The Cave You Fear to Enter Holds the Treasure that You Seek
This quote has often been attributed to Joseph Campbell (1904-1987)
Have you ever been curious about something, like a dark cave or a big idea, started to investigate it, got scared and ran away? When you do not challenge yourself, you do not grow. In order to grow, we need to get out of our comfort zone and stretch. Become curious. Decide that you will go after the treasure that is buried deep inside of you; something that you would love. What is an idea that scares and excites you at the same time; something you’ve never done before?
Most people are more afraid of public speaking than of death! When I decided that this is what I wanted to do, I had to face my fears, practice, then and go out and do it. It wasn’t as bad as I imagined!
I was afraid of criticism and making mistakes and failing and looking foolish and too many other things to mention here. In order to conquer whatever you are afraid of, you must first acknowledge and then face it. It takes courage.
Courage is not the absence of fear; it is doing what you are afraid of despite the fear. Often the action of doing what we are afraid of is not as bad as what we imagined it would be. We use our imaginations against ourselves all the time. All the fears that we have grow bigger as we worry about them. Prepare and then do it! Imagined ghosts and dangers can be conquered. Let’s start to imagine the way we would love our life to be instead of all the scary thoughts that we make real in our minds.
Fear has its place in keeping us safe, however, FEAR can be False Evidence Appearing Real. We battle imaginary sabre-toothed tigers more often than fear warns us of real dangers. Our first instinct is to pull back to safety, to our comfort zone, to what we know. When we give up what we think we know, when we sacrifice being comfortable, we can grow into a better version of ourselves. We know what we are giving up. We can never know exactly what we’re going to get.
Follow your heart’s desire, figure out your purpose, decide what you are passionate about and take steps to make it happen. You owe it to yourself to become everything you’ve ever dreamed of being. You will never know what you are capable of until you try something more than what you already know how to do.
Remember learning how to ride a bike or swim? If you never conquered your fears, you did not learn the skill. Most fears are illogical. Some people are afraid of spiders. Some are afraid of heights. Other people are afraid of giving up the job or the relationship they have because they are worried that that is all they can have. You will never know what you are capable of unless you are willing to face your fears and do it anyway.
You must break free of the imaginary dragons that guard the cave that holds the treasure. When you look at things differently, the things you look at change. Start small. Practice with small things to build confidence. Minimize fear by taking action. Self-confidence builds and creates momentum.
Fear and anxiety are caused by worry and doubt. Everything you want is on the other side of fear. It takes desire, deciding, and commitment to keep working toward your dream goal. What goal scares and excites you? Is that what’s missing in your life today? Find the buried treasure. If it was easy, everyone would do it.
Susan A. McDonald