In the sphere of personal and professional development, there is an unspoken truth reverberated in the words of esteemed author Stephen King – “The most frightening moment is always before you start. After that, things can only get better.” The weight of this statement is amplified when one reflects on the nature of fear and its role in decision-making processes, particularly when facing the unknown.
Fear is a fundamental emotion, an instinctive reaction to potential dangers or threats. In contemporary society, fear frequently manifests not in response to physical threats, but to psychological ones. The fear of failure, rejection, and uncertainty are just a few examples of these psychological fears that can be even more immobilising than physical dangers. Indeed, these fears often present themselves most powerfully on the cusp of new beginnings, be it the initiation of a new project, a new job, or any venture into unfamiliar territory.
What makes the commencement of any journey so frightening? It’s the uncertainty, the unknown that appears to loom ominously ahead. Our minds, in an attempt to safeguard us, start imagining all the worst-case scenarios. We envisage all the ways in which we could fail, all the obstacles we could encounter, all the potential disappointment and humiliation. In the absence of concrete knowledge, our minds fill in the gaps with our deepest fears
However, as Stephen King suggests, once we take the plunge and actually commence, things can only improve. Why is that? It’s because action dispels fear. The unknown becomes known, the uncertain becomes certain, and the imagined threats frequently turn out to be far less intimidating in reality than they were in our minds. In the act of doing, we begin to gain momentum, and with momentum comes confidence. We start to learn, to grow, to adapt. We begin to realise that even if we do encounter obstacles, we are capable of overcoming them.
The path to success is paved with moments of fear and uncertainty. But as we push past the initial fear and take the first step, we unlock a potential within us that is far greater than any fear. We prove to ourselves that we are not defined by our fears but by how we respond to them. The most frightening moment may indeed be just before we start, but it is also the most transformative. It is the moment where we decide to confront our fears, to step into the unknown, and to embrace the journey ahead.
Stephen King’s quote serves as a reminder that fear is not a signal to retreat, but an invitation to commence. The most frightening moment is always before you start, not because it signals impending doom, but because it represents the threshold of possibility. And once we cross that threshold, once we commence, things can only improve. So, the next time you stand on the cusp of a new beginning, remember these words and take the leap. You might just find that the reality of the journey is far less frightening than the anticipation of it.