#9 Neophilia and the Fear of Failure

A few weeks ago I was browsing through the internet and I came by the term “Neophile” or “Neophilia”.

Neophilia is the love/enthusiasm/obsession for what is new and novel, and it made me laugh reading about it as it was so relatable:

  • The ability to rapidly adapt to extreme change.
  • A distaste or downright loathing of Repetition, Routine, and Tradition.
  • A tendency to become bored quickly with old things.
  • A desire, bordering on obsession in some cases, to experience novelty.
  • A corresponding and related desire to create novelty by creating or achieving something and/or by stirring social or other forms of unrest.
  • A complete objection to or distrust of commitment.

Fears and Obsessions

“Philes” , (which is the suffix given to show that a person has a dear love or passion for the thing), and “Phobias”, fascinate me as I suppose I can relate to the people in the sense that they too are obsessed with things – either positively or negatively. I suppose you could say that I am obsessed with obsessions.

Obsession is a common symptom of ADHD, (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

I suppose that what fascinates me about these life-long obsessions is the brains dedication to the topic. My obsessions are usually short lived. I find something that interests/excites/stimulates me and then I spend every second either thinking about or doing that thing until one day something else takes over and that thing is forgotten about forever. To name but a few:

Juggling

Hypnotism

Gym

Arabic Language

I think that the reason for these short-lived obsessions is that they usually involve some sort of skill or challenge, ie some sort of mental stimulation and reward which addicts and a lot of people with ADHD search for:

  • With Juggling as soon as I managed to juggle 5 balls I lost all interest.
  • With hypnotism – as soon as I successfully hypnotised someone, (story at the bottom of the post), I lost interest and moved on.
  • With the gym and running, (natural Endorphin stimulators), I repeatedly trained myself until injury, injuring my shoulder, slipping 2 disks in my back and injuring my knees from running up and down hills. The gym cannot be, “completed”, you cannot, “win”, the gym and so it makes perfect sense that I chased this high as hard as possible – just like all the other drugs.

Even though I knew what he was saying was true, and that as well as learning Modern Standard Arabic, (the Arabic that is taught in schools and written in the Quran), you must learn a dialect to be able to communicate with people from each individual country.

I felt so deflated that I quit that day and haven’t looked back since. In my head I had, “failed”.

The Fear of Failure

During my time away I spent a lot of time thinking about the reasons for why I am the way I am, as well as the things that hold me back or still play on my mind so that I could release this all, so that when I arrived back in Barcelona I would be ready to lead the life I have always wanted, to work for myself and to only do things I enjoy.

I came to a lot of realisations, and one of these that I think a lot of people will relate to, is that I have an unhealthy and unnatural fear of failure.

The fear of failure has held me back all my life, it has stopped me from achieving my potential, first at school, and then professionally. I entered into jobs I had no interest whatsoever in, because I was scared of failing if I went solo – and launched a business which didn’t work out.

This fear isn’t a rational fear such as fearing that your business will fail and you will be in debt – this doesn’t bother me whatsoever – it is the fear that I will fail and then never try again.

Throughout my whole academic career I had never tried at anything at all. I put in the bare minimum effort to get what I needed and that was it. People were constantly telling me how smart I was and how much potential I had, so what did I have to prove? I thought that if I tried at something and didn’t get the highest marks, then it would mean that I had failed, and I was no longer smart. Looking back at it now it is clear that it makes no sense at all.

The Biggest Failure of My Life

This all culminated in, “The Biggest Failure of My Life”, which had been holding me back for 3 years and preventing me from backing myself to try something different, and do what I actually like – such as writing and creating projects/ business ideas.

I feel ridiculous even as I write this, as once I came to terms with it, I felt like such a weight had been lifted from my shoulders – and I felt like such a fool.

In my final year at University I opted to do a Dissertation/Thesis and I decided to myself that I would actually try my hardest at this and put in all my effort – as it would be a topic I chose, and a topic that interested me.

After however many meetings, sitting and brainstorming with my tutor, the deadline was coming and I decided to stop drinking, stop taking drugs and spend 2 weeks solidly writing this dissertation. This time sober was probably the longest time I had been without alcohol or drugs since I was about 14 and so it was a big deal for me.

I really enjoyed writing my dissertation, and the time sober, and I had come to the conclusion that if I had always achieved good marks without putting any effort in then logically, I would HAVE to achieve REALLY high marks if I put effort in.

When we went to collect our results I almost broke down in tears. I had received a First – but it was a LOW first. It didn’t matter to me that I was the only person that had got a First, or the praise and criticisms from my tutor – of which all were completely valid, what mattered to me was the number on the paper.

