Here’s the thing about life that no one will tell you: we’re all afraid.
All of us.
Think of the bravest, strongest person you can possibly think of: that person is afraid. That person was most likely afraid when they did whatever it is they did to make them earn that title in your mind.
This world is a huge and terrifying place filled to the brim with uncertainty.
You can never know if the decision that you’re making is the right one or not. You can never know if it will all turn out all right in the end, because you simply aren’t at the end yet.
Maybe you will f*ck up. In fact, chances are, you will at one point or another in your life. Life is hard, and it is filled with dangers and failures and pain, and we cannot avoid them altogether.
So, of course, we’re afraid.
And yet, we console ourselves with stories of bravery. With this idea that there are people in this world who are made differently from us, people who are capable of amazing feats because they just don’t feel fear. They smile in the face of adversity and they think it’s cute. They think it’s beneath them. They overcome any obstacle because they are different. They are courageous. And we aren’t like them, but at least we can rest easy knowing that those people exist.
Well, no. That just isn’t how the world works. It might have been when we were children, but things aren’t quite so simple now. The world is not split into heroes and cowards, or people who don’t feel fear and people who do.
Because, as I said, we are all afraid—every single one of us.
The people who accomplish amazing feats are not made any differently than us. They are not more than human; they do not feel more or less than we do. They’re just people. People who were positively terrified to do something at one point or another, and yet they did it anyway. It mattered enough to them that they valued it higher than their fear.
Filled with terror and uncertainty, these people who we look up to and tell stories about marched on and, eventually, it became easier for them to do it. Their fear, which assaulted them daily at first, simply became background noise, and they became accustomed to this as their life.
And they were afraid.
Of course they were afraid, but they didn’t allow that fear to stop them from doing what they wanted. They controlled their fear.
Because courage does not come from a lack of fear, but from the ability to move forward despite it.
And, of course, not all of them succeeded. Not all of us are going to succeed, but that’s not why we do things. We do things because they matter, because they are important to us. This world is too uncertain, too vast, and too endless for us to know the outcome before it happens.
But, if we don’t at least try, then we know—with absolute certainty—that we will never succeed. We give up on what we want entirely from the moment that we decide to let fear get in the way.
The only action that creates certainty is giving up and giving in. Trying puts us in a place of uncertainty—one in which we may fail, or we may get exactly what we want.
And, yes, that thought is scary. But, it is also worth the battle.
It is worth defying your fear and becoming that person who is thought of as extraordinary.
Author: Ciara Hall
Image: Valeria C★Preisler/Flickr
Editor: Leah Sugerman