What is fear? The textbook definition of fear is that it is, “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.”
It’s actually a pretty effective tool for survival, right? See the danger, fear the danger, run away from the danger, and live to fight another day! In your cave, with the other cavemen, because things just haven’t been that simple in a long time!
Every day, each of us experiences fear of a situation that does not call for it. Think about it, one of the most common fears known to modern man is the fear of public speaking. When you are up in front of an audience about to give a speech, you experience fear akin to someone faced with a potential attacker. Not exactly useful, is it?
Now, don’t get me wrong, fear isn’t always bad. Fear is like that friend we all have that has your best interests at heart, but can be overly concerned, and maybe a little paranoid. Some of the time you should listen to that friend, but if you did all the time you would never leave your house. Which is fine, really, if you never want to go anywhere. Ever.
The biggest hurdle in the way of our own ambitions is fear. Fear of failure, of the unknown, or even fear of success. How unfair is that? To want to be successful but to be so afraid of it that you never put an honest effort into getting there.
So what can you do? Is it hopeless? Are we doomed to live under a cloud of fear that we can only escape from by hiding under our beds?
The solution is clear, it is both really simple, and very difficult. Let me illustrate this with an analogy.
Imagine for a moment that you are standing on a cliff that faces an ocean of crystal blue water. The cliff isn’t dangerously high and everyone around you is jumping into the water. Your feet, however, seem to be rooted where you stand. You want to jump. You want to share in the experience, to feel the water below the cliff. You are afraid. Your fear is telling you that you should not jump.
The difficult part of this lies simply in convincing yourself that your goal is worth the risk involved. The simple part? That lies in the jump.
You are afraid. Jump anyway. You cannot spend your entire life on that cliff, watching opportunity, and life itself, pass you by.
Fear is the thing that keeps us stagnant; unmoving, never to realize our ambitions. Yes, sometimes we should listen to our fear. Sometimes that is what keeps us safe, but fear is no longer only present in life or death scenarios. Facing our fears gives us strength. True bravery doesn’t lie in the removal of fear, it lies in the conquer.
Feel fear, allow yourself that…then jump anyway.
Stephanie “Ducky” is an artist and small business owner. She sells her art pieces and prints over the internet, as well as at shows and conventions. She is also a writer, and keeps a blog that she updates regularly. She blogs about life and her varying interests. When she is not busy toddler wrangling, she spends her time working on art pieces, keeping up with her blog, and working on fiction stories that she doesn’t show anyone, as well as drinking copious amounts of tea and coffee.
Some of her other interests include activism, environmentalism, learning everything she can, various geeky things (from books about Babylon to The Legend of Zelda), and cooking Thai food. She is an LGBT advocate, and seeker of equal rights for all people. Her primary life goal is to leave the world just a bit better than it was when she entered it.
Photo courtesy of Flickr