ten seconds to validate your life

What’s in your list of top five favorite movies of all time? Mine is a bit of a cheat, since three of them are in the Lord of the Rings series. That only leaves two slots to work with. But the first movie to make one of those slots did so way back in high school when I was introduced to Chariots of Fire. I didn’t fully appreciate it then, but I soon did. I mention this because it contains one of my favorite scenes, and it is terribly appropriate for what I am feeling about now.

Harold Abrams waits for the culmination of his lifelong fight–winning an Olympic medal. While he prepares for the ten-second race that will validate his life, he faces his biggest fear. He fears that, once he reaches the pinnacle, he’ll find it empty. He won’t find that elusive validation there. He’ll have no idea what to do.

For the last two weeks, I’ve been sensing that some of my hard writing work is about to pay off. There have been too many pieces falling into place, too many “coincidences” of God’s word, too much perfect timing, even for me, the perpetual skeptic, not to see this. So–elation, right?

How about terror? This reaction was so not expected. Unlike Abrams, I am not afraid of being let down. But I am terribly afraid of letting others down. I’m afraid that I’ll be found out. That I’m really not good enough. I can’t write. I’ve been a poser all along, and now everyone will know it.

Plus, what might happen to my life? It would change. It would require work. Hard work. And adjustments to my schedules. And doing things I don’t like, such as actually talking to people. I am totally unsure of whether or not I like this. And this reaction comes as such a shock.

I’m convinced, though, that the fear of success isn’t all that uncommon. In fact, I suspect it cripples a lot of us. It’s so much easier to stay where we are, where we know we’re not challenged, where we’re not exceptional, but we’re comfortably OK. To chase down and tackle our dreams invites failure. Failure stinks. To succeed invites change. Change is scary. It’s safer to coast.

What do you think? What do you do when you’re scared to scale the peak you know is in front of you for a reason? Or is there a peak, and you know it, but you’re pretty sure you’d rather stay safely on the plains?

I’ll climb if you will. Actually, I’ll climb even if you won’t, because I have to do this. But I’d love it if you came along.

2 thoughts on “ten seconds to validate your life

  1. I appreciated this post today! I tend to just quit when I think there might be a chance at success especially in the area of writing. My self doubt takes over and suddenly everything on paper looks terrible and I'm the worst writer that ever lived on Earth. 😉 I hope someday that changes…


  2. Oh my goodness–I did that just before this writer's conference. I alternated daily (hourly?) between “I can do this,” and “This is the worst drivel ever put on paper.” It happens so easily. That's when I realized it was fear steering the boat. I suspect it only ends as we push through it. Sigh.


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