I remember my grandparents talking about growing up during a rough time in America’s history. The Great Depression was a devastating blow to the country and the current “recession” for all of its challenges really held no candle to the 1930’s.
In response to the collective struggle of the people of that time, it motivated an entire generation to take hold of their future and buckle down. No longer were they going to be victims, no longer were the lack of resources or opportunities going to hold them back or oppress them.
So they went to work.
My grandfather (after he returned from his time serving our country in WWII) jumped into agriculture and worked sixty years in the cattle feed business. When he retired, it took three people to replace him.
My grandmother on the other side of the family has worked in real estate for over forty years. It was a value of life to work hard and the empowerment (or fear, let’s be honest) kept them working hard.
Today’s a new day and a generation is responding completely differently than the generations before to the idea of stability, the workforce, the idea of a “career,” and good old-fashioned elbow grease.
I believe the freedom’s we’ve grown up with and the lack of adversity we’ve had to face in our lifetime have made us both entitled to the following phobia but also at its mercy:
fear of responsibility
There are a HOST of additional side fears that accompany this phobia, many of which we’ve already referred to (atychiphobia – the fear of failure; teleophobia – the fear of definite plans). But this one is unique.
Another way we employ a “flight” response to our fears and phobias is through justifications. I heard someone say recently “I’m not afraid, I just don’t want to.” Here’s the harsh reality though: if you have to reassure yourself you’re not afraid…you probably are. And let’s be honest…not wanting to looks a lot like a flight response to fear.
Because overcoming your fears is HARD WORK. You’re right. Choosing to fight the fear will be brutal. Courage isn’t easy, preferable, and (especially in circumstances where your fears are hurting no one but yourself) quite easy to dismiss.
But taking responsibility is a movement without necessity. In Jewish culture, boys and girls become men and women at a young age. With great ceremony, a boy will celebrate a bar mitzvah which not only signifies his entry into manhood, but also the expectation that there will be s shift in his life where he will be expected to take responsibility.
Often times the reason we don’t want to take responsibility is because if we do, we could miss the golden opportunity. We live idealistic that our dream job won’t feel like work at all! If hard work hurts, we reason, then it can’t be the highest and best use of my time.
In many cases, we want to GET ON WITH IT and will find a place to practice what we what to do instead of going through a developmental process to prepare us adequately for the task. We have a Macrophobia or “a fear of long waits” about our lives and too many men and women from my generation are sacrificing the world changing contribution of “later” for the small, incremental projects of “now.”
Again I ask: who decides how this goes? Are you stronger than your frustrations? Are you in control of the time necessary to be groomed for an earth shattering contribution?
Look at your life. If you’re not working hard, someone/something else might be in charge…and it might be up to you to take the reigns back.
Xanthophobia – fear of the color yellow
(as an aside…no other color gets its own clinical name…just yellow…)