Posts tagged ‘overcoming fear’

January 12, 2013

If you want to get anything done in this life . . . just do it

Have you ever let naysayers or internal fears stop you from pursuing the dreams or paths that call to you?  Here’s a bit of inspiration to help overcome such obstacles, courtesy of a few books I read recently:

From Plastiki:  Across the Pacific Ocean on Plastic, David de Rothschild’s chronicle of his four-year project to build a boat from recycled plastic bottles and sail it across the ocean from San Francisco to Sydney:

My attitude is that there will always be skeptics and people who want you to fail.  If you worry about failure, you’re not going to get anything done in this life. . . . [But] when you follow an audacious dream into the unknown, the journey itself can be inspiring in ways beyond imagining.

De Rothschild and his six-person crew successfully sailed their boat of 12,500 plastic bottles from San Francisco to Sydney, raising awareness about ocean health and inspiring thousands of people to rethink their relationships to disposable plastics.

And from Dauod Hari’s excellent book The Translator:  A Tribesman’s Memoir of Darfur:

You have to be stronger than your fears if you want to get anything done in this life.

Hari, a translator by chance, risked his life several times over to take foreign journalists into the Darfur region of Sudan, all so that stories about the atrocities of genocide occurring in the area could reach international eyes and ears.

If Hari can overcome fears of persecution and death in order to walk his path, can you overcome your own (perhaps lesser) fears to walk yours?

December 23, 2012

Follow your heart; come alive; do it now

It’s easy in this day and age to postpone our dreams and desires in favour of toeing the line and staying on the comfortable, well-worn treadmill that we’ve been plodding on for years.  It’s easy to tuck the things that really matter to us aside and say to ourselves, “I’ll do that later,” or, “I’ll do that when [fill in the blank].”

Well, here are two quotes that, from opposite angles, remind us to live in the moment, to be present to what truly drives us, and to act, with confidence, on our dreams and desires now — right now — because we can, and because the world needs us to do just that.

From Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and Pixar Animation Studios, in a June 2005 commencement address at Stanford University (by this point, Jobs had been battling cancer for almost two years):

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.  Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.  Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.  You are already naked.  There is no reason not to follow your heart.

And from author and philosopher Howard Thurman:

Don’t ask what the world needs.  Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

From opposite ends of the spectrum — life versus death — these quotes arrive at the same message:  live your life, follow your heart.  Your time is now.  Embrace it with all you’ve got.

October 31, 2012

Staring down a fear: Did you meet October’s challenge?

On October 1, I posted this challenge of the month:  Do one thing that scares you.

Now, on October 31, (and, fittingly, on Halloween), it’s time to reflect back on this challenge.  Did you confront a fear — large or small — and act anyway?  Were you able to consciously blast through one of your boundaries, creep into the corners of your comfort zone, or defy your own perceptions of “possible” versus “impossible”?  What was the result?

Whatever your experience, be proud of your efforts.  Even the simple act of acknowledging a fear is a major step towards one day overcoming it.

To quote a Japanese proverb:

Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.

Delve into the murk.  I’ll bet the bottom isn’t as distant, nor as dark, as you think.

Happy Halloween.  halloween smiley

October 1, 2012

October challenge: Do one thing that scares you

I am fond of saying,

It’s often the things that scare us most that matter most.

Whether it’s starting a new relationship or leaving an old one, changing your job or exploring a completely new career path, speaking what is truly on your mind to the people who need to hear it most, or simply taking that one small step outside your comfort zone, we as humans fear change, and that fear often stops us from growing in ways that would (in hindsight) absolutely astound us.

This fear is a stealthy protection mechanism, designed to shield us from hurt, pain, vulnerability, rejection, failure, etc.  But it’s heavy, this fear, and the longer we sit under it, the more crushing it becomes.

I’ve learned, over time, that the anxieties associated with doing something important — apprehensive questions such as “Can I handle it?” “Will I survive financially?” “Will my friends still like me afterwards?” “What if I fail?” — and my own imagined answers — are usually much worse than the act of doing the thing itself.  Better yet, acting on a long-held but often-dismissed dream or desire leaves me feeling lighter, lifted, energized and more empowered about my life direction than ever before.

And so I challenge you, in October, to do one thing that truly scares you.  Small or large, you decide, but swallow your fear and step forward.

As the naturalist John Burroughs said,

Leap, and the net will appear.