Are You Interested In What You Fear?
Directly on the other side of fear lies interest. You cannot be physically interested in something without experiencing some level of fear. They exist in the same realm of thought. Occasionally they bump into one another and become lovers. This happens when we finally decide to get over our damn selves and do what we have been fearful to start, but what we are genuinely interested in.
Have you ever noticed that some of the things we put off are some of the most simplistic to complete? Applying for a new job, singing your all-time favorite song at the karaoke bar, asking someone out to dinner, starting the podcast you’ve been talking about for years, etc. On paper these things are all indeed uncomplicated. So why is it that we put them off for so long? It makes no sense, right?
Fear can be encumbering because risk is real. The extreme among us are fascinated by fear and seem to ignore risk entirely. I’m not insinuating you become an adrenaline junkie, but I am insinuating that there is a sweet spot between fearful and thrilling. That sweet spot is interest. Once you learn to identify that you are interested in travelling to a foreign land, even if it means getting on a flight, you will begin to squash your fear of heights.
Don’t get me wrong, of course there will times where you wonder whether your fear derives from interest or whether there is simply too much risk involved. How could you possibly know in the present if this idea will serve you in the future? Sure, sometimes it is a gamble, but my best advice on this point is to listen to your body. It’s that easy. You can future proof by being emotionally vigilant and frequently assessing your interest level.
When an idea begins to make the rounds in your brain, how does your body respond? Do you feel a small fire begin to ignite inside of you, or do you feel sick? If you feel sick, is it butterflies in your stomach sick, or is it anxiety ridden might vomit sick? If it doesn’t make you feel queasy in a good way, gently ask yourself whether the queasiness is borne of fear, or of self-preservation due to excessive risk.
Fear wants to keep you shackled in place. It wants you two steps behind where you are now, but somehow, you’ve managed to get here. It didn’t stop you from getting here, and it won’t keep you from where you’re going, as long as you remain cognizant of it. Fear is all bark no bite most of the time anyways. If it energizes you and you’re fascinated by it, attack it. If fear terrifies you, attack it. You will inevitably get through the scariest moments and come out the other side laughing. The lion that scared you now resembles a kitten - what was once vicious in your mind is now cute and cuddly.
Your fear wants to be nurtured and domesticated, it doesn’t want to run wild in your brain any longer. It doesn’t even want to be considered fear as time progresses. It would now like to be categorized as a thought. All it is, is a thought. All it ever was, was a thought.