Throughout your life people have probably told you not to be afraid of anything. Fear is associated with weakness. It is for cowards.
You could find hundreds of self improvement blogs or self help gurus that tell you fear is a bad thing. That it stops people from living their passions, so you must pursue your dreams without fear. I could go on and on about all the reasons why people say fear is something to be avoided, but that is not the point of this article.
I am here to tell you that everyone who has ever told you not to be afraid of anything is mistaken.
Here are 8 reasons why fear is a good thing and you should keep moving toward fear, not away from it. Embrace fear, know how to use it and it will be your best friend:
1 – Fear keeps you alive.
At the most basic level, fear is a survival instinct. It is a necessary response to threats and dangers. It has protected us as a species from extinction. Without fear, we wouldn’t have known to run away from that sabre-tooth tiger or step back from that thousand foot drop. Fear is a biochemical reaction that has been vital for our survival. It is responsible for the fight or flight response. So if nothing else, be grateful for fear, it has brought us into 2012 thriving and continuing to grow as a species.
2 – Fear makes you feel alive.
On a similar note, fear not only keeps us alive, it makes us feel alive. What’s more exciting, sitting at home in front of the television or leaping out of a plane. What do you think would make you feel more alive? There is nothing more exciting than confronting your fear head first and engaging it. Facing your fears is a natural and positive drug. The adrenaline your body produces when you venture outside your comfort zone actually creates a high. That high is the distinction between existing and living!
3 – Fear is a sign you are doing something amazing.
What are the stories about yourself you love sharing with your friends and family? Why is it things like skydiving or climbing a mountain appear on bucket lists repeatedly? Have you ever heard someone say I wish had one more day in an office before I died? The stories we share are those that push us into the unknown and challenge our fears. Fear lives in that unknown and so does possibility. Ask yourself what you want to do before you die? How many of those things scare you just a little bit? That’s good. Fear is a sign that you are about to experience your greatness. Nothing great can be accomplished without facing a fear. Olympic athletes, football players and successful business people, they all feel pressure, anxiety and fear. That’s what makes them great. They do something worthy of fear. As Mark Twain said, courage is not the absence of fear, courage is the mastery of fear. There is nothing scary about sitting at home being comfortable every day. But doing what is beyond the impossible, that inspires fear. That makes fear worth pursuing.
4 – Fear is the precursor to possibility.
Fear comes before infinite possibility. Let’s look at every area of our life from finances to career to relationships to personal goals. Every great dream is usually a little scary, whether it be starting a new business or making your first million or running your first marathon. When we feel the fear of chasing a big dream, with that also comes the awesome reality of actualizing that dream. The unlimited possibility available to us in life follows the fear we feel at the thought of actually manifesting those possibilities.
5 – Fear inspires action.
An idle mind is the devil’s playground. Sitting at home bored will only add fuel to an existence that is not serving you as it is. Within each one of us lives a great and magnificent dream that is waiting to be actualized. The problem is most of us get caught up with making a living that we forget to design our life. Fear changes that. Fear is the push we need to escape the mundane and be our greatness.
6 – Fear sets you free.
When you are encompassed by an empowering fear that pushes you forward, past and future cease to exist. In that moment, you are living only in the now. Without time, you become truly free. The English Theologian William Law said of time, “ask what time is, it is nothing else but something of eternal duration become finite, measurable and transitory.” The excitement of fear has the power to shift time and bring it back to its eternal state. Even if only for a few minutes, within those moments when you challenge your fears, you become immortal.
7 – Fear builds confidence.
When you do something that scares you, you become stronger. Self confidence is the result of having successfully survived a risk. Doing something risky, something that scares you, will make you stronger and help you grow in confidence. Each step outside your comfort zone and into fear builds that muscle. As that muscle gets stronger and stronger so does your spirit.
8 – Without fear, you WILL NOT SUCCEED!!
Plain and simple. In order to achieve unimaginable success and turn the impossible into possible, it is vital to embrace fear. Fear is your best friend and ally on your path to success. As you read this list though, you may still be skeptical. You may be thinking about people you know that become paralyzed by fear. That fear prevents us from achieving success because of its paralytic effect.
The famous fight manager Cus D’Amato once said, “The hero and the coward both feel exactly the same fear, only the hero confronts his fear and converts it into fire.”
In a follow up article, I will share how to turn your fear into fire. Until then, simply shift your paradigm through which you approach fear and start seeking out things that make those butterflies in your stomach go wild.
Akshay Nanavati is a Marine Corps veteran of the war in Iraq, a public speaker, explorer and abundance coach. His company, Human Potential Development LLC. helps entrepreneurs and working professionals make more money while living a more fulfilled and balanced life.