Issue #28 — 4.3 minute read
👋 Hey phi-lazy-phers
Fear of failure, success, starting, ending, what others think, flying, dying, loved ones dying, being fired, disappointing someone, terminal illness, not mattering. These are just a few of the fears I’ve had over the years.
I’m sure you and I share many of these and I’m sure you have plenty of others that I don’t have due to privilege and/or life circumstances.
Part of the human experience, it seems, is coexisting with a fear of the unknown. Even as I successfully overcome fears, my brain finds new ones to worry about.
How can we best use and/or dismiss fear in order to live a more proactive and intentional life? Let’s turn to philosophy.
Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.
Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom, in the pursuit of truth as in the endeavor after a worthy manner of life.
Reverend Lucy Winkett
Being afraid to fail is what prevents many of us from trying something new, putting ourselves out on a limb. It often stops us singing, running, working for an exam or telling a joke in company. Fear of failure can also stop us trying to pray. Just in case nothing happens. Just in case we feel foolish. Just in case we make a mess of it.
Confront your fears, list them, get to know them, and only then will you be able to put them aside and move ahead.
I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.
He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.
The pragmatist can’t worry about every possible outcome in advance. Think about it. Best case scenario—if the news turns out to be better than expected, all this time was wasted with needless fear. Worst case scenario—we were miserable for extra time, by choice. And what better use could you make of that time? A day that could be your last—you want to spend it in worry?
Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams…
When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.
Michel de Montaigne
He who fears he shall suffer, already suffers what he fears.
One way to deal with fear is to practice something Tim Ferriss has called Fear-Setting. It’s like goal-setting for fears. You can watch him explain it here.
He uses this exercise when he fears taking action in business or life, but it can be applied to general fears as well. It doesn’t magically make fear disappear, but it’s in line with what Jerry Gillies said above, “Confront your fears, list them, get to know them, and only then will you be able to put them aside and move ahead.”
✌️ Until next week, happy philosophizing.
Philosophy Phocus: Nihilism
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