sliding-scaredHave you ever wondered why you don’t go after the things that you want?  Could it be that you’re just afraid?

John Wayne said, “Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.”

Fear can paralyze, but it doesn’t have to.  Action while facing fear is courageous.  So  how do you do that?  How do you act when being frozen?

Some people just lash out, any movement just to break the grip of fear.  You’ve seen this in funny videos when people lurch and wiggle in all sorts of uncontrollable ways as their body tries to process through the fear.  It looks funny after the fact, but it’s deadly serious when breaking out of that frozen fear response.

For those with a little more analytical mind, there is always reasoning through fear.  Recognizing that what you’re facing isn’t as lethal or final.  And knowing that fear is not unexpected.  Here’s how Mark Twain put it, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.  Except a creature be part coward it is not a compliment to say it is brave.”  If you aren’t facing fear, year really can’t be called brave – now that’s something to, well, give you courage!

Bringing this down to a personal point.  I’ve been wrestling with this blog for a long time and very early this morning I asked myself, “What is it you are afraid of with writing to the blog?”  There were a few answers, but one that stuck out was that I was afraid that I’d just say the same thing over and over again.  Then I asked myself two questions:

  1. Is it so bad to repeat a message – if it’s a good one?  Repetition is how we learn and master.
  2. How could you avoid doing that?

So the first one is an example of an unfounded fear.  When you look at it, it kind of evaporates.  So let’s say at the end of the year, either in December or January, you wrote yet another blog post about wrapping things up, reviewing what’s been done, new beginnings, setting goals, and fresh starts?  Is that so bad?  (OK, now don’t go looking in my blog archives – because that’s exactly what you’ll find! ) I already did it!  So my fear has been realized, is it the end of the world?  Who cares really?  If it’s where me head is – and it’s getting there again as the year runs down.  That fear is unfounded and once faced down, diminishes and becomes a nag, or even nothing at all.

Then there’s #2.  This is a legitimate fear of mine.  Repeating stories I’ve already told makes me feel foolish.  But sometimes people haven’t heard the stories.  They’re new to them, if old and boring to me – since I keep telling them.  But if it bothers me, it bothers me.  What can be done?  Well I came up with a solution.  Technology.  What?  Shocking, I know.  Evernote is my friend.  It’s a place to just keep track and store anything from anywhere in the cyber universe.  And I just finished archiving everything I’ve ever said in this blog.  The beauty?  It’s all locally searchable.  So when I have an idea for a blog post I can search through my old posts quickly, without having to reread each one and see if I’ve used a word or phrase like the one stuck in my head before.  If not, I can blog away with my new found courage.

Facing your fears is a great way to actually move ahead on your voyage.  In fact, it is really the test of your mettle, your virtue.  I like the way C.S. Lewis puts it, “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”

So take the opportunity to put your courage to the test and exert your virtue.  Whenever I think of courage I think of this song that I came across.  I’m always the last to discover songs, so this is probably some pub tune from the mid 18th century and I’d be none the wiser…

This song puts some wind in my sails – check it out: