Thursday, May 17, 2007

What Are You Afraid Of?

Some guy came to Bruce Lee in a movie and talked about he was afraid of a fight that was coming up. Lee said that he has already lost the fight because he fears his own death. He said that he first has to accept the fact that he could die and then he'll be able to train.

I was thinking about how much impact that same philosophy can have in the regular world. We all have fears that are holding us back. I was afraid of talking in front of people. And I'm not talking about back in the day, this was pretty recent.

When I became choir director at my church I had to say a few words before singing and it freaked me out. Which was weird to me because I knew the people at the church and they really didn't care about what I said. So it made it worse in my mind that I couldn't just get over it. My voice would get all shaky and my heart rate was racing.

I realized that it was fear that was stopping me. Not fear of losing the crowd. But fear of losing my "self." The self that I've tried to build the past few years. Pierre "PR" Lafortune. The guy who had a way with words. The smooth talker who was smart and always knew what to say next. That guy was in danger of being destroyed.

I had to face the death of my ego image. So I said, "Fine." If it's death that might happen, so be it. I "died." I went in front of the people to do my thing and accepted whatever happened. No expectations at all. And whattya know, the fear went away. I was able to be more normal. Of course I didn't speak perfectly, but it was okay.

So with that success I thought about what other fears I was carrying around. I started noticing that a lot of things in my life was ruled by an underlying fear. Ironically, even being a hard-ass was coming from fear. Yelling at people and trying to control things came from a fear of losing respect and power.

So I said forget it. I'm dropping everything. No more fear. So what if I lose power. Who am I to demand compliance from a world that I refuse to comply with.

Things have been very different since. I never dreamed that so much of my life came from fearing death. I feel like I've already died; now I can finally live.

I'm writing this hoping that you'll look at your life and examine it. What are you doing out of fear? And what are you NOT doing because of fear? Whatever it is, die to it. Right now. Let it go!