Follow The Fear

By definition, fear is an unpleasant emotion, the feeling of anxiety caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or is a threat to ones safety. In other words, we are concerned that the events taking place in the distant or near future will have a damaging effect. We interpret fear as something warning us to back away. Better yet, Forget Everything And Run.....the opposite direction. But how often is this kind of reaction necessary? Most of the time it is not. In fact, fear typically tends to be False Events Appearing Real. And instead of running away from it, we should run towards it.

One of my favorite song lyrics is “fear is a friend who’s misunderstood.” It’s from John Mayer’s “Heart Of Life”. Fear is like a tool that is being used improperly. It leads us to the right path, but rather than going down that path, we turn away. Obviously there are times when the danger is real. However no matter what the situation, fear will always tell us what to do and when to do it. Unfortunately, our conditioning has trained us that fear is bad.

When it comes to making decisions to advance in life, fear is usually what causes us to never achieve our goals. We become immobilized. We have to learn to use fear as a guide rather than a road block. 

We all have something we fear in life. For me, it is deciding whether leave my job an pursue comedy full time. I so badly want to move back home to Southern California, but I’m afraid that I may miss an out on an opportunity the moment I leave New York. My fears have been telling me exactly what to do. I’ve just been ignoring the truth that it has continuously revealed to me for years. 

Everyone handles fear differently. The people who use fear as a catalyst to do the very thing they fear, and do it immediately are the successful entrepreneurs, the Pulitzer prize winning photojournalists, the couple whose love was so great that only death tore them apart, the single mom who is able to protect and see her children through a time of poverty, the leader who stands up against discrimination, the inventors who achieve the impossible.  We see it over and over again. Those who embrace the fear are the ones who come out on top, the one who make a difference in the world, the ones that change the world.

If you have goals that you have yet to accomplish and you don’t feel fear, you’re probably not taking any new actions. Break out of the old habits, take a few risks, turn a different corner and I guarantee fear be standing there waiting.

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.
— Mark Twain