The term fearless is used abundantly in our society. I recall hearing the word often while watching sporting events in my youth. Jack Buck would describe Joe Montana’s pocket presence as fearless or unflappable. Subconsciously, I began to see the absence of fear as an innate trait possessed by the fortunate few. To me, living with the absence of fear was akin to living with “grace” as described by Elaine Benes of Seinfeld. You either live without fear, or it is omnipresent in your life.
However, my life experiences contradict the convictions of my youth. I believe we all experience fear, we just manage it differently. My earlier blogs focused on the art of decision-making and the works of Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman. Tversky and Kahneman found we often make decisions to minimize failure and maximize security. This is known as risk aversion. Life is fraught with risks, hazards and opportunities for failure. However, these opportunities can be an avenue for professional and personal growth. Those who are fearless have discovered the utility of trepidation.
Fear is a primal trait and can be harnessed as a useful tool. Use the energy and adrenaline that often accompany fear. If you are worried about a situation or opportunity, research and prepare for the upcoming event. Preparation produces competence, and competence encourages confidence. Believe in yourself, live more and fear less. A life of fulfillment and purpose can be found by embracing, not averting risk.