One of the greatest challenges I faced during my time battling brain aneurysms, dying etc. was my relationship with fear.
My whole life was collapsing around me, my career had fallen apart, and my health had become an uncertain glimmer of lackluster hope. I wasn’t just afraid during this time, I was terrified.
In this post I want to share some of the insights I gained from my time with that (consistently pushy) guest named Fear. I also want to share some of the lessons that Fear generously taught me.
So what is fear? It’s often seen as a negative, or the main reason that we might stop short of achieving our goals/ realizing our potential. Many people have even viewed fear as the greatest rival of success.
But what if I were to tell you that fear is actually your friend?
What if I were to tell you that your fear is one of your greatest teachers and one of the most important GIFTS that you have in life?
And what if I was to tell you that your fears are just as necessary to you as oxygen. And that without fear, progress wouldn’t even be possible?
What I’ve learned from my personal one on one time with fear, was that its not really the enemy. In actual fact, fear is the seed of growth.
Without fear we cannot evolve and we certainly cannot improve.
Until we step outside of our comfort zone, until we are willing to push ourselves to new places and seemingly unattainable heights and challenges; until we embrace fear — we simply cannot grow.
Fear is not something to be avoided. Fear is something to be used as a barometer for progress.
To achieve success, we must step directly into fear.
We shouldn’t attempt to remove it, or side step it.
Instead we must identify it and aggressively move toward it with everything that we have.
Fear is a benchmark that guides our personal path to greatness. And without it, we would simply be wondering aimlessly through life.
If you look at the greatest accomplishments of our time and the people who carried them out, it’s obvious that it wasn’t the absence of fear that guided these people, but rather the strength to face fear directly. And as a result of this strength, they were able to change the world.
If however these people had succumbed to their fears, if they had viewed their fears as a deterrent as opposed to the beacon of progress that it is — then we may never have put a man on the moon. We may never have enjoyed the privilege of being able to fly across the world, and we may never have enjoyed the technical progress that has united the world in a myriad of ways.
One of the most intriguing things about life is the fact that being uncomfortable is actually a sign of progress and signifies a step toward a new day; a day where you can leave the person you once were behind, in order to become a better version of yourself.
In truth, the evolution of one’s self and character is one of the most difficult things to accomplish. Who we are now is safe, and safe is always comfortable. But being comfortable never opened any new doors, or changed a life for the better.
One of the most toughest trades in life, and one that must be made in faith, is that of:
Trading todays contentment, for tomorrows greatness.
For those of us who are able to make decisions like this, where long-term thinking trumps short term gratification, the rewards are ultimately more fulfilling.
So the question you should be asking yourself is not how do I remove fear, but rather how do I best prepare myself for it?
You should ask, how do I excel when things become difficult? And how do I push through adversity?
Chances are, the very thing that makes you feel uneasy right now, is the same thing that will help you improve.
And once you learn this, you will notice that what was once fear, has now become strength. This strength will then allow you to face your next challenge, and the next.
Do not fear the unknown, instead use the unknown as a path to a better version of yourself.
You can be anything you want to be.
You can do anything that you want to do.
Just know that it wont happen by standing still. It happens when you take ACTION on what is right, as opposed to what is easy.
At one point my greatest accomplishment (to date) did not exist, nor did it look possible. My dream of overcoming my health problems and of rebuilding my life into what I desired was nothing more than ideas that lived in the back of my mind. I was even seen as delusional by most of my friends and definitely by medical professionals; all of whom thought my time would be best spent preparing for death, as opposed to planning for life.
But like anything worth doing, my ideas didn’t take shape until I decided that it would be worth it. They didn’t take shape until I decided that the stress of the risk would eventually turn my dreams into reality. I decided to hold onto what I desired and refused to listen to anyone or anything that contradicted my goals. And I can now tell you, in no uncertain terms, that holding steadfast to those decisions changed my life.
MY CHALLENGE TO YOU
I challenge you to do the same as I did. I challenge you to push yourself to grow; to understand the fact that
Struggle and progress are actually part of the same process.
Don’t waste your time running away from fear, instead CHANGE your life by using fear. Face it directly, and just like putting on armor I promise that piece by piece you will become something greater.
But always keep in mind that facing fear and achieving success, both take dedication and concentrated effort. Success will never be something you fall into. It has to be on your mind 24/7 otherwise the greatest opportunities in life will disguise themselves as obstacles and pass you by.
Apply your efforts to creating something to be proud of, and after the storms of uncertainty and hard work have passed, and when you have accomplished your dreams, you will see that what was once fear is now viewed as fuel that helped propel you to new heights in life.
Keep in mind that God/ Universe has placed the best things in life on the other side of fear.
So you must face fear in order to make progress in life.
And if you’re brave enough to face fears directly and have the courage to keep moving forward, you will find that at the maximum point of danger, will reside a thin border that once crossed will lead to the minimum point of fear.
Forget security, instead live for experience.
Until next time, make sure to Live More Than You Exist.
Another awesome blog post. I especially like this:
“Keep in mind that God/ Universe has placed the best things in life on the other side of fear.”
It reminds me of another quote I like:
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” ~ Ambrose Redmoon
Thank you for your superb comment Dawn, I love that quote too. So much truth within it. I think we overlook past truths, for new discoveries. But in the process, we learn that our present struggles, have been previously faced and dealt with by those who came before us. Thank you!
Love it… trading todays contentment for tomorrow’s greatness.
Great post and we’ll done!!!
Absolutely! Great point.
Wow Ethan touching post. I love the part of the best things in your life being on the other side of fear. As someone with General Anxiety I know the face of fear all too well, yet my life has progressed so damn fast because of it. If you are comfortable you are complacent and if you are complacent you don’t grow.
Thank you for this awesome comment! You’re so right about how fear can be used very effectively as fuel. I think it’s so powerful how you’ve used General Anxiety as a motivator and not as debilitating excuse. Thank you.
This is a wonderful post. Fear can indeed be the gateway to greater freedom. And what good advice that success will never be something you fall into. Though there are occasional lottery winners, most people hit the jackpot after a ton of hard work behind the scenes and working with their mindset, thoughts, and actions in heroic ways. It might look instant or easy, but it rarely is.
Keep inspiring us!