It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live. ~ Marcus Aurelius
Fear regret. Most fear death or bodily harm or failure, but it’s the fear of regret that will propel us to attempt things we won’t attempt if we fear the latter more than the former.
The fear of regret, of dying with a heard filled with the stinging pain of not taking advantage of opportunity, pushes us to live. The fear of death confines us to an existence devoid of daring adventure or audacious attempts.
Don’t fear death, it’s a constant. It’s something that will come in its time regardless of whether you’re ready or not. Fearing regret, of dying on your deathbed wishing you’d been more and done more and accomplished more should conjure a pit in your stomach that can’t be cured until you start doing what you know you must do, living in a way you deem as life, not mere existence.
Most live a life of cowardice, a life in avoidance of living. They’re pussies. Don’t be a pussy. Don’t fear death, it’s an illogical thing to fear because it grabs every single one of us. Not living, however, is something most do but everyone has the choice not to do.
We can all live, few ever do. Be of the few, not of the many. Live a damn daring life in the face of irrational fears. Be a badass. Don’t be a little bitch.
Dying was nothing and he had no picture of it nor fear of it in his mind. But living was a field of grain blowing in the wind on the side of a hill. Living was a hawk in the sky. Living was an earthen jar of water in the dust of the threshing with the grain flailed out and the chaff blowing. Living was a horse between your legs and a carbine under one leg and a hill and a valley and a stream with trees along it and the far side of the valley and the hills beyond. ~ Hemingway from For Whom the Bell Tolls
We know what living is. We can feel it when we do it. We can taste it, breathe it, love it. We have glimpses of its wonder and fear and brutal reality. We live when we identify our fear rather than ignoring it and walk toward it rather than running from it.
Hellen Keller said that life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.
Daring isn’t meek. It isn’t safe or weak. Daring is audacity. Daring is dangerous and sometimes reckless and oftentimes scary as shit, but it’s backed by courage and forward motion.
Daring doesn’t have to be in an instant, it can be a lifetime pursuit. It can be found in the grit required to endure and outlast, or the balls to stand up, man up, and accept a challenge head on.
Life cannot exist within the confines of a safe existence. Your comfort zones are akin to a slow, painless, and ignorant death. They’re the avoidance of life, not the enjoyment of it.
Dare greatly, please. Dare greatly daily and in the big picture and in the big moments of your life when you can act like a man or shrivel like a coward.
1. THE SHIT YOUR PANTS KIND OF FEAR
There were all kinds of things I was afraid of at first, ranging from grizzly bears to ‘mean’ horses and gun-fighters; but by acting as if I was not afraid I gradually ceased to be afraid. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
Who among us actually lives adventurous in today’s world? My favorite TV is Jim Shockey’s Uncharted. If you haven’t watched it yet, please do. Adventure and exploration is all but lost on our society, but Shockey, a hunter, understands the spirit of such a pursuit, one he finds in hunting all over the world.
A concept he comes back to time and time again is the concept of your uncharted. His uncharted is literally the entire world. He’s hunted in Papua New Guinea, Siberia, Kazakhstan, the Yukon, Alaska, and so on and so forth.
Yet, he speaks of your uncharted. Your uncharted are areas of the world you’ve yet to explore. They can be in your back 40 or across the world in dangerous lands. He also talks of the process of hunting being exploration, the chase and the pursuit and not simply the killing of an animal.
The best way to see a country, a culture, a land, is to hunt in said land. It’s to eat the local game, to stalk the prey and to do what men have always done up until our very recent history.
Hunting may not be your thing, the killing of an animal, but you still need to hunt something, be it the unknown, the uncharted territories in your county or country, or the things that both excite you and scare you. (Read This: Life is a Daring Adventure)
We need this kind of adventure in our lives. We need these fears. We need to go beyond where we’re comfortable being and to go do what we’re uncomfortable doing.
Shockey is a great guy to look into as an archetype for a modern adventurer and explorer. His vehicle is hunting, as was Theodore Roosevelt’s and Hemingway’s. Captain James Cook’s was finding new lands. What’s your vehicle?
Hunting, camping, hiking, travelling, learning, exploring. Choose one. Choose them all. But go!
In my own life it began with travel. I did Europe and South America and I loved it. Hunting is also something I’ve always wanted to do and I realize, especially living in Alberta, Canada, one of the best places to hunt on the planet because of our large and diverse wildlife, that the best way to truly get out there, is to do it with a gun while trying to find food.
Go beyond the trails and the designated hiking mountains and into the wild.
I didn’t grow up hunting, however. Sports were my old man’s thing and they were mine. So I played hockey and basketball and boxed. Hunting is something new for me. I eat what I hunt. And now hunting has opened up new, deeper, travels for me. This passed week I booked a hunt in South Africa. Rather than sitting in a truck taking pictures I’ll be walking by food finding food.
