We all have fears. We fear creatures that can harm us. We fear forces that can crush us. We fear people who can abuse us. And we fear the nameless that lurks in the dark. All our fears…that we share…have one thing in common: the unknown.
But we didn’t start that way. Do you remember a time when you were unaware of the world outside your home? A time when you only knew the kindness fostered by your family? That “unknown” world held unlimited potential. You can do anything. You can be anything. Nothing stood in your way. Answers were easy. And if you didn’t have them you made them up. And if you didn’t make them up you were not afraid to be wrong. You didn’t fear risk…you braved it, because pain has yet to teach you the meaning of hurt.
We often learn pain’s lesson incorrectly. When we experience hurt we think we must avoid it. In our attempt to avoid it, we learn the meaning of fear. But if we do not risk pain we will never grow. That is why we must defy it. Fear should not be a deterrent. It should be empowerment. It should encourage us to race into the darkest realms for that is where the greatest adventures will be.
What if we could go back…to the time when we were kids again? A time when we danced and didn’t care if we looked foolish. We sang and didn’t care if we were out of tune. We drew and didn’t care if it looked ugly. A time when our flaws were filled by our imaginations, giving us the greatest gifts of all…a life without fear. But since pain taught us fear…there were fewer floors we danced on, fewer notes we sung, and fewer papers for our masterpieces. And slowly, our fear ate our creativity. It killed our imagination and our optimism that we can be anything we wanted.
Let’s consider a different perspective. We know pain can enable growth. Did you know it could prevent suffering? If you are challenged, you may face pain, since challenges bring the risk of rejection and failure. But if you are comfortable and complacent…free from pain…you will not have challenges to test you…to invigorate you…to fulfill you. Without challenges you will inevitably suffer. Do not let fear prevent your happiness.
Now let consider another perspective. Frane Selak is a Croatian music teacher who was born in 1929. He is famous for his many brushes with death. He survived train, plane, bus and car crashes that killed nearly 20 people each. His car caught on fire, twice, and he escaped each time before it exploded. And, he was struck by a vehicle…and shot himself… surviving it all. This story should remind us of how fleeting our lives may be…and how we should not squander it dwelling on what is out of our control. What would Frank’s alterative have been? Never travel because he may have an accident? Do not let fear stop you from living peacefully.
Let’s consider a final perspective…what if we were fearless? What if we knew of harm, but only protected ourselves from experiences that make us worse off and embraced the pain that makes us grow. If we had no fears, had clarity over what we cannot control and had the belief the world is a beautiful place…would there still be cruelty? Would we hurt and be hurt by others?
I will let you decide. I believe it couldn’t hurt to be fearless.