“Make the climb – as the child did… without the rope.”
Rather than trying to “overcome” fear, sometimes fear needs to be embraced. Even loved.
Other people have said this in different ways – Burn the ships when you land (so you have no possibility of retreat and have to fight and push forward just to stay alive)…
Live like you have a gun to your head.
This is a very true and powerful idea.
I spent the majority of my life as an employee. A low-end wage slave working for other people, just barely eeking out an existence while I lived around the USA and around the world studying and training.
But I always felt like I had the potential to do something bigger. To be better than that. To achieve more.
Two and a half years ago my wife and I were in Beijing. She was pregnant. I landed another so-so job, but because of unforeseen circumstances we had to come back here.
I got my old job back here in Yangon, and because I knew I was about to have a kid, and things were going to be expensive I was working a ton of overtime. . .
Which I was guaranteed payment for in writing, and which I still have.
When push came to shove, they refused to pay me for a very significant amount of overtime work, which had been extremely difficult for me to do, and I really needed the money.
I suppose that is why they didn’t pay me.
Because they assumed that they had me over a barrel.
My choice would be to just let them do that to me, or leave the country to find work and leave my pregnant wife and daughter behind.
But – from hard learned past lessons I knew that any show of weakness, and compromise with people who want to treat you as prey only leads to more and bigger concessions down the road.
So, I erupted and went off on everybody. Rightly or wrongly, but – I was going to get that money.
I didn’t, and I also ended up unemployed in a (not really) developing country where I had no real connections, no liquid cash, and no realistic prospects of other employment.
So – I Made The Jump Without The Rope
Rather than do the safe thing and beg to keep a bad job, or go looking for another bad job in another country and leave my wife and daughter-to-be behind, I jumped as hard as I could, with all of my spirit.
Within 2 weeks of this ordeal I had my brick and mortar business set up here in Myanmar and had my first customers.
Within 3 months I was making more than double what I had ever made for doing the same type of work.
Within 6 months I was only working 2 days a week – for myself. With my wife. In my house – and making more money than I ever had in my life.
Now, things are very comfortable for me.
- My income is more than decent.
- I spend 24 hours a day, 5 days a week with my family.
- I train and work on my projects as much as I want.
But I never would have been able to change my life if I hadn’t given up the rope.
There are only 2 things that really motivate us as humans to make any significant change.
Those two things are desire and fear.
If you want to succeed at anything, you need to build a burning desire that completely consumes your entire existence. Every waking moment of your thoughts.
And you need to burn all of your boats. Cut all of your ropes and leverage your greatest ally in life to push you forward.
Fear Is Not Your Enemy To Be Avoided…
Fear is your best and most loyal friend in life – if you accept and understand it.
Every mediocre to great thing I’ve ever done in my life has been motivated by fear. The greatest fights I ever fought and won were fought howling and grunting like an animal with tears streaming down my face because I was so scared. . .
You Don’t “Overcome” Or Transcend Fear – You EMBRACE IT To Win…
Unless and until you’ve hit the 3rd or 4th level of awakening – fear IS a part of your existence and it can be the most motivational force in your life, if you let it.
Siddhatta’s spiritual training before becoming the Buddha involved disembodiment and a move away from experience as a human being.
His two main teachers, Arada Kalama and Udraka Ramaputra taught practices to transcend embodiment and enter into ethereal trances.
In his later journey with 5 renunciates, Siddhatta tried to disembody by annihilating his body through extreme ascetic practices.
Finally he realized he was going the wrong way.
That “transcendence” is really always the ego’s game.
The same old game of forgetting, ignoring and repressing.
At this stage he begins to become fully embodied to fully come to accept the ramifications of his own existence.
The other problem with “transcendence” is that normal puthujjana like you never REALLY transcends anything. What you end up doing is just repressing something, and what we repress we lose conscious control over.
Until you can TRULY self-awaken and transcend fear, it’s much more useful to embrace it, guide it’s flow, and allow it to become your trusted advisor and guide – within a context you consciously control.
In fact, the meditation upon fear and all of the terrible things that could happen – Premeditio Malorum is one of the most powerful and useful of the Stoic Askesis.
Brothers – I Give You Memes On Fear!
“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear but the triump over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
– Nelson Mandela
“A man that flies from his fear may find that he has only taken a short cut to meet it.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien
“Find out what you’re afraid of and go live there.”
– Chuck Palahniuk
“Don’t fear failure. Not failure, but low aim is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.”
– Bruce Lee
“Men are Moved by two levers only: fear and self interest”
– Napoleon Bonaparte
“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”
– Joseph Campbell
“First you jump off the cliff and you build wings on the way down.”
– Ray Bradbury
“My ”fear”… is my substance, and probably the best part of me.”
– Franz Kafka
“Fear is the mother of morality.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche
“Terror is as much a part of the concept of truth as runniness is of the concept of jam. We wouldn’t like jam if it didn’t, by its very nature, ooze. We wouldn’t like truth if it wasn’t sticky, if, from time to time, it didn’t ooze blood.”
– Jean Baudrillard
“It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.”
– Niccolò Machiavelli
“The best safety lies in fear.”
– William Shakespeare
“Find out what a person fears most and that is where he will develop next.”
– C.G. Jung
“Every morning a warrior should recommit himself to death. In morning meditation, see yourself killed in various ways, such as being shredded by arrows, bullets, swords, and spears, being swept away by a tidal wave, burned by fire, struck by lightening, dieing in a earthquake, falling from a great height, or succumbing to overwhelming sickness. An elder warrior said, “Once out of your front door you are surrounded by death. Once you leave your gate you are surrounded by enemies.” This saying is not merely a parable, but a way to prepare for your fate.”
– The Hagakure
“There are times when fear is good. It must keep its watchful place at the heart’s controls.”
“There is a time to take counsel of your fears, and there is a time to never listen to any fear. “
– George S. Patton
“Fear makes us feel our humanity. “
– Benjamin Disraeli
“What is needed, rather than running away or controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is understanding fear; that means, watch it, learn about it, come directly into contact with it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it.”
– Jiddu Krishnamurti