Have you ever been asked, “If you could have one super power, what would you choose?” Common answers include the ability to fly, have x-ray vision, read minds, or be invisible. These would surely be fun at party and may make the daily commute easier.
Although none of these powers are realistic (in our lifetime), I wonder how much of a difference being able to fly would really make in terms of quality of life? Eventually the novelty would wear off and you’d probably end up in a lab being studied.
If given the chance to be granted a super power, I would choose to be totally immune to what others think. Can you imagine the freedom to try new things without the fear of being judged? Can you imagine the ability to be yourself 100% of the time without trying to fit in or impress anyone?
If you ever tripped on the sidewalk and quickly scanned your surroundings to see who was looking, you know the feeling of being judged. It may only last a moment, but these moments add up throughout the day as we worry about being late to the meeting, if we are wearing the right clothes, and what our colleagues thought about our presentation.
We have a limited amount of time and energy. I often wonder what I might be able to accomplish in life if I could put ALL of my energy into my dreams and never had to spend another minute worrying about what others thought or if I was good enough. Can you imagine? What would you do?
- Sing karaoke?
- Do the Electric Slide?
- Run for Mayor?
- Quit your job?
- Get a divorce?
- Move to another country?
- Stand up for yourself?
- Try out for American Idol?
- Become a professional juggler?
As I get older, I worry less about what others think in many aspects of my life. However, as I try new things and take more professional risks, that familiar anxiety tends to creep up again.
I am usually able to “rationalize” my fear away by telling myself that I don’t really want to sing karaoke or try out for Shark Tank anyway. But when I dig beneath the surface, it is often fear at play.
For now, there is no magic pill that will give us a super power, so we need to muster the courage to face new challenges each day. And although we may feel afraid in the moment, it seems even scarier to look back on life and have a bucket full of regrets of things not tried.
In the meantime, I will continue to wonder: If we could give up worrying about what others thought and use 100% of our energy to propel us toward our dreams, would we all be able to fly?