Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

This post is written in solidarity with Leo Babauta, who received an email informing him that the phrase “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” was copyrighted. Since this phrase happens to be one of my mantras, I disagree with having someone owning the phrase and dictating how and where it should be used. While I believe it’s important to respect intellectual property, I don’t think you need to be an intellectual to come up with a phrase like this, let alone claim ownership of it!

Rational and Irrational Fears

Fear is one of the strongest and most fatal obstacles to success. It paralyzes us from ever taking action to achieve our goals.

But fear (like all other negative emotions) exists to advance our life on earth. We experience fear so that we do not take the actions that can put us in harm’s way. Fear of heights is a very reasonable emotion to experience. Without it we might jump off high places with a wide smile on our faces!

So fear itself isn’t a problem. It’s there for a reason.

It becomes a problem when we experience it in the wrong situations or for the wrong reasons. This kind of fear is irrational. Rather than fulfilling its role of protecting us, it causes us damage. This is the kind of fear that needs to be uprooted from our lives.

Overcoming Irrational Fears

Given the fact that irrational fears aren’t grounded in reality, they are based on impressions and assumptions we have formed about an experience we have yet to experience! Those most frightened of public speaking usually don’t have any experience speaking in public! But they assume it will be a terrifying ordeal and so they go through the emotions that support their impression.

Is there anything to really be afraid of when speaking in front of an audience?

Not really. To be more specific: whatever it is you’re afraid of, fear will make it worse.

If you’re afraid of making a fool out of yourself, then being frightened to death to get up on stage won’t make you less of a fool. 🙂

Fear that is not based on real threats is baseless, and the only way to expose it is by taking action to dispel it. That way, we would have experienced what we are frightened of, without the threats that we feared, simply because they never existed!

Fear in Everyday Life

You might think that fear pops up only when it comes to radical situations, such as bungee jumping or being confronted by a grizzly bear. But we experience fear on a very regular basis. In fact, fear is one of the most common causes of procrastination. We put off work because we’re afraid of the experience, or the outcomes.

But usually, when we bring ourselves to do the work, we realize that it’s not bad after all and that we have underestimated our ability to get it done. The fears were irrational.

There are many opportunities around us to move our lives forward, but we overlook them because we’re too afraid of the unknown or whether we are capable of achieving our goals or not. But rather than live in a bubble of fear, it’s important that we liberate ourselves from irrational fears and interact with reality, to discover how meaningless our fears are.

Don’t deny that you are frightened. Don’t blame yourself for being afraid. Don’t mix your fear with guilt.

Feel the fear and do it anyway.


Short Film: What Is That?

A touching short film about parents and parenting. I don’t want to spoil a thing, so just watch the film!