Your life is slipping away from you, friend. I don’t know your age, your height or weight, your net worth, none of that. But I do know that you are mortal, just like me, and just like everyone else. Eventually, your time will run out, and all that will be left of you will be the mark you’ve made on reality. The echoes of your existence.
That’s a scary thought for many of us. But it’s unavoidable. It doesn’t pay to worry about things you can’t change.
But I know something that you should fear. Something that should terrify you to your core.
That state of mind that withers the soul, saps the spirit and leaves burned out husks of flesh in the place of once lively and vibrant human beings.
You know people like this, I’m sure. I know I do. Think of one that stands out to you: someone who gave up on their ambitions and decided to settle for a menial existence. The person who failed to live intentionally and instead lives a life of defaults.
Being that person is what you need to be afraid of.
I know you’ve been brainwashed by self-help gurus and spiritual types that tell you that the scarcity mindset will hold you back, that fear is a bad thing, and that life is all sunshine and daisies.
The truth is that life isn’t so black and white.
Scarcity mindset exists for a reason. Fear exists for a reason. And you need both.
However, the majority of people struggling with a scarcity mindset are worried about the wrong resources. They worry that there’s a finite supply of money, love, land—opportunities. This isn’t the case.
Anything you desire in life can be bought, built, cultivated or otherwise acquired by the judicious expenditure of time and energy.
Energy is permanent—it can neither be created nor destroyed. Only redistributed. And with the sun scheduled to burn for another 5 billion years or so, trust me when I say that we’re covered on that front.
But your time is bitterly, painfully finite. You can prolong your time in this reality, but you cannot stop the timer from reaching zero. It’s a use it or lose it deal.
And yet you suffer the fear of failure to guide your decisions.
Think again of the person who sprang to mind a moment ago. What drove them to stagnation? In 99% of cases, you’ll find that it was fear.
But fear itself is not the problem.
It’s fear of the wrong things.
Fear of risk is the enemy
Again, fear is important. It exists for a reason. It’s why our ancestors didn’t get eaten by dangerous beasts in the jungle—because they were wise enough to fear the dark corners where such monsters might hide. It’s why our ancestors learned to grow and store food so they didn’t starve to death in the wintertime.
Fear drives us more than hope. Without hope, misery follows. But without fear, death follows. Our brains generally prefer even misery over death. Fear of loss is three times more potent than hope for gain. In Influence, Robert Cialdini teaches that a person will fight significantly harder to avoid losing what they already have than they will to gain the equivalent amount.
But like any other tool, fear can be used to construct as well as to destroy.
If you’re afraid of risk, then congratulations. You’re a normal human being.
But if you want to be more than normal, fear of risk is exactly the chain that binds you to mediocrity.
What should you be afraid of, then?
Simple. You should be afraid of not taking risks.
Great people win great victories. But in order to win, you must first risk losing.
Fear of loss is an extremely powerful motivator, much more so than hope for gain. But what you need to understand is that there are only two ways to fail: to quit, or to never start at all. Consider this well.
If you want the simple life—going to a job you love five days a week, spending time with your family and friends in the mountains on the weekends, and getting plenty of sleep—then please understand how much I envy you. That life is truly beautiful.
But if you’re like me, and the itch for more boils in your blood at all times, then you have to train yourself to fear inactivity.
This world is filled with high-level players who want the same things you do. And there is enough for all of us. But these things you crave, whatever they are, will not merely be given to you.
If you play it safe and avoid taking risks, you will be beaten by those who do not. Even if you don’t avoid risks, you’ll usually be beaten by those who actively seek it out.
Sure, they’ll fail more often than you will. But they’ll also win more often.
The only way to guarantee failure is to not try. The only way to guarantee success is to take risks.
Victory is taken, not given.
Go take yours.