One day, a wise Zen master went to visit a remote mountain temple accompanied by a monk. As the two approached the temple a pair of ferocious dogs began running toward them. The dogs were barking and angry, sending fear down the spines of both men.
The monk, who was still in training, saw the dogs and yelled to the master to run for his life. But the master did just the opposite. Instead of running away, he sprinted directly at the dogs while screaming and waiving his arms frantically. The dogs were so surprised to see the Master running at them that they turned around and ran away filled with fear of their own.
After the ordeal, the young monk asked sheepishly, “Master! How could you do that? Weren’t you scared of the vicious dogs?” The master replied, “Of course I was. But the only way to conquer a fear is to run directly at it. If we run away, our fears will consume us.”
Author Robin Sharma said it best: “What you resist will persist. What you befriend, you will transcend.”
Over hundreds of thousands of years, the human brain has been wired to run away from threats. But in modern times, it’s unlikely a saber-tooth tiger will eat you. Your chances of failure, regret, and unfulfilled dreams are far higher today if you run away instead of confronting your demons head-on.
In fact, life’s biggest rewards typically lie just on the other side of what scares us most. When something appears as a threat, think of it as data, not doom. The fear you feel is merely the signal letting you know you’re getting closer to making a personal breakthrough and finding treasure. It’s often been said the sky is darkest just before sunrise. Similarly, our greatest accomplishments are often preceded by spine-numbing fear.
What scares you the most? Stop ignoring the threat and confront it head-on. That fear is only a traffic sign that reads, “Proceed forward. Progress ahead.” Let it be your concerns that lead you to your next point of discovery.
When you bring fear into the light, it shrivels away. If you hide from the fear, you only embolden it.
The next time the hair on the back of your neck tingles, your palms begin to sweat, or your hands start to tremble… forge ahead instead of retreating. Your full potential lies just on the other side.