Don’t give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.
Fear speaks many languages, transcends countless boundaries, and inhabits the minds of most living things on planet Earth. Why then, is our planet predominantly a paradise, and not a horror show?
If you start with the primal fear, the one that comes with the fight or flight lizard brain in our being, fear is the motivator to keep you alive in any moment of peril. It is an instinct that is perhaps the strongest of all for it is readily on tap and triggers in the blink of an eye. Hollywood has built an entire industry on knowing how to perpetually tap into that fear and give audiences a voyeuristic opportunity to confront those internal terrors at arm’s length. I personally do not ever go to watch this kind of entertainment. Having been held at gunpoint in my own home and knowing that they were about to pull the trigger to make my brain explode all over the waterbed gave me an experience to last a lifetime. So I do not understand a desire to have a voyeuristic encounter with fear on a voluntary basis.
Going beyond the primal fear, we discover a wide variety of fears that come into our lives with less of a fight or flight issue, and instead produce their own forms of anxiety, dread, depression and internal terrors. These fears stem from conflicts of ego (am I good enough?) finance (how am I going to pay for my current life?) relationship (countless issues of trust, honesty, and ability to really be oneself in a relationship) health concerns and hundreds of others.
These kinds of fears are not necessarily getting to your primal lizard brain, but they instead, work their way through your mind, trying to establish a beach head in which they can set up camp and start to work on your insecurities, your self-worth, your abilities to rise above the fear and triumph. These are the fears of which I would like to speak.
From what I see, everyone has them. They are natural, they are organic, and they seem to be unavoidable, regardless of who you are and what you have accomplished. I have heard that one of Hollywood’s most famous directors has a bucket on hand on the first day of production because his stomach is full of butterflies. I do not know this to be true, but many of the greatest, still have these nagging doubts. Whether the doubts are self-worth, or other causes, they are real, and they strike in the way that they strike.
In writing this today, I seek to communicate to any of you who are seeking to venture way out on a limb to pursue what you believe you were destined to pursue. This is the aphorism of which Paulo Coelho speaks. When your heart communicates to you that you have to go on your quest, you know it on such a deep and intrinsic level as to make all other forms of doubt fully disappear. This is the inception point. The moment you make the commitment and commence on your journey, whatever the route. This is the moment that everything changes.
From that day forward, the fear has found the beach head, and the fear camp starts to assemble. Perhaps almost imperceptible at this stage but present, nonetheless. From this day forward, you and fear are intrinsically intertwined, connected at a root level that is impossible to sever. There may be days, weeks, months or years where the fear is so suppressed, you almost forget it was ever part of the bargain. But, like any Faustian relationship, taking on something of true magnitude comes with this inseparable relationship with fear that you are never going to be capable of fully defeating. As powerful as you become, as successful as you become, and competent as you become, the fear is still right in the base camp that was created on the day you started on this path. It can come back for 100 reasons, none of which are of your making. There could be a global crisis, you may have a health crisis, your path can be impeded in countless ways…. And that is when the fear wakes up and reminds you of the bargain you made with it on the day you initiated this journey.
Abandoning a dream is heartbreaking. That is the other side of the pact you made on day one of your journey. You promised your heart that you are going to take it to the conclusion. Once you have made a commitment to your heart, you are resolved to get there, no matter what. That is the fire that propels you past any fear. When you boil all of it down to emotion, and not finance or circumstance, Paulo is most accurate. When you commit to your heart that you are taking it where you want to go, the fears are your mortal enemy, working at any given moment to give you pause for consideration, and hoping their best to sway you from your destination.
The best that I can report to you from personal experience is that they are relentless. They prey upon every little thought, attack you in your dreams, come to visit you at unexpected (and unwanted) moments, and have full power to disable your steadfast courage, regardless of how many personal and professional triumphs you have enjoyed to date.
What is the solution?
A devout belief in oneself. One that surpasses everything. One that is grounded and based in reality. One that knows who you truly are, what you are truly capable of. One that is going to prevail come hell or high water.
There is no other solution. There is no cure to fear. You gain strength when you stop and stare fear in the face.