“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”
It’s a popular quote, it’s also profoundly true. We are limited by the things that we fear; the fear of failure, rejection, the unknown… even the fear of knowing what we are truly capable of.
I would like to take a little bit of time to explore the importance of not only facing your fears, but the rewards that you will find by overcoming them.
One of the aspects of any martial art or sporting discipline is its ability to make a practitioner confront their fears. It is impossible for a practitioner to progress without confronting personal fears and limitations and learning to deal with them. Everyone has encountered this within their own sporting context, that feeling of fear when shown a new technique or asked to perform in front of others. The demands and stresses of sports create new opportunities for us as people to embrace challenge & overcome fears and anxieties that we hold within our minds.
I remember distinctly every time in my life when I have been afraid. I remember both the times when I confronted that fear and when I rejected the opportunity to face it, I have tried to learn lessons from both. There is so much to gain from confronting your fears and confronting them will never fail to show you something new about yourself. You are empowered every time you step outside of yourself to overcome a new challenge.
Every time I have tried something new I have been afraid: teaching a class full of students for the first time, interviewing for new jobs, entering a tournament or travelling alone to somewhere new… These are not things I feel comfortable doing, yet I push myself to do them anyway because I know that they will help me to grow as a person. No one can make us leave our comfort zones as adults and it is very easy for us to languish there, but one thing that I have come to understand is that no experience worth pursuing is devoid of risk or fear.
I think people sometimes have a misconception of what it means to be ‘brave’. We tend to think that a person who displays bravery does not fear. I think a better way to think of it is to understand that a person who is brave is one who experiences fear, but does not allow fear to block their path.
So far this has been about fear on a grander scale, but it applies to even the smallest of things as well. We may choose not to tell the truth in a particular situation because we fear of the consequences, we may choose to act in a different way because we fear the consequences… If we choose not to act or speak out of fear we are choosing to limit ourselves and our experience of life.
There are endless quotes online about fear; motivational posters hang on the walls of institutions all over the world, telling you to move beyond your fears and chase your dreams… The reality is far simpler than any poster or motivational post can convey: Fear is a prison that we create for ourselves. To move beyond your fears is to move beyond the person that you were before; to become a better person because of the experience. Everything you want- being the awesome person you want to be, getting that dream job, having that great relationship– lies on the other side of fear
Thanks for reading.