The Unexpected Path To Becoming Fearless

How To Get Rid Of Fear And Achieve Big Things

Yann Martel, the Spanish-born Canadian author of Life of Pi, said it best:

“I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. … You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.”

And that’s how you get rid of fear.

You get familiar with it.

“Wait, what? I thought fear was the thing you buried? The feeling you tried to push way down deep, to ignore, to pay no mind to, so that you could actually get on with your life?”


If you want to get rid of fear, you have to get familiar with it.

Here’s what I mean when I say “familiar.”

fəˈmilyər / adjective

1. well known from long or close association.
often encountered or experienced; common; having a good knowledge of; acquainted with, conversant with, versed in, knowledgeable of, well informed in/of; Moreskilled in, proficient in;
at home with, no stranger to

2. in close friendship; intimate.
synonyms: informal, casual, relaxed, easy, comfortable

Get acquainted with it.

Become knowledgeable of it.

Be no stranger to it.

Be in close friendship, intimate even, with your fear(s).

Let your fear be well known due to frequent encounters.

“Familiar” comes from the Latin root, “famulus” which means servant.

If we know our fears, truly become proficient in & at home with our fears — they can be our servants.

Of course, the natural tendency is to avoid them entirely. Shut them away in the closet, sweep them under the bed, certainly never feeding them, much less getting to know them. They are the unwelcome enemy in our homes, and in this way, with this treatment, they are of no use to us other than sources anxiety and worry.

So why not get familiar with them?

Invite them in, even, ask them to stay a while.

Learn about where they come from.

Unpack their history.

Find out when they come around, and what they really mean.

In this way, our fears become our servants. They serve as the unlikely, but incredibly useful nonetheless, neon signs pointing us in the direction of our greatest achievements — all of which are born out of an ability to be familiar with fear.

If it’s great, of course there is fear involved, but when we name our fear, when we know our fear, when we are familiar with our fear, we defeat it.

And it serves us.


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