We all have a way of rationalising our fears. We cook up cock-and-bull stories to make our fears seem real to our own minds. Something always holds us back from going out and staking claim on what could be ours. We procrastinate, we delay and, eventually, we forget. Then just like an annoying pop-up box the images of what could have been ours, but we were too weak to claim, make an appearance every now and then, gnawing and jeering at us; nagging on us every living moment while we just lie there, manufacturing newer excuses to rid our minds of it.

The question is how far can a man go about like this? What stops us from being what we want to be or having what we desire? Without beating around the bush, I say it’s we ourselves. We have been conditioned to search for validation in every venture of ours, such that we forget that we have a life, independent of the by-stander’s views. Doubt is instilled in us from a very impressionable age, making us believe that we shall always have to strive for attaining the perfection that the world deserves. We, by ourselves, are not enough and we have to keep on trying. From childhood we are trained to become a vital cog in the giant wheel of society, such that each and every action of ours is measured on the touchstone of social practicality. In other words, whether it would generate the amount of appreciation necessary to boost up our egos, which are completely at the mercy of strangers’ input. So much for being free.

The veracity or applicability of my sweeping generalisation would differ from person to person, but the reality is we are trapped in a world of people having same doubts and problems as we. Though as a society we have progressed beyond the wildest of imaginations of the greatest of imaginative minds of the past, we are yet to grow mentally to accustom ourselves to the travails laid bare by our own minds. We seldom think ourselves to be fit enough for something from the outset, we always doubt ourselves at the most baseless of criticisms and rarely do we generate the kind of self-belief to see us through on our journey. In a world where individual talent is so mercilessly slaughtered for collective gain, how is a person willing to slay the inner demons supposed to find succour?

Society sells us the idea of freedom to keep us busy in material pursuits, culling out any propensity to actually liberate minds by instilling fear of punitive action in case of non-conformity. The moment a person questions the norms, he is branded heretic and declared a threat. The entire society then collaborates to dispose of this man or, if possible, the idea of becoming free. For sake of security, man toes the line drawn by society, and parts with all notion of real liberty, in lieu of an illusion. Making validation necessary has been the masterstroke of this organic collective to ensure that individual dissent is always kept in check.

When a man liberates himself from the vicious grip of validation and conformity, only then does he stand a chance of actually succeeding. Fear is product of insecurity regarding societal acceptance. Once a man sets things into right perspective can he understand his true potential. There is no manual for overcoming fears and insecurities. One has to find out a way out himself. The only true help can come from within. But that comes at the expense of shattering your ego, letting go of things that bind you and overcoming the trained impulse of seeking validation. Set yourself free by understanding your own worth and not going by what others have to say about you. Nobody knows what you’re worth, as nobody has been inside your head. Don’t procrastinate, as it is the hallmark of being in a comfort zone. Don’t be afraid of losing your job, falling behind your own material expectations or not reaching where others wanted you to be, as these are merely the parameters against which the world judges you.

Life is too precious to be lost in mindless pursuit of acceptability or fitting in. Don’t fight against the might of the world, just proceed on the path you have chosen for yourself after a determined introspection. Let not the world gauge you by what you have and don’t judge people by what they lack. Make your mind a fortress and always keep it fortified. Let not a single doubt creep in, as you were never made to fail. Don’t get into rat race, but keep a stable mind, undeterred by the ills of the world, just keep walking. Live free.