FAILURE

Everyone else was over the moon with their results, and I was trying to contain myself – I felt so ashamed with myself. People could see that I was on the verge of tears but no-one could understand why I would be upset and so I left.

I vowed that I would never try at anything again – because I never wanted to have this emotion and feel this feeling of utter failure again in my life. I never went back to the University and didn´t even go to my graduation to get my degree. To this day I still don’t have my degree. To me it all meant nothing because in my head I had failed.

When I started thinking through all of this – and saying it aloud to some friends that I had met – it all became so clear and so obvious. This is an absolutely ridiculous attitude, and not a healthy way to live.

I started thinking to myself about why I felt this huge fear of failure, where this immense pressure to achieve comes from. My parents/family have never pressured me or burdened me with anything, they have always supported me and left me to make my own choices. This pressure comes from within.

The Pressure to Achieve / The Pressure to Win

The pressure or desire to achieve is obviously a positive thing, but failure should not be feared – it should be welcomed. I realised that if you constantly achieve what you set out to do then you learn next to nothing along the way.

Failure teaches us what we need to avoid and allows us to fine-tune our skills.

OBVIOUSLY I wasn’t going to achieve the marks that I desired in my Thesis when I had never studied or properly researched things before. All of my tutors´ criticisms were completely true – and I learned from them all.

The Fear of Sounding Stupid

A more recent example of this was my fear of speaking in foreign languages, (weird I know – seeing as I have spent the past 10 years studying languages). This had always held me back and caused me to progress a lot slower as I HATED speaking – in case I made a mistake or said something that wasn’t 100% grammatically perfect.

This always caused me to be a different version of myself and more reserved and introverted, as I preferred to listen to conversations instead of involving myself – the opposite of what I am like in English and very uncharacteristic of someone with ADHD.

It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I was speaking with the Spanish wife of an English man. We were a group of 10/12 and all of us were English, and speaking quickly, debating etc. I thought it was so courageous of her to be there with us all, and to be involving herself as much as possible. Her English was amazing of course, but I still thought it was so admirable.

On the 3rd day I was speaking to her in English and I said that I have this fear of sounding stupid and so she challenged me to speak to her in Spanish. Once she challenged me to do this, it was literally like a mental block was in place and I couldn’t access that part of my brain, (at first I couldn’t even get a single word out), but I really fought through this and started speaking with her.

She told me that my grammar was perfect and that I didn’t speak with an English accent. This was literally all that I needed to hear, and the mental block vanished. From that moment on I have been totally comfortable talking with people.

I have lots of Spanish speaking friends who I speak with all the time and who have told me this before, but I was always held back because of this fear and it made me feel uncomfortable.  

We have to be willing to accept the positive things that our friends tell us about ourselves, even when our insecurities are telling us that they´re not true.

Insecurities Hold Us Back

The point that I am trying to make from all of this, is that our brains and our insecurities put these mental blocks or restrictions upon ourselves and hold us back. Everyone has insecurities, which when spoken aloud, are almost always unjustified.

I am too ugly, I am not smart enough, I look stupid etc. are all the common ones  – but none of them make any sense.

Once you realise that your insecurities are often the only things that are holding you back you can start to work on them and overcome them. This is the only way to be able to live a care-free life.

Push Yourself Out Of Your Comfort Zone

You need to challenge yourself and push yourself out of your comfort zone in order to face your insecurities head on. It is the only way that we can have a chance of overcoming them.

This week I wanted to challenge myself and put myself in what, for me, was an incredibly uncomfortable position. I went to a poetry/ storytelling night and did a 10 minute piece just to explain about ADHD, my life, my problems and the work that I am doing now to try and help people.

It was the 3rd most uncomfortable situation of my life, (after looking after a child, and singing at an open mic), but afterwards everyone told me how at ease and comfortable I looked. This proved to me that this fear and insecurity was literally all in my head.

I have also entered a Poetry Slam competition where I will have to learn and perform 2 poems that I have written and so I am nervous but also excited to complete this challenge.

 Self Analysis and Introspection

For me it took a lot of time and practice to be able to start self-analysing and trying to find the roots and causes for all of my issues. Some people are far more in-tune with themselves and get so overwhelmed by their feelings and emotions, as they don’t know how to deal with them.

Sadly a lot of people are in complete denial that they have any problems or issues and refuse to open up and try and sort themselves out.

