Wisdom//

Are Fear and Courage Kissing Cousins?

An octogenarian reflects on some of life's biggest questions.

Billy Currie Photography/Getty Images
Billy Currie Photography/Getty Images

They’re related. On one hand, fear can overwhelm us, and on the other hand it can be a major motivator.

Let’s go a step further. Why is it easier to say “no” than it is “yes”? My guess is that it’s safer. Why? The fear factor. You’re in known territory. Status quo. No need for a change. Or worse, regression.

“Yes” generally means something new. Different. Maybe risky. Unknown.

Perhaps we don’t like to think about it, but we’re all afraid. In our personal lives, our business lives, our recreational lives.

I think you get the picture. I’m knocking at the door of 85, and I have lived my life, “afraid to be afraid,” in many cases.

What’s been so critical for me has been questions. Questions about anything that comes to mind. When I think back to the questions I asked myself when I was 20, they were similar to the questions I asked myself when I was 40. And 60. And 80.

You know what I did? I put them all into a book entitled What Is the Meaning of Life? And 92 Other Things I Don’t Have Answers To.

Maybe you have answers to the questions, “Were the fears in my life pushing me to engage in things or frightening me away”?

Or the questions, “Am I a different person behind the wheel of my car? Does it give me license to be a jerk”?

I also think about whether I have learned to forgive and have found things in my life that make me feel really good.

Reading the book is like looking in the mirror. It’ll help give you a clearer picture of yourself. If there’s any one thing you’ll learn, it’s that you’ll appreciate the importance of asking questions.

If there’s anything I hope to achieve at Thrive Global on an ongoing basis, it’s that asking questions is one of the best ways to make fear your friend, not your enemy.

Stay tuned.

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