How to Use Fear to Enhance Your Life

I was talking to a friend recently about a vacation. It was the first time this person traveled to Las Vegas. I’ve been one time before and I’m always excited for someone else to experience it. If you haven’t, then you might not understand why. I know that just being in Las Vegas is an experience and you can’t explain it to anyone else. There is an air of excitement and an energy that is unlike any other city.

This was also the first vacation this person had taken as an adult. In our conversation, my friend said, “It was scary.”

My response was, “Anything that is really worth it is scary.”

When we talk about fear, it’s often that it’s a warning that something bad is going to happen. There are times when fear can prevent you from getting hurt like when you are in a dark alley or the sick feeling when you encounter someone who doesn’t have your best interest at heart. But, fear doesn’t deserve all the bad press it gets. Fear can be an indicator that you are about to make a necessary change or embark on a path that you are meant to take.

It’s natural to feel fear when you are doing something new. Unfortunately, too many people allow it to stop them. They feel fear and think that it means that they are supposed to stop what they are doing and are lulled into complacency. But, sometimes, you have to step through fear and uncertainty to get to where you need to go. Life is a series of new beginnings. If you think about it, as you grow in life, you have to begin again. If it’s starting a new job or moving to a new house, you have to start over again and again. If you are starting a new relationship or taking the next step, such as marriage. You are starting something new. What you’ve known from your previous state may serve as a foundation, but you must learn a new way of being and experience your world in a new way. Each new experience is pregnant with potential, but each one also brings with it challenges.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”― Nelson Mandela

I’ve met people who are very stuck in their place in lives and rooted in fear. I know one person who is afraid to fly, so she hasn’t gone anywhere that she can’t fly. If only she confronted that fear, she could see the oceans and beaches of an island. In my conversations with people, I realize that their fears are often of things they don’t even know to be true. It’s their perception of what could happen that keeps them from truly living. Or, their fear could be in something that happened once and was painful. The remembrance of that pain is what keeps them from trying new things in their life. It’s my belief that when you stop trying new things that you die and become apart of the walking dead.

If you think about how you grow from a baby to an adult, it’s all a learning process. You learn your language and about your world through interaction. I don’t subscribe to the belief that once you are an adult that you know everything that you need to know. We are ever-changing and ever-evolving. Our world changes as rapidly as we do. And, if you want all the neurons to continue firing in your brain, you need to feed it new thoughts, experiences and places to discover. Happiness is in discovering things about yourself you never knew. You can’t do that if you don’t put yourself in life experiences where you don’t know the next step.

The next time you feel healthy fear or butterflies, instead of running away, embrace it. Let it guide you to the uncertainty of a new learning experience. And if you get a chance to take a trip to Las Vegas, I suggest you take it. It will change you.

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few”

Shunryu Suzuki

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