I’ve had this topic on my mind for a little while and this post will have a similar tone to my last post on using jealousy as a tool to discover your true hopes and dreams. Jealousy can be a powerful motivator and so can fear, if you choose to see it that way. Fear can take form in many an ugly headed monster, but the more ridiculous fears are usually the ones we listen to the most. Here’s where logic comes into play. If you’re able to step back and observe your fears objectively, they suddenly have less weight, less power over your actions.
I was listening to this TED talk on fear by novelist Karen Thompson Walker ( who by the way, tells this story wonderfully ) and I loved her perspective on what we can learn from fear. What struck me in particular was the concept of productive paranoia. “Instead of dismissing their fears, they read them closely and studied their fears and turned them into preparation and action. If their worst fears came true, they’d be ready.” Unfortunately, she says, fears can predict the future, so we should learn to recognize what fears to listen to and which to pass by.
So here’s the lesson I’m taking away from this brainstorm. Go for a walk in the sun ( hurry, before it’s too cold! ), turn off your imagination for a minute and flip on your sensibilities. Listen to your fears objectively. In that space is where you find clarity and direction.
- Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic