Please understand that the only reason I can speak so authoritatively about fear is that I know it so intimately.
This is a horrible thing to say, but here it goes;
Around the age of 22, I somehow figured out that my fear had no variety to it, no depth, no substance, no texture.
I noticed that my fear never changed, never delighted, never offered a surprise twist or an unexpected ending.
My fear was a song with only one word, actually – and that word was “STOP!”
My fear never had anything more interesting or subtle to offer than that one emphatic word, repeated at full volume on an endless loop: “ STOP, STOP, STOP, STOP!”
Which means that my fear always made predictably boring decisions, like a choose-your-own-ending book that always had the same ending: nothingness.
So…..I realised that my fear was boring because it was identical to everyone else’s fear.
I figured out that everyone’s song of fear has exactly that same tedious lyric: “STOP, STOP, STOP, STOP!” True, the volume may vary from person to person, but the song itself never changes, because all of us humans were equipped with the same basic fear package when we were being knitted in our mothers’ wombs.
For the entirety of my young life, I had fixated upon my fear as if it were the most interesting thing about me, when actually it was the most mundane.
In fact my fear was probably the only 100 percent mundane thing about me.
I had creativity within me that was original; I had dreams and perspectives and aspirations within me that were original. But my fear was not original in the least.
My fear wasn’t some kind of rare artisanal object; it was just a mass-produced item, available on the shelves of any generic box store.
And that’s the thing I wanted to build my entire identity around?
The most boring instinct I possessed?
Now you probably think I’m going to tell that you must become fearless in order to live a more creative life.
But I ‘m not going to tell you that, because I don’t happen to believe it’s true.
Creativity is a path for the brave, yes, but it is not a path for the fearless, and it’s important to recognise the distinction.
Bravery means doing something scary.
Fearlessness means not even understanding what the word scary means.
The truth is you need your fear, for obvious reasons of basic survival.
But you do not need your fear in the realm of creative expression
Seriously, you don’t!
Just because you don’t need your fear when it comes to creativity, of course, doesn’t mean your fear won’t show up.
Trust me, your fear will always show up – especially when you’re trying to be inventive or innovative.
Your fear will always be triggered by your creativity, because creativity asks you to enter into realms of uncertain outcome, and fear hates uncertain outcome.
This is all totally natural and human.
It’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.
For me, I will be the first to admit that I wish I had changed my life earlier, but I didn’t have the courage. I always knew what I needed to do, but for years it made me sick with fear to imagine actually doing it.
This observation made me think of all the times in my life when I was stuck, and also knew exactly what I needed to do — but I might have put it off for years.
In fact, it made me wonder if maybe we all have some deep inner instinct about our true destiny — about what we need to do next, at every turn — but our fear and insecurity and self-doubt sometimes makes us put it off for years. Or forever.
I do believe that every single time in my life I have ever said in desperation, “I don’t know what I should do!” — in fact, I DID know what I needed to do. I was just too afraid to do it.
And then one day, you’ve had enough.
And then one day — you just freaking go do it.
And that’s the day when the best part of your life actually begins.
At least I think so…………..
Anyway I am just thinking out loud, this Monday morning!
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