Last night I was watching the animated film “The Croods”, purely for feel good value of course, when I stumbled onto a thought so powerful I woke up this morning feeling much different than I had in years past.
One of the themes within the movie “The Croods” is that ever-present decision to act with courage or acquiesce to fear in life.
The family of cave-people in “The Croods” had survived all sorts of calamities and found themselves the last of the cavemen alive, or so they thought. Their survival, in no small part, was because they were conservative with their life – even living the mantra “If it’s new or different, it’s bad”, and if it’s bad “You’re going to die!”. Hiding in their cave, away from light they had continually escaped predators such as sabre toothed tigers and other natural events that would be detrimental to their survival, but on so many occasions they retreated to their cave in fear of nothing rational.
To make a long story short, the Croods meet another surviving caveman who is not indoctrinated into the idea that all new things are bad. He shows them a new world, and in doing so, saves them from a major calamity that would have certainly ended their fragile existence. They learn that trusting in the light that all things will work out, and having faith that the universe will provide, leads to an interesting and more fulfilling life.
After watching the feel good movie I realize that while I have no clinical fears in life (i.e. arachnophobia – fear of spiders, coulrophobia – irrational fear of clowns, acrophobia – fear of heights, or nyctophobia – fear of the dark), I have small fears over things in the background of my life that I’ve stuffed away, out of sight, in order to not have to admit I’m scared, or more importantly – a lesser person for experiencing them.
The reality is that everyone – you, your brother, your sister, your parents, and your friends have the same fears. These fears keep people from opening up their life to new possibilities and adventures. Like viruses, fears are propagated through societies by whisper campaigns. Whether or not these campaigns are started with malicious intent, they are highly effective at immobilizing and limiting the higher potential of humanity.
Fear of success and actually freeing oneself from your current situation might be the most common fear holding people back. I know it’s one of my biggest fears. This fear combined with the fear of not living up to my potential leads to a paralyzing existence. An existence that promotes another fear of mine – Not actualizing a dream of my own. By not actualizing a dream of my own I promote a fear of living a life full of regrets. It’s a vicious circle not too unlike that discussed by the late, great Alan Watts. Being anxious over being anxious is no way to live. By cutting out the most basic and rudimentary fears in your life this chain reaction can be ended swiftly. If facing smaller fears and overcoming them leads to dissolution of larger looming fears than maybe adopting a policy of confronting any fear head-on will revolutionize our human existence.
I plan a small experiment this month and invite you to join me. Anytime I feel that I’m scared to do something for whatever the reason, I will face it head on. Starting with little fears like going out to the movies and eating by myself (at a restaurant of course) and moving up the fear-ladder, to fears such as unconditionally loving, trusting and baring your soul to a significant other, and taking steps towards a new life and career.
It’s going to be a great month. I’ll treat it like a video game and have some fun with it. Just you watch – by the end of this month I’ll bet “Papa’s got a brand new bag!”
Remember this – “Courage is the price life exacts for granting peace” –Amelia Earhardt