Many of us claim that we have big dreams or have a new resolution for the start of the next year. Some of us even declare our dreams to be on the path of being fulfilled. According to Les Brown, “In reality, many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” Fear is a type of human emotion which alerts of a perceived danger and usually results in triggering our ‘fight or flight’ response. Elaborating Brown’s quote, we can take into consideration two psychologists; Alfred Adler and Abraham Maslow who gave the theory of individual psychology and the hierarchy of needs.
According to Adler, as adults, individuals also perceive areas of deficiency or weakness. These perceived weaknesses may result from life experiences or from critical statements made by important others. Regardless of how the deficiency is perceived by the individual, once the area is determined, the individual tries to compensate for it one way or the other. However, if this compensation does not have the desired result, the individual may become fully focused on the inferiority and develop what Adler called the inferiority complex.
Whereas, Maslow gave the pyramid of hierarchy of needs based on how humans partake in behavioral motivation intrinsically. Maslow used the terms "physiological," "safety," "belonging and love," "esteem," and "self-actualization" to describe the pattern through which human motivations generally move. This means that for motivation to occur at the next level, each level must be satisfied within the individual themselves. Furthermore, this theory is a key foundation in understanding how drive and motivation are correlated when discussing human behavior. The goal of Maslow's Theory is to attain the fifth level or stage: self-actualization.
Based on Adler and Maslow’s theories, we can see that if an individual develops an inferiority complex, he or she would try for as long as it takes to gain acceptance, even forgetting to achieve the dream they once desired in their childhood or adolescent age. The fear prevails and increases more depending on the other persons response. This is what Brown meant when he said that most of us are not achieving our dreams but living our fears, that we have become so focused on being accepted by others that we have discarded our dreams in the back of our minds for fear of what others would think. Nevertheless, we must realize that in this world, we cannot please everyone. It may take some time to get used to other people’s remarks but, in the end, what would really matter would be according to Malow, the ‘self-actualization’ of who we truly are and what we really need to focus on i.e. focusing on fulfilling ‘our’ dreams and reaching our true potential.