The idea of fear needs to get turned upside down.
Most of us run from fear. When we feel it we get as far away from it as possible. Yet fear is powerful when looked at from another angle.
Zach Pogrob transformed my view of fear with this picture. Let’s dissect.
“Fear tells you to run. From the exact place you’re meant to go.”
Fear is a compass.
When you follow it, it hurts like hell at the start. Once you get used to dealing with fear it becomes an addictive drug.
For years I avoided the fear of entrepreneurship. One giant startup disaster in my 20s caused me to run in the opposite direction. I got a job in a bank to avoid the fear of ever running a business again.
Every time the fear popped up I suppressed it. The fear was trying to tell me “try again it’s not the end.” After a decade, last year, I quit my dumb job and stopped ignoring my fear. I followed fear into a new direction.
I realized fear was a misdirection. I wasted 10 years running from it instead of facing it. I can’t get those years back but I can learn the lesson. Thankfully I’m not too old.
If you feel lost in life write down all your fears. Chances are one of them is the exact thing you’re supposed to be running towards, not away from.
“Fear is being realistic for someone else’s reality”
It’s so damn easy to buy into someone’s version of reality.
Your parents tell you to get a good, safe job. College tells you a piece of paper that costs a boatload of money will get you a high-paying career. Society tells you if you can just make plenty of money you’ll be able to buy your dreams.
Other people’s reality isn’t your reality. Fear wants you to believe everyone else is right so you’ll follow in their boring footsteps.
Seek out mentors and people who can influence you to question reality. Then dare to bend reality in your favor while bathing in the fear you’ll feel.
“Fear is focused on risk, instead of opportunity”
Pessimism and skepticism are mind viruses.
A guy said to my friend the other day, “I can’t buy your $250 making money course because there’s too much risk. What’s my guarantee?”
Seeking guarantees is the path to failure.
If spending $250 to learn valuable skills is a big risk, then it’s time to question reality again.
The way you destroy the fear of risk is by taking small bets. No small bet on its own will wipe out your progress. But one small bet, and perhaps $250, could help you discover an opportunity that changes everything.
Yet it won’t look like that. The opportunity you take will probably fail but it will join the dots to another new opportunity that eventually leads you down a path you could never have predicted.
Small risks led by your curiosity are amazing.
“Fear is waiting for perfection, while you could have made progress”
Perfection is a relic of the industrial education system that taught most of us.
We’re supposed to get good grades and follow the rules. We seek to get the highest test score possible so we can be the most compliant.
One rogue essay that questions the foundations of a cliche topic can get you canceled by a professor. The fear gets planted in our heads into adulthood.
But perfection is a lie.
Nothing worthwhile starts as perfect. Success happens as the habits you build create progress.
You get near-perfect through practice not preparation. Although perfection doesn’t exist, there’s always room for improvement.
Worship imperfection and the weight of the world will get lifted off your shoulders. See the impurities and the blemishes as art to be admired, not problems to be fixed.
“Fear is procrastination masked as preparation”
When we’re scared we often don’t admit it. We cover it up by stuffing around with planning, meetings, talking, and overthinking.
We think we’re preparing. Really, most preparation is pointless. Until you take action you don’t know much. Preparation is a guess at best. It’s you trying to be a fortuneteller that predicts the future.
Admit your fear. Take action despite it. Action won’t wipe you out. It’ll act as a floodlight that guides you through the scary darkness.
“Fear is insecurity disguised as rationality”
Hidden insecurities drive our lives.
We pretend they’re not there. We hide them when they’re threatened to be exposed. We logically think insecurity is perfectly normal. That we should have a lack of confidence in this moment. Everyone else is, so why not me?
Once you start to expose your insecurities everything changes. The protection armor comes off and you start getting radically honest with yourself.
Fear is in the mind. Once you study what fear really is it starts to alter your brain chemistry. That’s a fancy way of saying it transforms how you think.
See fear as a lie. See the truth fear stops you from seeing.
Then use fear as a compass guiding you towards the path to reinvent your life. What you want deep down lies on the other side of fear.