THE SECRET OF LIFE
Updated: Nov 30, 2020
“He who is not every day conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
I just sat there. Staring ahead, with some strange expression plastered all over my face. To anyone else I probably looked like I was in excruciating pain.
Maybe I was…
I was paralyzed. Frozen in some kind of catastrophic fear. Not the kind of fear you would experience if you, say, crossed paths with a spider. But the kind of fear that a caveman probably would’ve felt if he were eye to eye with a woolly mammoth.
“It’s all over,” I thought to myself.
“I can’t do it.”
“They’ll laugh at me.”
“They’ll call me a loser.”
“They’ll throw stuff at me.”
It wasn’t like I was about to walk on stage and deliver an acceptance speech at the Oscars. I was just going to casually volunteer two hours of my time to a local community charity.
That’s the power of fear.
How many of us are living in the shadows of our looming fears?
I looked it up.
The answer is…
Pretty much all of us.
I might’ve been in a whole different category though, to be honest. The category of complete debilitation.
“Just face your fears,” they all said.
Easy. Simple as pie.
“Uh… no,” I would tell them.
Turns out… it actually is that easy. Well, maybe easy isn’t the right word. Simple is probably a better description.
There comes a time in life when you just have to take a step into the unknown. That’s what the future is, after all. It’s all an unknown. And yet, it seems so scary to many of us.
Churchill famously said, “The only thing to fear is fear itself.”
If Churchill said it, then it must be true.
We’re living in an age of fear. And yet, it’s the fear itself that most debilitates us. It really has nothing to do with what may or may not happen in the future.
We’ve all heard of living in the present moment. Like most people, I thought that was bogus. But, it turns out that there’s a lot of validity to that kind of wisdom.
Because the present moment, the now, is all we have. It’s all there is. The past is over. The future has yet to happen.
So, in an era of fear, perpetuated by a pandemic, civil and political crises, I made a decision.
Every day… I’m going to face that woolly mammoth.
Every day, I’m going to face and surmount a fear.
And that’s the secret of life, they say. It’s to plant ourselves face to face with what makes us uncomfortable.
Because in every moment of discomfort, there is growth. There is an evolution that happens in the body and mind. And then we begin to realize that what frightens us really wasn’t all that scary.
The first step is always the hardest.
But, as I’ve learned, once you take that first step… you won’t regret it afterwards.
Because the best things in life are on the other side of fear.