I’ve been mucking about with drafts of this post, about the idea of fear, for four months now. (That’s ironic. You’ll see why.) I’ve been picking up on different people’s concepts of fear, what there is to be afraid of, what you can do about it.
Possibly it’s a dark topic, but to me, it’s more like a challenge.
My imagination is much more terrible than reality, and we are all much worse on ourselves than anybody else would be. So we bring it on ourselves, don’t we? And the solution is figuring out how to do that to yourself less.
Miss Britt ‘s post – searingly honest and thought-provoking, as always – was my tipping point. (I guess I’d been afraid!) She talks about how terrible the fear of failure is when you’re screwing up the courage to do something differently.
Neil Force says that procrastination, a demon I am constantly trying to squash (There’s the irony), is really just fear – a phobia, really. You get so worked up and afraid that you just can’t move.
JK Rowling says that you need to let children feel some fear so they can learn that it can be mastered. I think this is the flip side – useful fear. Fear that takes you to that adrenaline place and lets you prove to yourself that you’ll come back out, and come out okay.
Tim Ferriss talks with Zen Habits about fear in terms of phobias and guilt. When you’re afraid, either you obsess and force, or you avoid and fear. He says the way to solve it is to just take a break. Remember that one one thing is the sum of your identity. Expect yourself to have weaknesses and lows. And don’t feel guilty if you have to go to a Plan B because Plan A is too scary – you’re just beating it differently.
So I guess what I’ve learned from this is that relaxing into fear is the key to learning how to ride the wave instead of being drowned by it. Which is a lovely Matthew McConaughey-esque surfer metaphor, but, obvs, easier to preach than to practice.
Here’s to doing what scares you. Whatever that is today.
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