Make Friends with Fear.

by David Stewart (other articles by David Stewart)

In early man, fear was vital to day to day survival. It was good to be scared of a lion, it was good to be scared of falling off high cliffs and rarely was that fear misplaced. Fear kept us alive long enough to have the children who would strengthen and ensure survival for all in the group, clan or tribe.

In the modern world, fear is still a survival mechanism; jumping off the roof of a high rise with no parachute is ill advised and will probably result in a premature departure from this mortal coil. In many other cases fear can provide barriers to personal growth.

Fear of what others think, fear of failure and fear of the unknown can lead many people to simply accept the status quo resulting in repetitive and predictable lives where one day blends into another.

The alternative is to look at what scares you, evaluate the risks involved and provided the those risks aren’t likely to be fatal, making the decision to push yourself well beyond the point of being uncomfortable or scared.

To do this you have to give up worrying about what others say about you. You have surrender to your gut instincts and attempt to do what terrifies others.

By staring your doubts and anxieties down, you gain more strength. The more you do it, the further you evolve as a person and the more you prepare yourself for greater and more daunting challenges. This perpetual state of pushing yourself into the unknown is not always pleasant but it is always gratifying. It does not even matter if you manage to achieve your original goal, it only matters that you give it all your effort. Every attempt at conquering your fears becomes one less thing in this world that has any power over you.

To use an analogy of a daily routine, the person who stays comfy and cosy in bed all day achieves little. The person who drags themselves out of bed to face the world achieves much more. On a bigger scale the person who gets out of bed and rushes headlong into situations that actively scare the pants off them learns more each day about what it is that makes them whole, happy and complete.

Mistakes in life will happen and you should not shy away from making these mistakes. Mistakes will only hurt you if you fail to learn from them. Used as a learning tool, colossal mistakes can be the greatest conduits to personal growth. It is these situations that clearly show you the wrong path so by deduction the right path can be more easily discerned. I have done many things right in my life but I have had some major stuff ups as well. I embrace them all, the good, the bad and the ugly because they combine to form the rich tapestry that is my life. I regret nothing but I learn from everything.

Life is not a practice game nor do you get any chance to relive lost time. The time you have available is finite and can be cut short at any time for any number of reasons. The only thing that is certain for all of us is that your time here is best spent making the most of your potential.

Go out and do what scares you; whether it is public speaking, bungee jumping or starting a business. Follow your passion and reap the rewards even if others can’t see the sense in it.

11th March, 2014

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