What would you do if fear wasn’t a factor?
Today I want to talk about fear.
Mostly, I want to ask you a simple question: what’s that one big thing you would do if fear wasn’t a factor?
You know that thing I’m talking about. That thing you dream about. That thing you want so much. That thing that makes your heart beat faster whenever you think about it. That thing that makes you feel more alive than anything else.
It can be anything.
Maybe your thing is flying halfway across the world to explore a new city. Maybe your thing is relocating. Maybe your thing is selling everything you own to downsize.
Maybe your thing is saying goodbye to a relationship that’s not serving you anymore. Maybe your thing is finally starting a conversation with that cute guy or gal you see at the coffeeshop every Tuesday afternoon.
Maybe your thing is changing your job, writing a book, starting a business, going off the grid, trying a new hobby, making new friends…the list goes on and on.
The point is we all have something. And the sad part is that sometimes, we stay in our safe zone because the predictability of what’s uncomfortable seems to be a better gamble than the unpredictability of something possibly better.
In other words, while the situation we’re currently in may not be ideal, we at least know what to expect from it, and because of that, we can control it. Making a change can be scary because we don’t know what to expect.
Let me give you an example from my own life. I want to relocate. I’ve been wanting to relocate for a while now. One thing I would particularly love to do is spend a few months in Paris every year.
My fears sound something like this: What if I don’t like it there? What if I get homesick? What if I realize I don’t want to spend a few months there every year after all? What will people say? Will they criticize me? Will I be lonely? How will I make friends?
On and on it goes. The funny thing is that these are all questions I couldn’t possibly know the answer to until I actually was in Paris to begin with!
And a lot of times in life, this is how we operate. We want to do something, but then the fears start taunting us, making us second-guess ourselves, making us question every moving part of the plan, trying to convince us we don’t actually want what we want.
So the other day, I started to journal: what would I do even if these fears weren’t a factor? What would I do if I didn’t let myself be controlled by these things?
And do you know what the answer was? I would buy the first ticket to Paris!
I think sometimes we’re under the false belief that every single decision we make has to be written in stone. But here’s the thing: if I got there and realized I didn’t like it after all, guess what? I could always fly back home. There really isn’t a lose-lose situation.
No matter what you choose, you’re always learning something about yourself. Instead of seeing situations that didn’t work out as failures, we should just see them as feedback.
You see, what I don’t want for you is to reach the end of your life and look back on it, and feel regret that you didn’t go after those things that you really wanted.
In my last newsletter, I mentioned the author of a book titled Maurice. Because of the subject matter of the book, the author was afraid to publish it during his life (this was the early 1900s). It was therefore published posthumously. The book is beautiful, and consumed me for days even after I’d already read it. I find it tragic that the author never got to experience seeing such a masterpiece in its published form.
If today was your last day on earth, what would you regret not having experienced?
And if fear wasn’t a factor, what’s one step you would take today to bring you closer to that experience?