What do you fear? In what ways is fear holding you back and cutting you off from what you want? I found this delightful story on the Internet today. It illustrates the power of confronting our fears perfectly: Do what you fear, and fear will evaporate.

One cowardly person came to a master of martial arts and asked him to teach him bravery. The master looked at him and said: “I will teach you only on one condition, if for one month you will live in a big city and to every passing person on the street you will loudly, openly and looking straight into their eyes tell them that you’re a coward.”

The person got really sad, because this task seemed very scary to him. For a couple of days he was very sad and thoughtful, but to live with his cowardice was so unbearable that he traveled to the city to accomplish his mission.

At first, when meeting the passers, he quailed, lost his speech, and couldn’t contact anyone. But he needed to finish the master’s task, so he began to overcome himself. When he came up to his first passerby to announce his cowardice, it seemed to him that he would die from fear. But each time, his voice sounded louder and more confident. And then a moment came when the man caught himself thinking that he was not scared anymore, and the further he continued doing the master’s task, the more convinced he was that the fear was abandoning him. That way a month had passed.

The person came back to the master, bowed to him and said, “Thank you, teacher. I finished your task. Now I’m not afraid anymore. But how did you know that this strange task would help me?”

“The thing is,” the teacher smiled, “that cowardice is only a habit. And by doing the things that scare us, we can destroy the stereotypes and come to the same conclusion that you came to. And now you know that bravery is the same habit. And to make it a part of yourself, you need to move forward into the fear. And then the fear will retreat, and bravery will take its place.”

Yes, fear is like darkness – ominous, unknown, threatening, scary, inducing all sorts of exaggerations and nonsense – yet it is easily easily expelled with the light from a simple candle. And of course it is easier to walk arm-in arm with someone more experienced and “braver” than you are in the beginning.

“What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.” ~Tim Ferriss

Robin Elliott LeverageAdvantage.com