Why do many folks settle for a life of mediocrity?
Why do we, as adults, abandon the dreams of our youth? At first, there might seem like a lot of reasons for this. But if we boil all of these answers down, we will end up with one answer, one word: fear. Why does fear play such a huge roll in whom we become or what we attempt to do in this life? And more importantly, what exactly do we fear?
Cognitive behavior research tells us that we beat up ourselves on a constant basis. Not physically, but internally. Silently, with the conversations we have in our own heads.
Where did we learn to do this?
Charles Cooley would tell us that our self-image was formed between the ages of 0 and 5 years old. A self image formed from the actions and reactions of the authority figures around us, primarily our parents.
Dr. Albert Bandura would say that it was formed from the feedback of our environment—parents, peers, the world around us. From the time we are born, we are encouraged to play it safe. Don't take risks. Failing is to be avoided. We learn to tell ourselves “You’re not good enough,” or “I am too ______ to do that.” We need to be accepted. Rejection is lonely, we should avoid it at all costs. We should sell our souls to feel accepted. Do whatever we must not to be rejected.
So we build walls around ourselves. We stay in our comfort zones. Our fear-based behavior drives us to self-insulate and isolate while we wonder, “Does anyone see me?”