Heroes and Cowards Feel the Same Fear: It’s the action they take that separates them


Have you ever watched a movie and thought, Wow, the amount of courage it must have taken to do something like that is unbelievable? The reason it seems so unbelievable is that it is, in fact, 100% fiction! People don’t develop bravery first and then take impressive action. The most successful people simply act while they are afraid; and after doing that for a while, they’re not quite so fearful.

Change is something we all face in business. Maybe it comes in the form of new software that seems to make no sense-or new people who don’t seem to have any sense! The reality is that change is unsettling simply because it’s new more so than it is bad or wrong.

The other big myth is that fear stops us dead in our tracks or that it paralyzes us. No, not really… We get paralyzed from car accidents or from attempting suicide by jumping off buildings that frankly aren’t tall enough. (Pardon my honesty.)

Your belief system creates your experience. If you really believe that something has a result that you cannot possibly endure, then you discontinue your actions. So the people who take so-called brave or courageous action simply believe that it’s possible to endure the result of that action. Some people are so afraid the world will end that they spend all their time digging a hole in the ground to build a shelter. These preppers believe that’s the most valuable thing they can do, so their fear drives them to productive activity (productive by their way of thinking, anyway). Other people won’t leave the house because their hair doesn’t look good enough. They believe one must achieve a certain level of hair perfection before going to the dry cleaner. And many people will not voice ideas in a meeting with the boss because they’re worried they’ll be judged and that somehow their idea is not valuable enough.

To the preppers I say, I guess you never know…but please try to make sure you still live your life and don’t spend too much money on freeze-dried food, batteries, and ammunition. My advice to the person with the hair issue? The other people who are all about having fabulous hair are too worried about their own hair to care about yours! (No offense. I’m sure your hair is indeed spectacular.) And to the person in the business meeting afraid to voice an opinion, I say go for it, as long as your opinion is not so unclear that your boss or audience now knows less than when you started talking! If you come across as informed and you have a pretty good idea about what people value-if you have tangible evidence of what’s important-it won’t be that bad. Plus your chattiness will prove that all those trips to Starbucks really do have a business purpose.

Being able to move past all your fears is unlikely. Stop waiting for that because you’ll be waiting for the rest of your life! Take some actions while you are afraid and then assess how you feel about it. You cannot think yourself into action; you have to act yourself into thinking. Take the actions that will get you where you want to go, and see what you think about them afterward. Most research shows that when the pain of what you’re going through becomes greater than the fear of change, you change. But if you get into the habit of making the change early on, regardless of how you feel, you are much more likely to be the hero!

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