How fear can inspire greatness

“I’m intimidated by the fear of being average.” ~ Taylor Swift

I look at someone like Taylor Swift and I see a talented young woman that seems to have made it to the peak of her chosen career. That quote tells me that she looks in the mirror every day and sees something completely different. I often look at celebrities and wonder what it is that drives them to keep working when they could easily just walk away and live a life of wealth and comfort. If the quote by Miss Swift is to be believed, it would appear that [intlink id=”695″ type=”post”]fear[/intlink] may very well play a big part in their decision.

Another famous quote states that fear is a great motivator, but it tends to be fear of different things that spurs on that motivation ([intlink id=”666″ type=”post”]how to live your dreams without any fear[/intlink]). When you think of what Taylor says, you have to wonder how she goes about measuring whether or not she is average. Any artist who produces something for the masses is going to have to put themselves in front of the slings and arrows that are sure to come from the people that absolutely hate what they do. The question then becomes whether or not her idea of average is measured in her own mind or by how people react to what she produces musically. For example, she may put out an album that she feels is her best work ever, but which is shunned by her fans and lambasted by music critics. It’s my belief that you have to set your own levels, as listening to what other people think of your efforts may end up dragging you down to an average level.

My interpretation of the quote by Taylor Swift, which I am by no means claiming is correct, is that average has little to do with the end result, but rather the effort that is put into it. There are always going to be people who hate everything that you do, but if you go out of your way to try and appease everyone, you end up turning away from what it is you do really well. The moment you change your work ethic or believe that you have gone as far as you can, you become average.

If you really take a moment to think about it, the vast majority of us are average at best and don’t really excel until fear takes a hold. A perfect example of that can be found in a person that has been doing the same job for years. They may be good at what they do, but they also realize that there are people around them that do the job better. They think that if they just keep their head down and doing the same thing as they have been all along, everything will be fine. It’s not until the company announces that layoffs might be coming up that the person realizes they have average for altogether too long. Fear makes them think about how they have been operating and causes them to raise their game, hoping that it’s not too late to be noticed.

Fear can make us all do great things and raise us above mediocrity, but we shouldn’t let that be the thing that gets us started on the road to success. If fear is present, it usually means that we are concerned about failure or not having done enough when we had the chance. It makes you wonder if it was fear that drove Miss Swift to the levels of success she is achieving right now, or whether that fear arrived the moment she made it to the top of the mountain. Success and acclaim can vanish just as quickly as it arrived, but it usually happens when we choose to get complacent and settle for being just average. Miss Swift quote is no guarantee that she will stay at the top of the music charts for years to come, but it does tell me that she will do everything she can to prolong her time at the top. Maybe it’s time more of us started thinking the same way and stop waiting until fear kicks us in the behind.

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Morgan is the founder and editor of REALITYPLEX. After suffering from a life-threatening accident, he realized that the way we perceive things around us is based on our beliefs, emotions and experiences. In an effort to draw the line between perception and reality, he launched REALITYPLEX in 2011. Get to know him better and connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and G+