That’s my unknown. That’s my shit my pants fear, or it’s the thing that brings you face to face with the most shit your pants kind of fear.
2. THE FEAR OF FAILURE
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. ~ Roosevelt
So many of us don’t set the audacious goals our souls beg us to set and need us to pursue because we’re afraid of working our entire lives and failing, so we fail by not trying. The logic is astounding.
You are your work.
Your work, what you pursue and create and give the world and aim to become great at is you. It’s proof that you were here and that you were valuable. Why the fuck would you pursue something you don’t really care for?
The other side of this is those who pursue but only for a moment. They lack the grit and toughness to stay in the arena long enough to see victory. They jump from project to project, from goal to goal, all in an effort to find what they want in life, when what they want is something they can create.
We need to see that it’s fear holding us back. It may be a fear of failure or a fear that we’re not worthy of what we’re going after or a fear that, after years and years of hard work that me may not want whatever reward we’re given.
To give your time and effort to something over decades is courageous. It’s also necessary.
In our society we’re far too fickle. We want a job simply because we’ve gone to college. We think we deserve an income merely because of the family we’re born into. We want a wage because we feel our society owes it to us. We’ve lost the concept of merit.
Don’t be one of the losers afraid of persistence and hard work, afraid to admit that you don’t deserve what you don’t have. Be a worker. Face the fear of failure head on and over time and enter life’s arena and refuse to leave until victory is yours.
3. THE FEAR OF RESPONSIBILITY
Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don’t have the strength. ~ Roosevelt
We fear being responsible for the outcome for our lives, our safety, our family, so we have our protection and freedom and liberty over to someone else. We hand them responsibility and we gain – in our minds – the right to complain.
That’s called being a little bitch.
You’re a man. You’re tasked with providing for your family and protecting them.
A man needs responsibilities. He needs to be tasked with the safety and protection of others besides himself. This life isn’t about you nor I but about who we are for those around us and what we leave this world to make it better than when we left even if what’s left is an example for others of how to live honorably, courageously, and manly.
You’re a rock, a shoulder to lean on, someone others go to for strength. This means you’re not complaining or whining or unloading and venting your frustrations to others. It means you’re not asking for things you don’t deserve. You don’t have a sense of self-entitlement. You don’t wish or envy. You understand what you’re tasked with and you accept responsibility for said responsibilities.
You don’t run. You stand. You shelter. You fight.
Facing fear isn’t a natural human reaction. We naturally run from it. Accepting responsibility is the same. We naturally want less of it. We naturally want ease and comfort and ‘freedom’ from the things we’re tasked to do, be, and accomplish.
Fight that fear of being the one everyone blames. Be a man.
4. THE FEAR OF AUDACITY
Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in that gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat. ~ Roosevelt
Man, do we sell ourselves short.
The problem with the fear of audacity is that it contradicts what we need to do to feel alive and to live as aggressively as we can.
We wake up today with the mission of being better than we were yesterday. It isn’t us versus another, but us versus who we were.
There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self. ~ Hemingway
To stay stagnant, to remain, to continue to set your sights at eye level rather than higher is a tragedy. It’s a waste of any ounce of talent or ambition you’ve been given and it’s a slap to the face and a piss on the grave of anyone who’s come before you who’s had anything to do with giving you any ounce of freedom or a leg up in any way.
To chase something unworthy or beneath your potential should be a damn sin, and yet we all do it. We do it because we have no clue what we have the capacity of accomplishing. We do it because we lack imagination, we lack the grit to endure the pains and failures and endurance of a monstrously audacious goal.
Fear holds us back, as does ignorance.
We fear we’re not worthy of life, because those adventures, that goal, that pursuit, that’s life. Mediocrity isn’t living. Settling for the safe path is merely existing. Doing it for those you love, that’s living. Sacrificing for those you care about, that’s living. But to settle simply because you’re afraid you’re not good enough or tough enough or talented enough is silly.
You’re going to have to work your ass off at something if you want to be better than you were yesterday, why not make it something grand?
FEAR VS FORTITUDE
Fear prevents us from living. It keeps us sedated and simple and safe. It acts as a barrier for most, but for a few it acts as a compass, a guiding light set on where we must go.
You choose how you deal with fear but you can’t let it, this emotion, this response to danger that used to protect us, provide it with immediate energy and capability and now stops us from experiencing life.
To end this post that I’m writing to me just as much to anyone else, we have to be aware of fear. We tend to ignore it as logic. It isn’t. It’s a voice we all have and it’s one we need to hear not so we can stop moving forward and pursuing what we’re after, but so we know where life can be found.
About The Author
Chad Howse: Chad’s mission is to get you in the arena, ‘marred by the dust and sweat and blood’, to help you set and achieve audacious goals in the face of fear, and not only build your ideal body, but the life you were meant to live. He’ll give you the kick in the ass needed to help you live a big, ambitious life.
You can contact him at –