Upcoming Plans

I am planning to start a Podcast and then alongside this a Youtube Channel with some Vlogs and short videos about different topics, but this is something that makes me feel uncomfortable and so I had been putting it off.

I had also been putting off, (and making excuses to myself), about making my Documentary about the Amazon – as I was worried that I would never create something that I was happy with. I am not a professional and so it will not be a professional Documentary – OBVIOUSLY!!!

Since the start of the blog, lots of people have been asking me to do Vlogs as it is much easier to follow, and a lot of people don’t have the time for long blog posts, however, I kept putting this off as  wellI HATE being filmed, I HATE taking photos, and I hate having to use Social Media to promote my page.

My motivation to go and do the storytelling/poetry and put myself right in the limelight in a much more uncomfortable position, and just get over this hatred/fear, is the pleasure I get from helping people who are struggling with similar issues such as ADHD and addiction.

Every day I have people from around the world messaging, asking for help and advice and I like to be able to just listen or just give my personal experience on the situation.

The Comfort of Speaking With a Stranger About Your Problems

People gain a great comfort from speaking to a stranger, and for a lot of people, admitting the problem to a stranger on the internet is the stage before going to a Therapist or seeking help.   

Anyway all of this is to come and more so please Like, Share, Tell your friends etc. as much as possible. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing then a simple like of my Facebook page is enough.

I have also joined a network called the School of Life which is an invite only community of curious and interesting people who share and discuss all sorts of topics. I would recommend checking it out, (I am not a paid sponsor). Here is the link to download the School of Life app

Curiositividad – The Social Experiment

One of the nice letters that I have already received back

Please also check out my new Social Experiment called Curiositividad where I have been sending letters to people all around the world to re-ignite the art of letter writing and spark peoples creativity. It will be a really cool project and is the opportunity to be part of something different so check out the page and sign up!  

LIKE, SHARE, TELL FRIENDS

If you would like to contact me you can contact on any of the methods below and I will always reply. Comments, Criticisms, Questions and Suggestions are all welcome.

The Quest For Wisdom Facebook Page

@TheQuestForWisdom

Conorsquestforwisdom@gmail.com

Donations

Obviously maintaining a blog is costly and time consuming and I have great plans coming up, such as Podcasts with different guests, Vlogs, and an active Youtube channel.

Any donations would be graciously received via my Patreon account

The Hypnotism Story

I had been studying hypnosis, different methods of hypnotising people and all about the effects and benefits of hypnosis. I finally reached a stage where I thought I would be able to actually do this using the pattern break method.

Two friends had come to visit me at University and we went on a night out to a club. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to practise the hypnosis.

I used one of the many pattern break methods to hypnotise my friend at the bar. During hypnosis you can make people freeze and unable to move. I made her put her hands on the bar and then me and my other friend got up and walked off. She was stuck in that position with her head down and her hands on the bar and we watched from a distance and laughed.

When I went back to wake her up and snap her out of it she said it was the weirdest experience of her life. I decided it probably wasn´t a great idea to go around hypnotising people for fun, and so when I tried it on a flatmate and it didnt work I happily gave up.

#8 A New Addiction To Natural Highs

Words cannot describe the journey I have been on this weekend. I went from a state of complete and utter turmoil and chaos to flipping everything into the most positive experience of my entire life. What I have learned from the incredibly successful, intelligent and driven people that I spent time with is that literally the only motivation in life should be from happiness and searching for those natural highs.

Since my last post life has been absolute chaos, danger, destruction, and impulsivity due to my medication having not yet taken full effect again. I have had to ride this rollercoaster and just deal with each day becoming easier and easier. I have never felt so bad and so overwhelmed in my life.

Continue reading “#8 A New Addiction To Natural Highs”

#7 Spiralling Towards Insanity Once Again

Apologies for the massive delay since my last post. My couple of months in Brasil I spent training Martial Arts, (Muay Thai, Capoeira, Jiu Jitsu, Judo and a bit of boxing). I dedicated myself completely to this and so couldnt focus on anything else. It was extremely challenging and I spent basically all day trying to make sure to eat enough food to fuel myself for the intense training. My first few sessions I pushed myself so hard that I puked and I realised that I needed to slow down and try and focus on the technique not just brute force.

Martial arts are amazing. They teach you patience, give you structure, keep you motivated and push your body to the limits. I need to continue this here in Spain so that I can really develop. Although I learned a lot it was all too much too quick, and it is something that requires a lot of patience.

