Refined and Defined by Fear (365 Days of Spirited Living – DAY 213)
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
— Dale Carnegie
Fear works in two ways. It can cause us to be stagnant and do nothing. Or it can make us stronger and set our sights on better things. When we think of fear, we often do so in the negative context of thinking or feeling that someone or something is dangerous or a threat. But sometimes fear is good in that it shows us that while something here is not right, something else over there might be better.
Realizing our fears can help to refine us and makes us stronger. It can also help to define what we want in life or where we really want to go. And differentiate between what we don’t want in life and where we don’t want to go or who we don’t want to hang around. We tend to get a sense or feeling when something is bad for us or when someone means us no good. Instead of hiding from it, we go in the direction of something better.
Let’s say that you go in for a job interview and the receptionist is rude, the interviewer is arrogant, and the overall energy in the office is negative and unenthusiastic for your taste. Instead of feeling like you have to follow through and work for this company even if you do get hired, the fear of being in such an environment for a certain number of hours every day should cause you to look for better opportunities.
When people you meet aren’t all you envisioned them to be, avoid getting disappointed. When situations don’t work out exactly as you planned for them to, don’t get depressed about it. Refuse to get upset when people rub you the wrong way or saddened when your dreams and goals are stalling. When you don’t see an immediate way forward, sometimes the thing to do is to stop and think. Reflect on past accomplishments and how you overcame any obstacles that were before you. Remember, there are worse things that could happen.
Take every bad experience and learn from it. Reflect on the fact that some things didn’t work out, certain things don’t fit your vision or your values, other things simply aren’t for you to do as well as someone else can do them. Instead of whining about what isn’t, ask yourself “what else is out there?” “what can I do differently?” You may not be able to do this one thing over here but there is always something else that you can do.
Fear can cause us to be cowards or to be courageous. It is the side of fear that you choose to give in to that will create the outcome. The human mind is built to be flexible. Embrace the strength that fear is trying to give you. Open yourself up to the opportunities in front of you to be perseverant and persistent. Good fear can refine you and define you to be a better, wiser, and more resilient person.
Good fear gives you supernatural strength to deal with sudden crisis and danger. It keeps you alive and keeps you moving. But when it becomes so great that it holds you back and wears you down to the point where you accomplish nothing, you need to face it and push against it so that it does not sap you of energy and life. A car without gas goes nowhere. A life with too much fear goes nowhere too. Focus on the good fear and let it refine and define you.
“He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson