“The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential…these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.”
I frequently dream about my sister Sun, my spiritual guardian angel. This week, I dreamed that she bought a new apartment on the 90th floor in a skyscraper building in downtown NYC. While the building and apartment looked so posh, like a 1930’s pre-war vintage hotel, I felt a deep fear of riding the elevator to the 90th floor to reach her apartment. Because the number 9 is so significant for me and Sun (as each of our birth dates — month and day — add up to 9, the number that represents the yin and yang reversed), I knew Sun was sending me an important message. When I asked Sun, in my dream, why she had bought an apartment so high up, she replied that she had no worries about it and that I should be OK with it as well. When I woke up, I kept on thinking about this dream — asking myself why I was so afraid to go up to the 90th floor. Later in the day, Sun’s message became crystal clear: do not be afraid to climb high, dream big, and reach for the stars.
While my company slogan is “Reach for the Moon” for obvious namesake reasons, I have a deep fear of reaching for the moon or the stars, for that matter. I fear not only failure, but, even worse, that I might feel unfulfilled or inadequate no matter how high I reach. When this fear becomes overwhelming, I use binge eating to alleviate it, so it becomes a self sabotage and kind of punishment to myself. I think many of us have the same fear, which causes us to self sabotage our lives by becoming paralyzed, so we never reach our full potential. More profound, our deeper fear than feeling inadequate is the fear of radiating our own magnificence. In her book “Return to Love,” Marianne Williamson says, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” When we outshine others, we fear of being that lonely black sheep. Deep down, we just want to be loved and accepted by our fellow humans, so if we stick out by being great, we feel we have isolated ourselves from others. I noticed a suppression of my own light shining in myself: when people compliment me, I become self-effacing because I’m afraid that I will appear different and, therefore, not loved and accepted by others.
As ironic as it may be, our fear of our own magnificence is what holds us back from being magnificent. So in order to avoid having our own unique individual light shine onto the world, we make endless excuses about why we’re not achieving our goals, dreams, and aspirations. Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? “I can’t get that job because the economy is bad,” “I didn’t get that promotion because my boss is a jerk,” “I can’t do this because…” (just fill in the blank space). At the end of the day, whether the economy is bad or not, whether your boss is a jerk or not, they are all excuses for why we’re stuck. No matter how bad a situation may be, there is always a creative solution to a problem, but because of fear, we become paralyzed, which is when we make endless excuses — a vicious cycle of passiveness leading to stress and depression.
Our excuses are also fueled by all the idle opinions from family, friends and society in general, as we spend too much energy kowtowing to others and society’s expectations, rather than listening to our hearts and beating to our own drum beat. So when we hear words of discouragement from others, we question ourselves and our path. While receiving advice can be useful, we have to be able to discern what is constructive and just idle chatter. When we can learn to listen to our inner voices and have confidence in the certainty of our path, then we can decide how much weight we place on others’ opinions. But when our ears are too close to the white noise by others, then we can’t be objective about ourselves. So, it is important to be able to think and evaluate independently.
While tapping into our spirituality can enormously provide clarity and answers to confusion in our lives, I have seen others sabotage themselves in the name of God. When we use God as an excuse to become passive, our lives become more confusing and halted. A make-up artist I know uses God as an excuse to why she hasn’t accomplished much in her life. She said she wanted to start a make-up line, but where is it? She said she wants to be a commercial actress, but she doesn’t even have a head shot. She said she wants to build orphanages around the world, but why isn’t she doing it? When I suggested that she start a Youtube channel teaching girls how to do make-up because she wants to be in front of the camera, she said she didn’t want to bother her friends to help her. When I suggested that she work in a non-profit organization that builds orphanages, she said that she needed to become a celebrity first in order to wield the power to receive donations. When I suggested that she get a head shot right away, so she can send it out to commercial talent agents, she says she needs to lose another 10 lbs. All the while, she claims that she is listening to God. Did God tell her to be so passive about her life? While I believe that she believes in God, she is not using the infinite power of God to empower her life, but rather to impede it, by making excuses under the veil of God. The truth is that she is deeply afraid of failure and her own magnificence, so she hides behind God.
Even though radiance lives within each of us, how do we ever achieve our personal excellence when we are making endless excuses because of fear? Einstein said that everyone is a genius but a fish who is trying to climb up a tree will think it’s stupid its whole life. So if we have not discovered our life’s true purpose, then we’ll always believe that we’re that fish climbing the tree, so we’ll never realize our own brilliance. In order to find our purpose, we have to set fear aside, so our hearts can speak the truth of our existence. Fear muddies our heart’s waters, so we can’t see clearly God’s intended plan for us.
Our fear also whispers to us that if we radiate our magnificence by reaching for the stars, we have so much to lose. In reality, we have nothing to lose because the Universe loves us unconditionally and has created us equally in its eyes. If we try to reach for the stars and we “fail” by society’s standards, what we we really losing? A business, a job, an opportunity, which can all be rebuilt and regained? Mistakes and failures must be made in order for us to learn and grow. It’s never a mistake or failure if you’re learning from it. If anything, it makes you a stronger and wiser person with the ability to make better decisions. The concept of loss is just a figment of our thoughts in our minds, i.e., our egos. If we recognize that our thoughts or ego is just an imaginary fabrication, like fiction, we can move beyond it, knowing that our brilliance can manifest itself in remarkable ways. W. Clement Stone said, “aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star.” So even if you missed your intended goal, you will inevitably reach another goal, one that may be truer to your path, so we have nothing to lose by reaching high. When we lose our fear of inadequacy and being our personal best, the sky is truly our limit.
As God loves each and everyone of us equally, there is no reason why we can’t all radiate our magnificence. I look forward to meeting each and every one of you on the moon to witness your light shine in the Universe, so reach for the moon, or the stars, whichever you prefer!
By Moon Cho, Creator of Ying & Yang Living