Fear Is Not a Motivator – Susan Arruda

Fear is not a motivator. I’ve seen it displayed in others, and yes, I’ve also experienced it enough times in my life, and it can paralyze you, it can hinder your growth and progress and worst of all, if you allow it, fear can keep you from moving forward in life. I became extremely aware of the overwhelming power of fear recently, when I found myself, along with my kids, at the thrilling attraction, CN Tower Edge Walk. Thoughts that barraged my mind included: Why do I do this to myself? This is terrifying! OMG, help me! This is self-inflicted! I don’t think I’m going to be able to take my hands off this lifesaving wire! Thank God I can do a pull-up! – As I sorted through all these fear-filled thoughts and emotions, I then began to mentally reason with myself. If I don’t walk to the edge, lean, and do all these terrifying stunts – all tested and proven to be completely safe – I’m going to be so disappointed in myself later on and feel completely jipped and so angry with myself.  

One thing’s for sure, conquering fear is empowering! The toughest part is the going through; not dwelling on the fear, but instead, focusing on the positives and the getting to the other side. As a metaphor, when compared to the many fearful experiences we go through in life, there are no shortcuts to getting around it. As scary as it often is, you’ve gotta go through or you get stuck. You conquer fear in your mind and you decide to act, even though you may feel inundated with it. Fear is an adversary designed to take you out, make you back down and scare you into not following through.  I reasoned through it, focused on the positives, decided and acted. Know what? Once you act and move beyond it, the experience gets easier, you get better, and gain confidence as a result.

A quote by Alfred Hitchcock says it best: There is no terror in the bang, only in the moments leading up to it. Life is full of these moments, be it your first job interview, a public speaking experience, etc.; trying something new can present much of the same conflicting emotion of fear. You know you should do it, but your fear is trying to convince you otherwise. Some of the seemingly smaller challenges (diving for the first time, doing a forward roll into the water – I’m drawing on the many personal experiences I witness as a swim instructor), can be a set up for the bigger things to come.  Will you rise to the challenge and overcome your fear or will you let it engulf you and hinder your future progress? Courage requires you to push past the fear and do it afraid. Repeating it enough times will annihilate and eventually, completely eliminate that fear altogether, in time. There’s something to be said for disciplining your mind and thoughts to resist yielding to fear – your progress depends on it!  Think of this acronym the next time you’re faced with FEAR; False Evidence Appearing Real! Don’t let it fool you or bully you into running away from pushing through and making progress! 

YES! I overcame the fear at 356m above the ground and performed all the “activities,” as they called them:-) What’s next, I ponder.

Susan Arruda