The importance of security is often accepted without question. Striving to achieve a comfortable and stable life, people play it safe. They put their passions on hold and instead, seek freedom from worries and hardships. They never learn how to overcome fear, and spend their life worrying too much.
Don’t take risks. Be reasonable. Get a safe job and stick with it. Don’t question the established order. Don’t waste time. Lock your door. Don’t talk to strangers. Stay in control. Always have a plan B. Don’t pick up hitchhikers. Keep an eye out for danger.
All these statements are rooted in fear. Fear of change. Fear of danger. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure. Fear of losing control. Fear of being scared.
Culture of fear
Modern society is organized around these fears. Insurance, soft mattresses, retirement plans, heated blankets, 9-to-5 jobs, weather forecast, sewage systems, prepackaged meals, air conditioning, alarm clocks, artificial light – all these manipulate our surroundings so we can avoid the instability of reality. They shield us from our raw, unpredictable and chaotic environment. In a way, they’re all intoxicants – ways to escape sober and unaltered existence.
Unfortunately, these conveniences have a hidden cost. While trying to attain security by controlling the external world, we tend to become internally weak. Instead of rising to the challenges of life and growing, we take the easy way out. We use technology to avoid negative experiences. We craft a life of apparent stability, but never learn how to overcome fear.
However, some hardships can’t be avoided. Diseases, disasters, deaths and many other pains are bound to come. But if we put all our eggs in one basket – on managing the outside world – we’re left incapable of dealing with these events. Some might go to their doctor and complain about how terrible life is. They’ll receive a tap on the back and a bottle of pills.
Even when things go “your way”, a secure life leaves you unfulfilled. Your external environment may be under control, but you’re left feeling empty inside. By overemphasizing the value of stability, you are cut from the richness of life.
When you live fearfully, you constantly compromise. You stay in dry but comfortable relationships. You keep working at a boring but stable job. You live in the grey zone where your lifestyle is too good to leave, but too bad to keep. You postpone your true passions and settle for 7 out of 10.
You may rationalize that you’ll pursue your dreams in the future, but it’s a mirage. It’s a trap. If you don’t live passionately right now, you never will.
Wake up! You live in the modern age! Most fears you have are not due to real danger, but to an unhealthy relationship with your mental processes. There’s no wolf running after you. Learn how to overcome fear! Don’t let your life be a symptom of passivity. Don’t let circumstances shape your life. Don’t get randomly kicked into a person you don’t want to become.
Never convince yourself that living fearfully isn’t so bad. Even if everyone else seems to be fine with it.
The myth of security
People act like reality can be controlled. That’s simply untrue. The world is dynamic. Everything changes. Anicca.
Look around you. Nothing is under control. Deaths and illnesses show up without warning. Things decay, burn and get stolen all the time. Nothing is permanent. Not even you. Sure, you may fool yourself for a while and manipulate some aspects of reality. But it never really works, doesn’t it? Maintaining superficial stability takes a huge amount of efforts. And in the end, things always break down.
Life is rigged; chaos prevails.
How do you respond to chaos? Either you embrace it, or attempt to shield yourself from it. The storm will never pass. Do you choose to be a victim and be paralyzed by fear? Or can you summon the courage to face it?
Acting out of fear
Acting out of fear strengthens fear. It transforms a feeling – fear – into a reality. This always has negative consequences. By living reactively – in reaction to fear – we close ourselves down. We create enemies and focus on the bad. Our world becomes ugly.
Instead of letting your actions be dictated by how you feel, rise to the challenges of life. Open yourself up and live consciously! Don’t worry about how you are going to feel. Focus on who you’re going to become.
Who do you want to become?
Each action you take sculpts you. Your decisions constantly push you towards a direction. Status quo does not exist. It all comes down to how you evolve. On who you become.
When we let life be directed by how we feel, we do the bare minimum. We focus on getting by. Instead of evolving, we minimize unpleasantness. Jumping through hoops of instant gratification, our sense of purpose and direction wavers. We lose touch with the passionate fire inside us.
Every second you spend outside of what you’re truly passionate about, a part of you is repressed. You send yourself a strong signal; I don’t follow my heart. Eventually, apathy arises. You can’t even feel your heart; you’ve closed yourself down.
Animals have no choice but to live reactively. They’re limited to fight or flight. Their actions are predicted by their environment, by how they feel. But you are different. You can act despite fear. This is courage. You can use free will in the gap between stimulus and response, and live according to who you want to become. You can be a product of choice, not destiny.
You don’t have to react fearfully to chaos. You can approach instability and unpredictability with confidence. With a baseline of trust and courage, chaos can become your friend.
You are born with an inner longing for peace, freedom and happiness. Something inside you craves for more than mediocrity. A search for completion. A quest for meaning. This will never stop if you don’t learn how to overcome fear.
The way out of fear is not through control, but through trust. The pursuit of security is a vicious circle. It has no end: chasing security only produces more fear. Just watch the news, it’s filled with fear-based reactions that never solve anything.
Jesus figured that out. Sow fear, and you shall reap fear.
To get out of the rat-race, your view of life has to change. You need to drop your desire for security, stop trying to control and take a step back. You have to let space arise within, so that intuition and passion can emerge.
Living out of basic trust may seem absurd. You may wonder what will happen.
How will things work out? What will I rely on? What should be my plan? What will others think? What will I do?
Again, all these questions are rooted in fear. Put them aside, these fears are not who you are. Get in touch with the part of you that is free from worries. Worries are always about the future. Deal with what is happening right now. There’s nothing to be scared of.
The part of you that sees fear is not scared. Let this be your refuge.
Passion will naturally arise when you stop chasing it. That chase is also rooted in fear. Let it go and jump into the richness of life. Try living out of complete trust for a single afternoon.
If you look for reasons to be fearful, you’ll always find plenty. That’s the paradigm most humans live in. It’s low risk and low reward. They focus on getting by, and die never having really lived.
Switch to a paradigm of passion and confidence. Follow your intuition and live from your heart. See reasons to open yourself up and to love. Be proactive and ruthlessly passionate, no matter what. This is how to overcome fear.
You don’t need to jump cliffs or to travel to dangerous places. It may help, but there’s no inherent reward in risking your life. However, there is enormous reward in meeting your fears face to face.
Following your heart
Don’t focus on actions themselves, but on their source. If an action is taken from a fearful place, you’ll justify it with secondary arguments. You’ll make excuses because deeply, you know it sucks.
Well, the pay is decent.
At least, the schedule is flexible.
It’s only a intermediary step before I really do what I want.
What else could I do?
I have no other option.
I’m too young/too old.
I’m not good enough yet for something better.
I don’t deserve more.
Rationalize all you want, but honestly, you’re just scared. You fear discomfort, lack of security and failure. But has a secure future, a comfortable environment and a predictable life ever made anyone happy? I doubt it.
Actions taken from trust and passion never need justification. They feel intuitively right. They are not a means to an end. They hold enough value in themselves to be worth it.
How to find your passion
You won’t become passionate by passively waiting for passion to arise. You have to take action. Do stuff that makes passion arise right now. Try new activities. Go to an unexplored place. Meet different people. Get out of your comfort zone. Be proactive and take full responsibility for your existence.
How would you live if you knew you couldn’t fail? If you knew you could handle anything life threw at you?
Don’t let daily noises, disturbances and tasks get in the way of what you deeply long for. Keep your eyes on what’s truly important. Trust the process. Focus on what you’re passionate about and on who you want to become.
Live intuitively, and everything will fall into place.