Xeno Hemlock


The Two Sides of the Fear of Control

A Decade Long Story

It took me almost a decade before I began taking steps towards the direction of my dreams. A lot of reasons paralysed me but fear was the biggest and baddest wolf of them all. When other people said that the thing you want the most would scare you the most too, they spoke the truth. I wanted to write so bad but I was scared to death of writing.

There were lots of hurdles along the way. Insecurity. Inexperience. Social conformity. Doubts. Fear. But once I got over the first hurdle, the next ones didn't really stand a chance. Yes, fear reared its ugly head every now and then. Yes, challenges still presented themselves. Yes, there were perfect and imperfect leaps. But a thought had already formulated in my mind, a thought that helped me carry on the path towards the dream - "I could do it." Getting over the first hurdle affirmed that I could do it. And I just had to repeat the action again and again.

With that belief planted in my mind, passion and energy filled me. The awe and amazement from accomplishing the collective feats took me to exploration and discovery. I finally discovered the joy of blogging when I didn't understand it before. I learned what it felt like to have an audience even if it was sometimes an audience of one. I entered territories of technology I wasn't previously familiar with. Every new blogging platform I stumbled upon, I had to try it out. I had to sign up.

After some time, maintaining multiple blogs became overwhelming. Publish this article here. Copy it and paste it on another. Publish it there, and there, and there. Write something different for this blog. Make each content unique. I was doing a lot of repetitive stuff and my creative energy was being used unwisely. Soon enough, it caught up with me. My multiple blogs took up too much of my time, time better spent doing other things I wanted to do as well. Alas! I had no choice but give up some of them.

The two situations, the decade-long procrastination and the refusal to let go of my blogs, were manifestations of fear - the fear of control. But it has two sides. One was the fear of TAKING control and the other was the fear of LOSING control.


The Fear of TAKING Control

Most people are afraid to take control because of the following reasons:


They don't want to take responsibilities

Most people do not want responsibilities placed upon their shoulders. Instead, they want the easy way of doing and achieving things. Being responsible means being accountable and being the driver of your own path. Yet people want to be led by the hand and get to the reward without having to sweat for it. In my case, I didn't want to take control of my writing career because I felt it was a heavy burden. 

I spent ten years fearful of living my life the way I really wanted to because I didn't want to be responsible for my destiny. What I wanted was for someone to magically discover me and hand me the award saying that "Hey, you've won Best Literature or something". But I didn't write any book. How could I win Best Literature or something? That would never happen.

Once I accepted the fact that I am responsible for my life and destiny, step by step I walked towards the direction of the life I really wanted, armed with courage and faith.


They don't want to experience failure

Being responsible brings along the possibility of failure. Here's the truth - most people are terrified of failure. The image of it has turned into something celestially terrible. Like He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, failure became He-Who-Must-Not-Happen. But here's another truth - failure is an opportunity. It's an opportunity to learn what doesn't work and what might work. It's an opportunity to grow. It's an opportunity to gain experience. Still people believe He-Who-Must-Not-Happen must not happen and any thing that may allow it so must not be done. People do not want to take control because there is a chance they will fail. In my case, I was indeed afraid of failing: being criticised, reaching no audience, and writing crap.


The Fear of LOSING Control

On the flipside of taking control is losing it. Control is power and people do not want to lose it because:


They like having power

When you're in a position power, you call the shots. You feel secure. You feel invincible. Others have to adjust to your terms and not the other way around. But this position of power can sometimes get to your head, inflating your ego, blinding you from things that are going wrong, and can even alienate you from others. Power is a double-edged sword. In my case, letting go of one of my blogs meant I didn't have any power at all. Because I declared I could do it (maintain all my blogs) to appear powerful, letting them go is relinquishing my power, any or all of it.


They do not like unpredictability

Unpredictability scares people. They want everything to be laid out for them, to be pre-determined for them. It's like watching a movie and they want awareness of all the twists and turns of the plot beforehand so when they finally arrive they can say, "Hey! I saw that coming. You can't fool me." Unpredictability causes people to scramble, to step out of their comfort zone, to look for other ways to make things work, or to be creative. Similar with responsibility, they don't like that. No room is allowed for unpredictability. In my case, I thought hoarding those blogs would allow me to see ahead of my career, like having all the weapons you can take with you to battle. Letting go of any of them, would raise the unpredictability of the outcome of the fight.


They do not want to admit their mistakes

Now our lives now more public than ever thanks to the Internet and social media, people have become afraid of admitting their mistakes. They look at mistakes as stain on a shirt that could never be rid of. They believe admitting mistakes will make them any less as a human being. They treat admitting mistakes as admitting that they are scums of the earth that could never do right again. All of that is wrong. In my case, letting go of any of my blogs meant admitting my mistake of believing I was superhuman and I could do it all. Nothing wrong with being a superhuman if that's possible but I had to admit that I could not do it all.

Related reading: Y Nut?


Yes, we must take charge of our life. That means being in control of it. But there should be a balance of taking control and losing it. How fun is a road trip if you know where you're going all the time? How fun is a joyride if you don't know where you're going at all?