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Why Fear is Overrated

overcome fear

Fear is perhaps one of the greatest common denominators among people today. Everyone is afraid of something. From the smallest ant to the biggest retrenchment, it is a universal feeling that no one can deny.

The worst part is that fear, if allowed to fester, can be incredibly crippling. A man with the potential to be a great person can be reduced to a whimpering pile of mess. It is very much akin to clipping the wings of an eagle off, which is tragic. The eagle was meant to soar high in the bright skies, where the limits are boundless. In the same way, us humans have incredible, untapped potential within each and every one of us. We are all made unique, with a special combination of abilities that set us apart from each other, which, if harnessed, can be used to do great things.

So why are great people rising up in such small numbers? The answer: Fear. We’ve been convinced that risk is not worth taking. It’s been whispered in our ears that it’s not worth it, that we should stick to the tried-and-tested. It’s been insinuated that sticking to the conventions are the best, because they are proven and secure. We’ve been bribed with huge future returns… If we stay on this one path of life. You know the path: Good school to good job to good income = Good life.

Yet, how many working people today would actually dare to say that they are living out their dreams daily, that they are pursuing their passions and using their abilities to the fullest, that they are actually happy?

Fear has kept us on the road more taken. The road not taken, as it is, is covered in moss and undergrowth, and seems to be a scary place to tread. However, all it takes is for someone to sweep the moss and undergrowth off the road at the beginning, and voila! the road is as clear as day. All it takes is a step in the right direction, and you’re on your way.

I find that fear is not necessarily a bad thing. If you fear something, you know for sure that if you actually overcome it, you have grown as a person. Overcoming fear leads to growth. Rising up to the challenge in the first place, however, takes courage. The road is not easy, I can tell you that — but the returns are great.

Life is too short to be hindered by fear. Don’t pass up the potential that you have because of a moment of anxiety. Do something that you are afraid of today — or at least, take baby steps in that direction, but nevertheless, take steps. I first took the step to publish my rather unpolished writing 3 years ago and never looked back. If you love writing but are afraid of criticism, start a blog now. If you love photography but don’t dare to take photographs in public, take one photo a day for a year — that’s 365 photographs for your portfolio.

And I guarantee you this: It will all be worth it.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

– Robert Frost

This post first appeared (mostly) on Fever Avenue: Fear is Overrated, and re-posted on Medium.

2 comments

  1. Amelia - January 12, 2014 1:42 am

    Hi Daniel,

    what an inspiring entry. What you write is quite true; a simple truth, but alas not an easy one to live by or to accept. I particularly like the poem. Wishing you a happy and fruitful new year, and I hope more people, myself included, can move at least a few steps away from fear in 2014.

    Regards,
    Amelia

    • Daniel Tay - January 17, 2014 2:35 pm

      Thanks Amelia – wishing you a particularly brave new year in 2014 as well 🙂