Fear and Failure in a New Context

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Life begins outside our comfort zone.
Fear is a liar.
Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real.

We have hundreds, if not millions, of ways that we describe or try to declaw fear. It’s likely our least favorite emotion and something we’d like to never experience, if possible, except for the thrill-seekers in a haunted house. And that’s more about the adrenaline rush and less about the fearfulness.

I was listening to a podcast called On Being with Krista Tipett and she was interviewing best-selling author Seth Godin. He’s self-admittedly created several businesses with many of them ending in failure. He talks about failure and life experiences with the calm and centeredness of a monk.

“Use fear as a compass to push you toward bringing your best creative work to life,” Godin invites.

That was a rather evocative idea. My first instinct when stumbling upon fear is to run in its exact opposite direction. I certainly never thought of it being my compass for anything except danger.

This is making me question the whole idea I have of fear. Maybe I have been interpreting fear incorrectly all along. Maybe fear is the universe’s way of telling you to go slow, take deliberate steps because this is uncharted territory, but it’s not telling you to stop.

Fear crops up in many contexts but the most common is within the possibility of failure. Many of us would rather lead uneventful lives in an effort to sidestep failure. We’ll do just about anything to avoid coming up short. Godin, on the other hand, questions why we flee from failure. He suggests using it as confirmation of being alive.

What is all this craziness, you may be thinking? I don’t know!
Pretty soon, he’s going to say the sky is yellow!

What kind of choices would I make differently if fear was, instead, a compass toward my greatest creative endeavor and failure was simply another way to take my pulse?? What would happen if fear and failure were simply reminding me I am alive, I tried and it didn’t work at in this moment?


It is possible that the directive “feel the fear and do it anyway” is the next, right thing.

Sunshine & Sarcasm,

Lowi & G

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