in an absolute manner who you are as a whole”. The main type of Snobbishness is the “Job snobbishness”, whereby the first thing you ask when you meet someone new is “What do you do for a living?”
Based on your answer, the person who has asked you the question will decide whether they would like to get to know you better and even if they would like to talk to you for a little while longer. Chances are this decision is based on the fact that you are very high up in the hierarchy or you’ve proven yourself to be “materially” wealthy. This happens because society has been conditioned for many years to think that way.
The interesting thing behind this concept is that the root of the fear we feel is not not being materially wealthy or even not having a coveted position in itself, but rather the direct consequence of such things: that we will not be accepted, well-liked and loved by others. After all, if I take a chance, but don’t succeed in a culturally accepted way, no one will want to spend time with me anymore.
The truth is that it is indeed very common to have such fears, be it consciously or not! When I decided to change careers, my fear of failure and of not being accepted was huge; so huge, in fact, that it made me back off the change entirely multiple times. I still sometimes feel this fear creeping up on me.
The good news is that this mindset is changing! More than ever we find people who ask “who are you?” instead of “what do you do?”, and it has become more common that people want to be around other people who are happy just being themselves. It is also more common to be different and not care so much about what is socially acceptable.
In the end, is it really worth paying so much attention to those who are more interested in what we have, than who we are? Maybe all of this is good to help us sort out the people we are surrounded by and remain close to those who really like us for who we are and not for the accepted images of what it would be cool to be.
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ashleyrosex/