The fear of starting something or I would like to call it "the fear of start" is a human-generated fear that is caused when human nature is challenged on doing something relatively new. We as human beings are creatures of habit which stick to what we are comfortable with and fear to adapt new things in our lives easier. When this fear is not treated or dealt with it can lead to a lifelong phobia called Neophobia which is the phobia of new things in life.
But before we talk about this fear more, why are we talking about it in the first place?
Good question, see I have been examining myself for the past 6 months to see how I am progressing. By processing my progress from the past 6-7 months through rereading my journal, it seemed that my problem is starting rather than maintaining something.
In other words, it is easier for me to progress in something rather than starting which is similar to when I started reading books, at first I was setting myself back but now I can read up to 4 books in a month because I have trained myself to read also saw the benefits that came out of reading.
The fear of the unknown
What contributes to the fear of starting is the fear of the unknown or in other words: the fear of not knowing the outcomes of a certain action.
We fear to start something when we don't know where we are heading with it, will this give the results that I am expecting? We won't know until we indulge ourselves into it but then your inner self warns that you might be wasting your time doing this certain action and you might not get the results that you are expecting hence you start fearing it and curb back to your comfort zone.
A good example is giving feedback at work, if you are known to give feedback then the process is a breeze to you because you know that your feedback will be taken into consideration but what if it is your first time? You will start to feel hesitant about your actions of whether you should say it or not, if you get what you are expecting then you are more likely to suggest new things in the mere future but when we don't get what we expect, we tend to fear it and run away from it or just straight up not talk about it as if it didn't exist.
The fear of doing a mistake
Another contributor to the fear of starting is the fear of doing a mistake, and it is not about perfectionism.
What differentiates perfectionism and the fear of doing a mistake is that perfectionism is more of an ego-centered event that the outcome has to be perfect no matter the mistakes that have been done throughout the process whereas the fear of doing a mistake is when doing a certain action regardless of the intentions when you fear of doing the slightest mistake so that others don't judge you for it.
It is not about being perfect or performing an action perfectly but rather acting with no mistakes so that others don't judge or pinpoint out things.
We as human beings take things personally and we rarely can differentiate between something personal or not.
It is totally fine doing mistakes from time to time, not because we have to but because we are human beings, we are made to do mistakes and fix them.
When I was 17 and I was starting to work as a software developer, I started to face the well known "Imposter Syndrome" which makes me feel like a fraud in the field that I am in. Years passed and right now I am 22 years old (as of writing this post) which I have overcome imposter syndrome when it comes to a technical level.
But still, at this very moment, I face imposter syndrome but not on a technical level. I face it on a work ethics level where sometimes I am not able to start a project or work on something even though I have the technical skills to accomplish those tasks.
This is not only work-related but also my side projects and almost anything in life: I have the skills and power to perform this specific thing but something holds me down and makes me feel like I am some kind of a fraud.
This is way different when I was 17 years old. When I was 17, my imposter syndrome focused on the part that I might not be writing high-quality code which results to doubt myself that I am not that of a good developer, but right now at 22, I know my quality of work but the issue is that I feel like a fraud writing code for something that I don't know if I can manage with. This shifts the spectrum where it is not about how the product is being developed but rather the project as a whole: am I able to handle developing a fintech project? can I develop a fully customizable e-commerce website? can I develop a money management service that helps you create budgets and organize your spending? The thing behind it is that I can develop websites, develop mobile applications, develop complex algorithms but am I able to do the project as a whole?
I still don't know.
How this fear is affecting me directly
Whenever I try to do something new, I get into this shock mode where I can't find out where to start, how I am going to start, and more which results for me to fear this certain thing even though it is completely harmless.
I'm a huge overthinker and I overthink almost everything in life to a point that even the smallest things in life I overthink them, maybe I have done something wrong when doing it or probably I would have done it in a better way.
There are so many great ideas and events that I wish I can do them but since I don't know where to start hence I end up being in the same spot without moving a bit.
Can't you just do this thing and move on?
Saying something is easier than doing the action like I will tell that starting your own company is as easy as pressing a couple of buttons and there you go, you have a company but in reality, it is more than that.
Also back with the company example, the way you start it will show how it will progress later on which is something I truly care about hence overthinking about what is the perfect way to start it which leads to the fear of starting this company in the first place.
Memento Homo: Remember you are only a man
Remember you are only a man which implies that you are prone to do mistakes and not get things right. Sometimes we tend to forget that we are human beings, we think we are some sort of a high supreme race that can outdo anything but in reality we are just human beings that are prone to do mistakes constantly and allow our emotions to play a role in our decisions.
Am I doing something to fix this issue?
It is not something new actually and it had accompanied me throughout my life but definitely, I am trying to find a solution for it. If it wasn't for my daily journal, I would have not known about this issue.
I am getting back to my roots of bullet journaling actually even though I am no longer a huge fan of it but I think that it organizes my thoughts well and gives somewhat of clarity to work on.
I am gonna give it a try for the next month to see if I am able to progress and if not then I will most likely shift towards a different strategy.