Blog: Fear is Temporary but Regret Is Permanent

Strategic HR

Fear is Temporary but Regret Is Permanent

Various fears prevent us from embracing change, however it's better to take that leap rather regret later
Fear is Temporary but Regret Is Permanent

Often over a drink during the weekend we hear conversations about how many of us are frustrated with the state of our current affairs. Be it our jobs, bosses, roles, organizations, or in general our life – we make elaborate resolutions, plans and blueprints to change it and come Monday we are more than eager to go back to the old trap and get adjusted to the so called uneven world completely forgetting Friday’s resolutions.

Something similar is also witnessed at workplaces during Monday to Friday; the bosses and organizations want to break the old routine way of functioning, they want to do something new which would be ‘Industry-First’, do something which others have dreaded to explore and so on. After the first few ideas, we start ensuring that we do enough revisions which eventually leads us back to our current state with some minor changes and all the grand plans of Next Orbit go back to files which we will never open again…

Is bringing about a change so complex? Is letting go of our comfort zone so tough? Is the fear of unknown so compelling? Is the path to new frontiers filled with hurdles… hurdles which the external environment creates or hurdles we create ourselves?

To understand this state lets go back to the basics. Why do we need to change in the first place? Is it because we are bored with the current state or are we aspiring to do something new because we believe in it?

In the latter case (because we believe) it is the compelling and inherent need to learn and experiment, that drives us towards the path of new frontiers and hence many succeed in it. But in the former case (bored), we often chicken out because of many fears as explored below:

Fear to start again

As we start the journey towards new goals, many of us are apprehensive that if we fail to achieve our aim we might land up losing what we already have achieved and that would mean going back to square one again (starting from zero). The idea of starting from zero is a big deterrent for many as we are very proud of our legacy and are not ready to risk it. For some it is also a concern that would the ecosystem help them as it did in their first run of success?

Fear of Failure

Success unfortunately not only makes us complacent but also arrogant to an extent wherein we expect to see ourselves always in the right spot and limelight. A journey towards newness doesn’t guarantee success and thereby doesn’t excite many of us. We look for guaranteed success which is possible when the goal is a mere minor change and not a complete transformation.

Fear of Unknown

The inherent need to control everything around us (micro manage) has extended to all facets of our lives, interestingly it has extended to the results of our efforts also. Even before completing the journey we are keen to predict the results and update all the stakeholders. A journey which is too unknown and without much control on the variables around is a “definite No” for many of us as fear of the unknown is troubling.

Inability to distinguish between current compulsions and compulsive dreams

Many a times the need for change is driven by our daily compulsions or frustrations and they overpower priorities and drive the agenda for change. Any change has to be driven with great deal of passion which can come only if the agenda for the change is driven by a compulsive dream and not some frustration or compulsions.

Frustrations and compulsions are momentary in nature whereas compulsive dreams have greater longevity which eventually give strength from time to time.

It’s a lonely journey

We have failed to distinguish between a Marathon and a 100 meters dash. Long term change/major change takes time and cannot be achieved overnight. During this long lonely journey one has to have the courage and conviction to deter the critics and keep following the journey. In this world of mutual admiration where our every sneeze or snooze is ‘Liked’ by someone, we are made to believe that without positive affirmations from time to time we can’t move on. All Marathon runners agree that during the run we all hit the “wall’ at some point of time and it requires greater self-belief than anything to overcome it.

In short there is no guide and guarantee to be successful every time we embark on a change or journey.

What is critical to us? Is it to understand and appreciate that fear is a default setting for any change and thereby it would be there at the beginning of the journey but start evaporating as we see the destination? Is it critical to understand and appreciate that the regret of not making the journey stays longer and most of the time is permanent than the fear which we face at the beginning of the journey?

Comparing the two, the balance surely tilts towards making the journey as fear is temporary but regret is permanent. Regret Is Permanent (RIP) also signifies death of our quest to achieve something new which is in our DNA as a species.

Chuck all the Competencies and just focus on the ‘Joy of Serving’…

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Topics: Strategic HR, #ChangeManagement

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