Robert's Random Ravings

Why am I so fearful?

I find myself in a strange position lately. Many years ago, I set about to write a program in a language that I did not know. I immersed myself in books and tutorials and ended up being fairly expert at coding in VBA (Visual Basic For Applications) and then Visual Basic itself. So I know that I am able to learn new things and learn them well.

So why is it that I find myself afraid that I am no longer able to do this?

I have several projects in mind that I want to develop in a completely web based environment. It is different in many ways from the kind of programming I used to do professionally, but the concepts are not all that different. Yet I am almost frozen in apprehension. What if I can no longer pick up new things?

I wonder how many other people have had these kinds of feelings. My guess is that it is fairly common. Fear of the unknown, etc. Just because you have done something before is not a guarantee that you can do it again. On the other hand, the fact that you have should give you (and me) confidence in future abilities.

I am facing the same kind of situation with music. I play the keyboards and the guitar. I was a singer and songwriter as well. I have not really done anything musical in over 15 years. I have keyboards and guitars at home. I stare at them all the time. But again, I find myself afraid to pick them up and play. Why? I wish I had the answer for that.

I like to excel at everything I do and so it can be difficult to go through the awkward learning stage. I am sure that this is one of the underlying reasons. But I have been successful at both programming and music in the past. Why so much lack of confidence?


07/21/2009 - Posted by | General | , , , ,


  1. I just wanted to say that I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. It sucks to have fears that control you on any level Rob. I can relate to how bad it feels, so I am sorry you are dealing with it.

    Comment by Jamie Siever | 07/23/2009 | Reply

  2. I have my theories. Some of them are based on my personal experience, and some on what I know about you.

    1) We are both getting up there in years, and the evidence is everywhere. Getting old means we are not retaining as much information as we used to, and we are learning more slowly. It’s not a final word, but it is part of why it becomes harder to be as sharp as when we were twenty. Put another way, how many coders do you know in their fifties?

    2) There is an ubiquitous pessimism in our world today. Even those of us who are not expressly affected by the economy directly cannot help but experience the dramatic downturn in attitudes of many who we encounter. It’s the hardest thing to avoid, people who are lacking an encouraging spirit.

    3) You might not have your vision for this project as clear as you need to. In working on the minutiae to prepare, have you stepped back and really looked at the original objective recently? You have several important irons in the fire. How have you been keeping your focus?

    4) What have you been doing to cultivate inspiration inside you past the completion of milestones? What have you done to stoke your coals lately? I know you travel and stay busy. Now, you need to lift yourself to new heights of self-motivation. You need more than knowing that you did something of checked another box on your to-do list.

    I am finding inspiration in discovery and hope, when I cook or draw or do anything that I have come to see as part of who I am. On the canvas of my life, I have painted so many odd things. Most of it I embrace, and I reject several things on principle. But I can tell you that sometimes, my overanalytical brain halts because the creativity triggers other feelings, like regret and forgotten pain. I wonder if you ever have those moments of contemplation and hesitation.

    Find your inspiration. It’s more than John and the kids. It’s more than seeing the world or your love for this creation and your opportunity to see it. Something else inspires you, and your heart will be glad when it’s grinning again.

    Comment by Neal Klein | 07/23/2009 | Reply

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