Anxiety is now the most common mental illness in the US and affects over 40 million people, the majority of whom are young adults. Worryingly, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) has estimated that only 36.9% are currently receiving treatment, leaving most to suffer alone with no assistance whatsoever.
We are living an anxiety epidemic.
Performance anxiety pushes many people over the edge, particularly young adults. The constant feeding of other's lives into ours is a powerful comparison engine. People are looking at others through carefully curated social media feeds all the time. Even the most popular TV programs are reality shows where people watch other people's lives.
I have been informally coaching many entrepreneurs and some talented ambitious professionals. In one of these conversations, I was surprised by a fairly talented individual who didn't seem to have any scary goals.
I see a lot of smart people who decide to push back against the "achievement culture" also known as "hustle culture" to not fall prey to the looming threat of burnout and anxiety. But this can grow into a type of blasé attitude or even a cynical view of life.
Fear of failing is a big component in generating anxiety. However, Stanford professor Jo Boaler explains in her book Limitless Mind:
"It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default."
Not all fear is equal: There is bad fear and good fear. Bad fear scares you into paralysis. It’s “cold sweat” fear. Good fear is the one that scares you but at the same time produces excitement. It’s “butterflies in the stomach” fear.
A life with No Fear is a boring life.
A life with Bad Fear is a crippling life
A life with Good Fear is a fulfilling life.
The mediocre are invincible. They never lose because they never try.