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SMOLDER: Overcoming fear is key to success

Column: Breaker of Chains

One emotion and characteristic all humans share is the idea of fear. 

We live our lives under the constant anxiety of failing tests, being robbed, not getting accepted by that person, being killed or even finding your passion. This idea of fear is something that has certainly captivated me for quite some time as I am sure it has captivated others. 

When people fear they put their fears in the perspective of themselves being the main character. Meaning it is only human nature to look at our own fears and establish that it is only you who is feeling these powerful negative emotions. It is extremely hard to conceptualize that other people have gone through the same exact fears and doubts. 

What I find very interesting is the idea of thinking about past worries, doubts and fears. I know that these powerful fears that I have for the most part go on forgotten in only weeks and days. I can not remember what it was I was afraid of a month, year or even sometimes a day ago. 

If these fears are so powerful, why are they almost immediately forgotten and why do we care so much? 

No one who achieved anything worth achieving did so without doubt and fear of doing so. All great works of art, science and literature were done under the umbrella of fear. 

I believe it is important to understand that fear is temporary and almost completely unimportant. Doubting yourself is not what will take you to success, but instead moving on in spite of what might happen. 

I was very humbled earlier in the week as to some of my own fears. Midterms are just around the corner, if not already upon us. I, much like many students, was fearful of failing my exams. 

The idea of failing a midterm and then failing a class was very distressful and as a consequence, it had taken much of my brainpower to constantly think about. 

While I was thinking, I was scrolling through social media and saw one of my friends from high school that had made a post about someone I knew. Upon closer inspection, I found out that a colleague of mine who had gone to the marines had recently returned from boot camp. I thought how great this was. 

Eventually, after reading the post, I found out this person had just passed away. The day after he came back from boot camp, he fell asleep at the wheel and crashed his vehicle. 

I felt so humbled as I thought about how I was sitting here and worrying about things that have not happened. Imagine how this kid’s parents must feel. What kind of worries must they have and for them, some of their worst fears have already occurred. 

It is hard, but it is necessary to put worries and doubts behind you. Some of the greatest among us certainly have. 

Zachary Smolder is a School of Engineering freshman, pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering. His column, "Breaker of Chains," runs on alternate Fridays.


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