There are many things that limit what people do in their lifetime. It could be the location in which they live, it could be physical limitations, it could be finances, or it could be so many other things. One thing that holds many people back is fear. We have fears of failing, fears of getting hurt, and fears of being criticized. I heard recently that the two biggest fears we have as humans are the fear of not being enough and the fear of not being loved.
To say that you should be fearless would be absurd. We are hardwired to fear. It has helped us remain alive and continue on as a species. Fear of going hungry helped our ancestors to plan ahead and ration the food they had. Fear of being eaten by a lion pushed us to set up camp in a way, and in places, that limited the chances this would happen. Fear has been critical for us to survive, and thrive, for thousands of years.
While fear can be helpful, it can also be harmful. Too much fear, or irrational fear, can paralyze us. Had our ancestors had too much fear, they would have never set sail to seek out new lands. We would never have tried new foods. And we would never have become as advanced as we are today.
I am not sure how it could be quantified, but it seems like these days, we have become more fearful than ever. Today’s media has helped drive that. It turns out that this is the least violent time in history, making us safer than ever before from being a victim of violent crime. It may not seem true because of all the news outlets pushing the violence in our faces, but it is.
There are a few things that got me thinking about fear. One is that several people have recently expressed a severe fear of dying. I didn’t think too much of it until I heard someone speaking about death and dying, and how silly it is to be fearful. He said it was futile because we have no control over when or how we will die. And if we have no control over something, it makes little sense to worry about it. What struck me the hardest, and really got me thinking, was him saying that people are so worried about dying that they forget to fully live.
Do you know when you will die? No. So what good is worrying about that? Are you alive? Yes. Ah ha! Now here is something worth thinking about. How are you going to live??? This is something you have great control over.
The moment you forget about dying is the moment you can commit to focusing on living. How do I know? Because I have worked on this. I realized a long time ago that I could die at any time. I also realized that most people have many regrets when they are on their death beds. I decided that a life fully lived would be a life with no regrets.
Why does it take a health scare to start taking care of your body? Why does it take a crisis to realize the value of creating more experiences? Why does it take a tragedy to say deep, meaningful things to those close to you? The hard fact is that we all WILL die. Another fact is that we do not know when that will be. A third fact is that we have a choice on how we can live right now… today. So, join me on working to shift our attention away from the things we fear most (i.e. dying), and onto the things we have control over right now (i.e. living fully).
I have a college friend who was doing great things. When I asked him about things, he said that he had hit rock bottom, even contemplating suicide. Then he realized that he had to make a decision… to either get busy dying… or get busy living. He chose the later. So… how about you? It’s time to get busy living!