Fear Is Feedback
“Keep your fears to yourself but share your courage with others.”— Robert Louis Stevenson
Fear defines us, whether we like it or not. It establishes a foothold deep within our psyche where it spreads as the oppressor of hopes and dreams. Not because it wants to, but because the energy it maintains is one of despair. It is akin to a terrifying dream that never ends, only growing in intensity. Fear is a dictator that grows louder because of the energy it receives. What starts out as a voice of reason, can accompany us throughout life if we’re unaware. Can you identify with this narrative in your life? In what ways does fear make its way into your life? It is the unpopular kid at school who loiters around us during recess. Sure, we might feel sorry for them initially, but they are constantly there by our side. Surely life is more than succumbing to our fears?
I know people who are not defined by their fears. They are renegades, adventurers and aspirants who don’t allow fear to dull their experience of life. What do they know that others don’t? Wonder. The fearless amongst us have a sense of wonder and adventure. They approach life as an experiment and are curious about the world. Their passion and enthusiasm is central to facing their fears. Fear is not something that stops them, but promotes them. It is feedback calling them to confront something within their psyche. They realise when their fears intrude on their way of life, it is because they’re taking great strides in pursuit of their dreams and goals, and so it is natural to be terrified. They use fear to promote their agenda instead of letting it defeat them. Most people are consumed by their fears because they believe the narrative it promotes. Fear is an emotion, just like other emotions. Granted, it has a stronger intensity than other emotions but it was never intended to stop us in our tracks, only to provide feedback on our actions.
Conquer Your Fears
“Obstacles are like wild animals. They are cowards but they will bluff you if they can. If they see you are afraid of them… they are liable to spring upon you; but if you look them squarely in the eye, they will slink out of sight.” — Orison Swett Marden
I invite you to be curious in the face of your fears. Investigate them, reason with them but don’t buy into the narrative they espouse. Don’t let it be a one-sided conversation because you have power, even in the face of your fears. The secret to living beyond our fears is to approach them with curiosity while observing our reaction. So, if we fear asking our boss for a pay rise because they might say no, what small step can we take to overcome this fear? We might compile a list of our achievements and highlight why we are deserving of a pay rise, given the value we bring to the company. We must leverage our fears to discover the essence of our character. Assuredly, if we listen intently there is a subtle message guiding us to scale our fears. By listening closely, we come to understand the language of our fears.
The more we know something, the better we are at taking inspired action to overcome it. Through a sense of wonder we’ll conquer our fears because for most people fear is a STOP sign. However, to the initiated fear is a PROMOTE sign, offering important clues about our inner psyche. Wonder what it’s like to walk in to your boss’s office and ask for that pay rise. Wonder how they will respond in kind and grant your request. Use wonder not worry since anything is possible. You paralyse your fears and silence your doubts when you consider all possibilities. Use your sense of wonder to rise above your fearful thoughts, because wonder is an agreeable emotion. It is neutral and inquisitive. Let it take hold and move you toward your hopes, dreams and highest aspirations. Let no fear keep you down or stifle your greatness. After all, it is the same phenomenon seen in the sunset that holds the key to living beyond your fears; a sense of wonder.