10,000 feet above the ground, 6 skydivers are preparing to jump from an airplane.
3 of them jump.
3 of them do not.
Did the 3 who jumped experience fear? Were they courageous? For the 3 who didn't jump, was it because they were scared?
You see, I believe that we all face fear. Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather taking action in light of fear. The 3 who jumped didn't experience any less fear than the 3 who did not. They just did it scared, with courage.
Like anything, I believe that courage is a muscle. It can be built up over time and strengthened through exercise.
So, let me ask you a question: what would your life look like without fear?
In the War of Art, the author states that we are all living two lives. The life we are currently living and the life and our unlived life: the life of our dreams.
I believe that fear has two meanings:
Forget Everything And Run
False Evidence Appearing Real
I also believe that we have two choices when we face fear:
We can back away and let that courage muscle atrophy
We can lean in and build that muscle up
You have the power to decide what meaning fear has for you.
None of us know our ceilings. None of us know our potential. And the only way we will even begin to scratch the surface is if we face our fears.
"When we fear big, we either consciously or subconsciously work against it." - Gary Keller
Listen, I'm not saying it's easy to face your fears. Fear was intended for us as a protective gift that thousands of years ago was necessary to keep us safe from wild animals and our enemies. But I think it's important for us to keep these two sobering thoughts in mind:
Roughly 10 people will cry at your funeral
You're going to die
When you understand these two things, it becomes a little bit easier to face the fears of what others might think. To face the fears of failing. To face the fears of taking a chance. To start that business or ask that person out.
At the end of the day, you and only you are the one who has to deal with the consequences of playing it safe or threatening your comfort zones to reflect your greatest possibilities.
You'll never jump out of the plane if you are waiting on the absence of fear. It's ok to do it scared. Do it anyway.