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More on Understanding Fear

Last time I wrote about how fear is like demons on the boat. The demons can’t actually touch you, their power is in their intimidation. And powerful they are.

Fear teams up with your inner critic – the voice inside you that judges and demeans you. The combination of fear + inner critic can be an idea killer.

A friend of mine started a ‘365 Project’ where she takes a picture every day for a year and posts her daily picture to an online journal. Following her project rekindled my interest in photography that had been dormant for years, and the project looked like fun. So I jumped right in and started my own! Not exactly.

This was something new, so fear piled on. Every time I thought “Hey, I think I might want to do this” the demons jumped up and the inner critic chimed in with messages like this:

You won’t have enough ideas.

You won’t find a picture every day.

Your pictures won’t be good enough.

People will laugh at you.

This is stupid.

I dropped the idea like a hot potato.

How easy was it to shut this idea down? Fear was telling me I had failed before I even started.

Elizabeth Gilbert says:

“Your fear is the most boring thing about you.

Fear only ever tells you one thing: STOP.

Whereas creativity, courage and inspiration only ever want you to GO.

GO = motion = change = fascination = possibility = growth = LIFE.”

Often we want fear to go away before we take action. The thing is, that doesn’t happen. Fear doesn’t disappear. You move ahead in spite of being afraid.

Courage comes after action, not before.

“Without risk, there can be no progress.” – George Low

After four months of following my friend’s project and thinking about doing my own, I finally took a tiny step forward. I started carrying my camera around. One day I took a picture. The next day I took another. And the next day. After five days I had evidence that I could take a picture every day. I started my 365 journal with those five pictures.

The best way to take action in the face of fear is by taking little steps – steps so tiny your inner lizard won’t notice. Like carrying my camera – nothing scary about that. And noticing that the world DOES NOT END when you take a tiny little action. So then you can take another one.

I’m now 150 days into my 365 Project. Take that, fear!

What can you do – what little step can you take – to do the thing you’ve been thinking of doing?

“We think our fears are precious and special, but they aren't. WE are precious and special, but our fears are not. I want us all liberated from the path of fear, for many reasons — but mostly because it makes for such a damn boring life.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

Photo credits: Me. 365 Project.

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