I've gone through a lot of ups and downs in my life. I got to serve in the United States Marine Corps, I graduated from college, and I've opened several businesses. But I've also suffered from depression, survivors' guilt, and massive financial hardship.
Even when I've been more stable in my life, worries were still on my mind. Fear of loss and failure has chased me through all of my years. As a Marine it was always related to fear about whether or not I'd be good at my job. As a civilian, I feared loneliness, and whether or not I'd be able to find the right person. As a self-employed entrepreneur, I lie awake at night wondering if I'll be able to keep business up and support my family.
But after all of these years, I've discovered something about fear. It's never really done anything for me. My fear of being good at my job as a Marine led me to make dumb mistakes in the field as a team leader. It tarnished my leadership ability and seriously held me back from being the Marine I know I could have been.
In my dating life, fear of being alone often led me to womanize, and womanizing led me to really bad relationships. There is nothing I can think of that has held me back more in my life than choosing to be with someone just because I was scared of being alone. This led me to a really bad marriage and a bitter divorce that left me living out of my car.
In business, my fear of failure has always caused me to focus on the wrong things. I've often found myself doing things just to hold ground rather than doing things to grow.
But here's the biggest bitch about fear, most of it is made up. Fear is a big old fucking lie. The only thing it does is keep us from being who we truly want to be. Fear is that thing that will keep you on your couch because it tells you that doing anything positive, like working out or putting work in on your dreams, is useless. Fear is that thing that will tell you that you need to hit the bars tonight and get shit faced because you're scared of reality. Fear is the lie that will tell you that you just aren't capable of great things. Fear is what will keep you from having meaningful relationships because fear keeps you from trusting anyone else.
How do I know that fear is a lie? Because of death. If there is one truth in all of our lives that makes every person on this planet equal, it is death. One hundred years from now, everyone listening to this will be dead. Everyone you know, everyone currently living in your family, will no longer be living.
You know what that means? In the grand scheme of thing, fear means nothing. Whether we are rich or poor, happy or depressed, successful or stagnant, death will touch us all one day. The question becomes this: if death is going to happen to us all one day, then what's the point of holding onto fear? If this is all going to end one day, then why are we not doing everything we can with the limited time we have to make every effort possible to live the lives we want to live? Why would you spend any minute of that time in misery?
Fear is a lie my friends. And it's the single biggest thing in this world holding you back. It's not the world, it's not the government, and it is not any other person on this Earth that is preventing you from living the life you want to live except for you.
The good news is that you can stop it from ruining your life at any moment. You just have to commit to stopping it.
So what I want you to do is this:
Take 30 minutes out of your day and go to some place where you can be alone. Take a notebook with you and maybe some earphones and a radio and an MP3 player. Turn on some of your favorite music and write down what you want your life to look like five years from this day. This is your life vision, and I want you to write it as if anything were possible. Don't think about anything that could hold you back.
Then I want you to take that vision and write down a list of goals that you need to accomplish to make that vision come true. Start with the final goal, and work backward all the way to the first goal that you need to accomplish. Set dates for when each goal is due.
Take this piece of paper and hang it up some where that you will see it every day, and work on those goals one by one until all of them are accomplished.
When difficulties arise in accomplishing any of those goals, I want you to assess what's keeping you from accomplishing them. What have you been focusing on? How have you been spending your time? Yeah, you might work all day, but could you sacrifice an hour each day of your free time to make that goal happen?
If the answer is no, then think about this, whether you are sacrificing an hour of sleep or an hour of television, how much could that little bit of suffering each day for this short space of time be worth if it changed your life forever?
The truth is that none of us have anything to lose by pushing harder. Many years from now you will never say, "hey I wish I spent more time watching Game of Thrones" or "I wish I spent more time in bed." You'll be thinking about the dreams you didn't accomplish and the life you didn't lead.
Kill your fear, and dominate life.