Slow Down and Breathe – There Is No Rush

This is something which I need to apply to life, SLOW DOWN, relax, breathe and take things one step at a time. During the last couple of months in Brasil I was so absorbed by the training that I missed out on opportunities to explore and overcome some of the other challenges and personal problems that I wanted to resolve.

This left me feeling a bit deflated and I went from being excited to return home to nervous. The last 2 weeks of my trip I had run out of Atomoxetine, (the medication I take for ADHD), and so I split the dose so that it would last until I arrived home. I probably could have found a way of getting it whilst I was there but I was also stupid and curious to find out what it would be like to be off the medication and if I really had been, “cured”.

Continue reading “#7 Spiralling Towards Insanity Once Again”

#6 The Drug That Changed my Life

This article will go more into depth about the process of starting treatment for ADHD which I mentioned in my article about seeking help for Alcohol Addiction.

It explains the whole process of getting treated and what I experienced along the way, in a way which I hope is easy understand.

I am happy to say that this article concludes the introductory “autobiographical” story and brings everything up to the current date with where I am now, both physically and mentally.


From now on I will be able to focus more on what I am learning from my travels and experiences and writing about different things that I pick up along the way and hopefully starting a video log and potentially making a mini documentary in the Amazon.

Continue reading “#6 The Drug That Changed my Life”

Live Life With Zero Regrets

I spent a large proportion of my childhood in Irish pubs in the UK and Ireland, and so spent a lot of time speaking to drunk, but sometimes very wise, adults. As a curious young child I would sit there quizzing them about their lives – where they´d been, what they had done, why they had done it. Always “why” , “why” “why”.

For some reason people have a perception that to ask, “why”, is rude, intrusive, or annoying – when in reality, if the curiosity is genuine, and people are probed, they often love to open up and explain things.The “worst” reaction you can get from asking, “why?”, is that someone says they would rather not talk about that topic.

One thing that has always stood out to me from my chats with friendly drunk, (mainly Irish), adults was the sense of regret about things that they had missed out on or not taken the chance to do.

The overwhelming feedback I got from my conversations was that it is SO important that we take the opportunity to do as much as we possibly can whilst we have no commitments or responsibilities, otherwise we will live our lives regretting not taking the opportunities.

Our years before we choose to settle down and have a family are the years to experiment, explore, take risks and do the crazier things in life that become less accessible and realistic once you have a family.   Live life with zero regrets whatsoever. If there is something you want to do find a way to do it without worrying about the consequences. Do not ever life thinking that you cannot do something because of obstacles.

Obstacles are something which are challenges yes but every single possible obstacle has a solution. To live thinking of the past and something you wish you had done but were afraid is stupid. If you need help or guidance in order to achieve your goals then just ask for it.knowledge sharingThere are always people that will be better equipped to give you the tools that you need to achieve greatness. Self doubt and fear of failure is something that we all have within us but “failure” is just a societal concept that is drilled into us from birth.

Whether you succeed or fail in your pursuit of a goal is irrelevant. If you have failed, but you have given your best then consider that a win. You have put your effort into something and found out that it may not be something that you are good at or particularly interested in but every experience has invaluable knowledge and wisdom that can be learned from to improve your future self and becoming the best version of yourself that you can be.

Life is about success and failure but curiosity should be the thing that we use to leave no stone un-turned. Curiosity is thwarted by fear of the unknown but so long as we have people to guide us and make us feel comfortable then there is literally no barrier whatsoever.

Society teaches us to be narrow minded and think of just what is in front of us. From birth we are taught to follow mainstream education, go to university get a job and become society’s puppet. We are told we HAVE to get married, get a mortgage have kids and continue life in a bubble.

For a lot of people, a stable family and marriage is all that they want and this is fantastic but for a lot of people they feel the pressure from society or family etc and feel they are obligated to rush into this.

Once you make the decision to have children let it be because you are ready to devote yourself 100% to your children and give up your free time and money for 18 years. Do not do it for fear of leaving it too long. 

#1 The Quest For Wisdom

I would like to start by introducing myself and my reasons for starting this blog.

Throughout my life I have met countless people who have asked me to keep a record of my life and my experiences, and very recently I made the decision to start writing a journal and saving memories, so that I can write memoirs which may inspire/entertain or shock some people.

I was born as a “gifted and talented” child with a very high IQ, and at age 5 I was diagnosed with ADHD, which was untreated and un-managed, due to the fear of medication, until about a year ago. Because of this, my childhood was utter chaos and like roughly 75% of people with ADHD I was instantly addicted to everything I ever came across. Continue reading “#1 The Quest For Wisdom”

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