Fear – something that takes a toll on all of us, including the innately fearless. We often allow this fear to overtake our courage, holding us back from reaching the heights of our potential. Personally, I believe that without fear, we would not be able to fully grasp its opposite – courage. As is pain to pleasure, and sadness to happiness, fear can act as a catalyst towards growth in courage if used as a controlled tool, instead of as something that controls us. This is a difficult feat to achieve, but after reading this post, you’ll see why I believe that it’s difficulty is merely a blessing and inspiration to overcome it.

I know this quote is just a line from a movie, but it might just be one the greatest and truest things I’ve ever heard. In fact, quite frankly, it is something I try to remind myself of every day as I challenge myself towards becoming everything I aspire to be in this life and in the Hereafter…

“If we are going to survive this, you must realize that fear is not real. It is a product of thoughts you create. Now, do not misunderstand me – danger is very real. But fear, is a choice.” – After Earth

This concept is the first and only understanding of fear that has truly helped me to overcome my own fears and instead, find a desire for facing said fears. Fear is something that we cannot see, but it is something we create within our own minds as a defense mechanism against that which we are uncomfortable with or believe could harm us in some way. If we take this fear and recognize it as merely a thought we construct in our minds, we can then construct a different, more positive thought to counter that fear.

There is far more strength in a man who faces his fears than in a man who is fearless by nature.

I’ve grown up with fear and nervousness playing a large role in my life, because there were very few people that encouraged me or helped me feel that I was worthy of practically anything. I would get hollow compliments from people, and would later be insulted or discouraged by those same people. It felt insincere, making it difficult for me to trust, and instead of motivating me to believe in myself, it lead to a life of self-doubt and a need to satisfy and gain approval from others.

Only a few years ago did I realize this to be my reality, and began to take whatever steps I could to fight those fears. When trying to train our minds to put up a fight against that which we fear, our first step is to recognize that we are afraid of something. Then, tell yourself that you’re going to face that fear no matter, and the next time it challenges you, do the exact thing you are afraid to do. It will take time to accomplish, but in time you will grow and adapt to it, and it will become second-nature. Through this process of just facing your fears, you will find yourself doing things you have never dreamt of doing. For example, for years, I was afraid of failure and so, I wouldn’t work very hard on my businesses or projects, but rather, would make excuses to try to keep myself from trying something or from taking a risk towards what I wanted. Now, however, since I began facing my fears, I have developed a love and pull towards doing exactly what I fear. So, when it comes to work, I am more confident, more ambitious, more courageous, and a greater risk-taker. And honestly, I have never been happier with myself.

Fear is normal. It’s a part of what makes us who we are. But if we allow it to control us, we become slaves to it, whereas, if we learn to control it, it becomes our slave. Fear is a tool that we can use to become more courageous and to become more driven and ambitious in our careers, health, relationships, and overall lives. Ask yourself what you fear today, and take a leap of faith, and do exactly what you fear doing. You will become stronger, and will find yourself finding a drive for more than you’ve ever imagined. Open up the door to possibility for yourself and make fear fear you.