Weekly Self-inflictions #10: Fear (Transcript)

“You want to get y

our fear behind you where it’s pushing you forward instead of in front of you where it’s stopping you.” ~Jordan Peterson


Life begins when fear is integrated. Action is where transformation happens.

Fearlessness is a matter of acting courageously, knowing mistakes will happen; rather than merely existing, fearful of making any mistakes.


Fighting for the better at risk of the worst is superior to shirking the better for fear of the worst. Similarly, worst-case scenarios should not be avoided at the expense of healthy progress. Healthy progress should be embraced at the risk of worst-case scenarios.


Otherwise, we don’t get anywhere but where we are. Which is great if “where we are” is perfect. But since perfection is not possible, we must be willing to risk upsetting the all-too-precious apple cart in order to progressively evolve into a healthier species. This requires the integration of fear.


As Frank Herbert said, “Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”


See through fear. Life is short. Live dangerously. Flip all the scripts. Turn all the tables. Push all the envelopes. Transform fear into fuel for fearlessness. Punch God in the face if need be. Trip the devil into the brambles if you must.


Transforming fear into fearlessness is self-alchemy. Alchemy denotes a transformation. When we’re courageous in the face of fear, we are practicing emotional alchemy. It’s about being proactively engaged with a negative emotion in a healthier way.


Imagine a firefighter standing outside of a burning building with a baby on the top floor. He would be a fool not to fear the inferno. Fear is the natural and proper response to a deadly situation, after all. But if he doesn’t act courageously despite the fear, the baby dies. So, he must first FEEL the fear and then ACT with courage, in order to do the right thing and save the baby.


Transforming fear into fuel is an act of opening the floodgates so that a Flow state can consume us. Tapping into the Flow state is about letting go and becoming a fountainhead. Muscle memory becomes master. Complete surrender to our game, our craft, our art is all that matters.


No amount of practice, discipline, or talent will get us into the Zone if we don’t first transform our fear into fuel. This requires surrender.


Fearlessness involves the ability to face fear, to subsume it, to let it become a part of the process. It’s going all in. Absolute vulnerability over resolute invulnerability. Getting into the Zone over remaining in our comfort zone.


Fear is fuel for the fire of high achievement. Fear is motivation. Fear is providential impetus. As Joseph Campbell said, “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”