Smashing Fear

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A long time ago, fear was our most important emotion. It would show up just in time to save us from the jaws of predators and the spears of enemies. Our lives were in constant danger as a natural circumstance of living in an uncivilized society, so fear was essential to our survival as a species. It is the deepest and most primal of our feelings.

Today, fear is a little less important than before. Life and death situations, while still the sad truth in many parts of the world, are rarer than they have ever been. Over time, we have gained the luxury of rational thinking, and need not be slaves to the fears that used to serve us.

Unfortunately, many of us let our fears hold us back from activating our true human potential. We all want to be our best selves, but so often we hold back because of fear. Some of us are afraid we’ll fail, get rejected, or look foolish. Others of us are afraid of the responsibilities that come with great power–as Marianne Williamson said, “our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate; our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

To avoid coming to terms with these truths, many people hide in denial of their fears, relying purely on rational thought and intelligence to move through the world. This has produced a society that is completely out of touch with its emotions.

Even though we’re not running from saber-toothed tigers and slaying elk these days, fear still holds value, and must be acknowledged. Stomach butterflies and the hesitation we feel before big projects are indicators that we should probably dive in head first. Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art and Turning Pro, says, “The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” In this way, he says, fear can serve as a compass pointing true north.

At The Bold Academy, the Bolders have embraced their ambitions and have chosen to submerge themselves in a month-long transformative experience. They have chosen to confront their fears and knead through their deepest, most tender knots of the soul. I visited The Bold Academy to share some thoughts with them on how they can continue walking towards and into the flames after their month is up. I visited them to make sure that they don’t pull punches and settle for comfortable mediocrity when they return to the real world. It will be up to each of them to make that happen, but based on the incredible insights and energy they showed during the group activities, as well as the resolve they showed during our one-on-one conversations, I’m confident that they’ll continue to slay whatever dragons stand in their path after The Bold Academy

Written by Ted Gonder, co-founding Executive Director of Moneythink.

Photos by Cloe Shasha.

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