I’ve got a challenge for you and I think it might change everything.
I often get asked what the “biggest” transformation people can make is, in terms of their thinking. My answer always boils down to overcoming fear – that’s why I wrote a whole guide to overcoming all manifestations of it.
Today though, I want to share with you a completely different perspective on fear. One that isn’t about overcoming it at all. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Surrender to you fear. Then use it.
I’ll never forget the first client who really got this concept. It was way back in my therapist days. She was a semi-pro golfer who suffered from acute social anxiety. Naturally, this made putting with an audience somewhat problematic.
When I asked her to describe the last time she got really excited about something in a quiet, anticipatory way… something shifted inside of her. She flushed and her eyes gleamed. She got it.
You can’t tell the difference between fear and excitement
Why is it that people sky dive, ski and whitewater raft? The sensation of exfrightment (yeah, I went there) is addictive. We love it.
At a chemical and physiological level, fear and excitement are pretty much the same. Adrenaline, increased heart beat, faster breath and shrinking peripheral vision.
Fear. Excitement. It’s the same damn thing.
In the modern world, we don’t have many legitimate fears. However, we endlessly wrestle ourselves as our primal instincts struggle to understand the ambitions of our evolved self.
Fear is the biggest (and last) obstacle to success. No matter what variety you’re pursuing.
We fear the things that represent the greatest risk in our lives. The actions that we can imagine “screwing up” into disaster and ruin.
Yet these actions are those that we know we must take, if we want to achieve the phenomenal. Even if we have to fail (and learn) a few times.
Dale Carnegie said:
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
So why not use fear as a compass?
Think about it. Imagine committing to a thirty day trial in which you stubbornly action only the things you fear… leaving all the boring, comfortable busywork for later.
Imagine simply committing to a single hour per day of doggedly pursuing your greatest fear.
By using our fear as a compass, we can create a startling form of clarity in our lives. Never again will you be left wondering “what shall I do next?”
The answer will be (and always has been) right in front of you: Do the thing you fear most.
Just an hour of following your fears per day and you’ll stretch, grow, fail and win so much… that your life will be unrecognizable. Guaranteed.
I’m suggesting a paradigm shift. Let’s stop trying to avoid the abstract pain of anxiety and start guiding our lives by it. Through it. Over it and beyond it.
Courage, after all, is not the lack of fear but the ability to face it.