JB Sears on Fear
In a recent interview with Dave Aspry (the Bulletproof executive), comedian JP Spears said this:
In my opinion, an ingredient for a great life is being willing to scare ourselves to death in order to actually live, not survive, but live. I think when we're not willing to scare ourselves to death. . .it’s the equivalent of saying, ‘I'm going to sit in this coffin of my comfort zone, stay with what's familiar. I'll repeat the same patterns of my relationships, same repetitive patterns of my health, same repetitive patterns of my thinking about who I am and what the world around me is.’ But if we can break out of that coffin and actually embrace the mystery, embrace the unknown, embrace what we fear the most, that’s when we really begin to develop more fully.
I’ve been thinking about that interview for days now, and looking at my own life and how unwilling I am to scare myself to death. I talk all the time about wanting to live fully, happily, productively, beneficially; but in truth, I have rarely considered scaring myself in order to do that. I like things tidy, comfy, and under control.
But as I ponder Spears’ words, I’m wondering if there might be some truth to the idea of consciously placing ourselves in circumstances of fear.
Like most sentient beings, I want to maintain as much comfort as possible, both physically and psychologically. But I also know that I’ve become stronger physically from doing some things that really did scare the hell out of me. Like rappelling into a cave. Like jumping off a ten-meter high diving board. Like doing almost anything my trainer, Anthony Espaillot, asks me to do. And the same goes for my emotional life: speaking my truth in certain conflict-ridden situations has been of hard for me. But every time I do it, I become more grounded, more confident, more liberated.
I’m running three accountability groups at LifeArt Studio this spring. And I’m asking my clients to think about this idea, too. I’ve asked them to do some writing around the project their pursuing to see if there are parts of this project that scare them. Sometimes we self-sabotage our creative efforts when we become fearful about our ability to handle an idea or a project. And as coach, I’ve thought the best thing I can do is to help the client disarm the fear she holds so she can move forward with her work.
But what if we re-framed the issue of fear about a creative endeavor and started looking at it as a nudge to our creative growth? The fear, if faced with some degree of equanimity, can be the catalyst that takes us to the next stage of creative development. When we recognize our fear, label it, and take action anyway, we actually become stronger, more confident, and more successful in our endeavors. It’s not the enemy to be dismissed. It’s the prod that takes us to our next level of achievement.
What do you think? Have you scared yourself lately?