New Year, New Fear
“Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Fear is good, it keeps us alive.
Fear is also bad, it keeps us from living.
Our lizard brains are hardwired to fear, this automatic emotion is powerful and serves us well by preventing us from doing things or making decisions that could lead to our ultimate demise. Unfortunately for many people this hardwired safety system can take over our entire decision making process, rather than being just a point of consideration.
A lot of us fear heights not because we're afraid of the amazing views that might come from climbing up a tall mountainside but that we could fall and die. Listening to your fear before climbing up a tall mountainside is smart. But you have the power of choice when this scary emotion comes up!
You can choose to avoid the fear altogether and not make the climb, you'll stay alive but the inspiration that would be gained from that magnificent view will be lost.
You can acknowledge the fear and then plan, train, and get the right gear so you can safely make the climb. It'll be scary but you'll stay alive and you'll experience something that could lead you to grow in ways you never expected.
Courage is a character trait that is apparent in people who often select option two in the example above. People who are courageous aren't vacant of fear but seek to understand the root cause and take strategic steps to minimize risk of the feared outcome from occurring. In our modern world you'll often find that root cause is often misplaced and just your lizard brain overacting. If you find the fear to be appropriate (ex. mountain climbing) then great, now you can get to work on your fall avoiding strategy.
So why not go into this new year leaning into your fears a bit more? Remember it's there to keep you alive but don't let it keep you from living.