Saturday, November 19, 2011

Live at the Edge of Your Fears

Figure 20 from Charles Darwin's The Expression...Image via WikipediaBy Adam Alvarado

How often do you do what scares you?

How often do you choose the daring option over the safe option?

How often do you shun what is, to you, the comfortable and familiar path for the one that seems less certain, less known, more frightening?

The vast majority of people - whether they are willing to admit it or not - are stuck in the various routines of their lives. In a world of growing responsibilities and increasing burdens, it's easy to become comfortable with what works, what feels normal, what feels safe.

The strange thing is, we didn't used to be this way.

In our youngest years, we did whatever we wanted, all the time. Nothing scared us and nothing stopped us. But in the lessons of our youth and the pressures of our adolescence that ability slowly died, and whereas the new lived by our desires, now we too often live by our fears.

Instead of taking any chance, we take too few.

As we age, this problem only worsens, as what was once normal becomes less and less so, as our comfort zones grow smaller and smaller. And soon the routines of our lives aren't simply guides, but laws. And we then stop experimenting. We stop trying out some new food, or taking a drive out to some new place. We stop doing what was once exciting, but now considered impulsive or risky.

We don't up and go skydiving with our friends cause there's nothing else to do. We don't take that trip that the state department would advise against, because they don't have the 4 star hotels we've become accustomed to.

But that's not life. It's not living. It's not fun.

A favorite author of mine once wrote that we must at all times be leaning into our fears. We must always be pushing what is, to us, the very extent of our comfort zones. We must always be doing what scares us.

A life lived in the safe is no life at all. It is in your fears - in that part of life you have heretofore neglected - that you will learn, and grow, and experience.

It's there you actually feel alive.

So screw your routines. Screw the idea that you can't do something or risk something

Do it anyway. Do it instead.

Trust your desires rather than your fears; your gut rather than your mind.

Learn something. Experience something. Fail even.

You'll be much happier you did.

Adam Alvarado is the founder of, and principal contributor to, The Last Broken Home, a self development blog dedicated to his journey from teen depression to self esteem.

Central to the site is the idea that all people all people, regardless of parental participation and quality, are raised in an environment that in some way proves an obstacle to their full and complete emotional and mental maturity; that the tendency for anxiety and depression, indecision and stagnation found in most adults is best explained through the learned behaviors of their youth, and therefore best addressed there in others.

READ MORE: Challenge Your Comfort Zone

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