There is a good chance that everything that you have ever wanted is on the other side of what you are afraid of. Think about it… Do you ever wish you could do something else for a career? Do you ever think that maybe there is something greater out there for you? Or do you have some secret desire for something that you never get around to doing?
We all have a little voice that lives inside of us- some little calling for more ringing out within our soul, but we usually let “being realistic” or “being conservative” dictate the way that we live our lives.
If you are taking the easy way instead of the exciting way, if you aren’t living up to your full potential, if you are overweight or out of shape, or if your life is not exactly what you want or heading towards it, then there is a good chance that fear is at least partially dictating the way that you are living your life.
If you want to find your true potential and live a life truly alive with passion and purpose, then you must learn to walk towards the things that you are afraid of; it is often the scariest times in our lives that lead us closer to our living a life filled with passion.
Case study into fear: Steve Jobs
Anyone who has ever watched Jobs (the movie) or read anything about Steve Jobs knows that things weren’t always easy and comfortable for Steve.
The perfect example of the hard times that Jobs went through to start Apple comes when he was broke, living out of his parent’s home, and desperately trying to nab even a single investor that would help him grow his company.
In the movie scene he can be seen lying on his back repeatedly calling up potential investors on the phone; he can be seen crying and even screaming after receiving multiple rejections and dial tones as person after person hung up the phone.
This scene came just after Steve was crying to any investor that would listen, and just before he was about to call it quits…Steve had a burning passion within him, but he almost certainly was faced with mounting fear that stood in front of the things that he truly wanted to do in life.
Steve knew that he wanted to put a PC into the hands of every single person in the world but there were thousands of obstacles standing in front of his dream: how to raise money, how to promote his idea, how to balance costs and profit, and how to grow the company and pay employees: he had a mountain of things that could go wrong standing before him, but by pushing through all the uncertainty and doubt, he eventually created an empire.
Steve Jobs was able to turn Apple into the company that we know today only by pushing through his fear. Had he given up at any point or decided that the fear of failure was stronger than his desire to fulfil his dream then we would have never had the ipod, the mac or macbook, the iphone or ipad.
What is fear?
Wikipedia defines fear as: “an emotion induced by a threat perceived by living entities, which causes a change in brain and organ function and ultimately a change in behavior, such as running away, hiding or freezing from traumatic events.”
It goes on to tell us that “the fear response arises from the perception of danger leading to confrontation with or escape from/avoiding the threat (also known as the fight-or-flight response), which in extreme cases of fear (horror and terror) can be a freeze response or paralysis.”
Fear is just the anticipation of what could go wrong. Many times fear is unfounded, self limiting, and passion depriving. Basically any thing in life that we could ever desire to have will have some sort of perceived danger or challenge in front of it.
Whether you want to go back to school, start a business, leave a bad relationship, or change your health for the better there will be some potential for things to go badly for you…and that is where fear comes in.
Fear takes hold of you the very first second after you decide you might like to do or have something in life.
You say to yourself, “I really want to get a degree to teach children.”, and then fear steps in front of your passion and starts telling you everything that’s wrong with your idea: “There is no money in teaching.”, “How would your father feel about you leaving med school to become a teacher?”, “How will you pay for school with a job only making minimum wage?”.
Every Time you find something that you are passionate about fear places itself in between you and your dream.
Fear can be what might go wrong, what others will think, what will happen if you fail, and it can even be the belief that you aren’t capable of making your dream into a reality.
Fear acts as a barrier that blocks you from pursuing your passion in life, and that is why most people live a life that is devoid of passion.
For most of us our dream dies the moment we experience fear; we get a great idea and then fear makes us turn around and head in the other direction- the “safe” direction.
So if you want to find your passion in life you need to start looking towards your fear to find it.
What things scare you the most, and what is the worst thing that could happen to you? If you find the areas in your life where you experience the most resistance and fear then you will likely find something you are very passionate about lying somewhere just past the fear.
So if you want to find what you are passionate about in life then head towards the fear of failure, head towards the fear of what others might think of you, and head towards the fear of the things that could go wrong.
What you really love and want to do in your life is probably just past the fear, and the only way to get past that fear is to make a plan to beat those obstacles in your way and then go out and knock down those walls.
One of the deepest joys in life comes from living a life that is in alignment with your passion in life, and the only way to find that passion and live it out each day is to reject the lies that fear is telling you and to move forward with courage.
If you want anything great in life, if you have a dream, if you have something that you want to do or might like to do, then the only way to make those things into a reality is through overcoming your initial fear by actually doing those things.
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