FEAR (is awesome)?

You know what feels (sometimes really, excruciatinglybad and then later on feels SO MUCH BETTER?


Breakthroughs usually feel bad before they feel good.

And that can be confusing because we like to avoid feeling bad and move toward feeling good as a general rule.<===Usually a smart move…

Sometimes, however, it can stop us from growing and living the life we truly desire.

As you become more aware and as you continue to grow as a person, you will generally feel happier and more positive…

However, there will also be points where you feel AWFUL because of your new awareness and growth.

Resisting this terrible short-term feeling can stop us from making positive changes that last a lifetime.

Sometimes you have to “die” in order to “rise.”

In order to make permanent positive changes (or move closer to who you REALLY are), you have to become “not you” for a while.

Which feels like DEATH to your ego.

Because it is.

The fear of death (= fear in general) can make you feel physically, emotionally, and mentally sick. It can be incredibly terrifying or painful.

I assure you this is normal.

I can’t tell you how many times I feel overwhelming negative emotions and experience pain as I go through my own personal growth process even though it’s the best possible thing I could be doing for myself.

In the past, when I would feel “down,” or “negative,” I would usually have no idea why or what to do about it.

Now, I know my body is trying to tell me something. Maybe I need to get some sleep or take some time for myself.

Or, maybe it’s time for another breakthrough.

I’ve had so many breakthroughs right after a period of feeling emotional pain or fear at this point that I feel breakthroughs coming before they happen when I’m feeling a bit “negative.”

My experience tells me that a breakthrough is on its way, and even though it still doesn’t feel very good in the moment, I know it will be amazing once I have the breakthrough.

In a sense, ignorance really is bliss.

But it’s a false, short-term, fear-based bliss.

If you’re able to deal with fear and become more aware or do that thing you want to do, you will experience a more permanent, fulfilling, love-based bliss.

Once you become more aware, it will be uncomfortable for a while.

However, when you’ve adjusted to your new level of awareness and changed your thoughts, behaviors, and emotions because of the discomfort you feel with your new awareness if you don’t change, you reach a new level of inner bliss and a higher level of competency.

It’s a short term payment for a long-term benefit.

We often only feel the fear caused by the short, downward part of the learning curve.

We don’t see what lies on the other side of fear (love, happiness, fulfillment, success, etc…). We are uncertain of its existence:


It’s important to bust through that wall of fear into the success and fulfillment on the other side. Or, thank your fear for trying to protect you and take action anyway.

One thing I can tell you for sure is that if everyone experienced daily life the way I do now, they would do whatever it takes to get here, no matter how many times they have to feel horrible, tortuous, almost unbearable pain or how many fears they have to overcome.

The point is to expect fear, pain, and negativity to be there as you are growing as a person and remember that it probably means you are on the right track.

Fear is a really great thing.

It tells us to run from tigers and stops us from jumping off of cliffs. Fear is there to protect us.

It’s up to us to realize that we can consciously use what fear is telling us as a tool to propel us forward.

Ask yourself, “Is this fear I’m feeling protecting me from physical pain and death or is it trying to protect me from psychological pain and ego death?”

If it’s the latter, you can bust through it or look over its shoulder and go forward.

Fear often leads the way to permanent increases in quality of life, self-worth, understanding, awareness, and skills.

It’s impossible to tell you about all the times I’ve felt INCREDIBLY embarrassed when I gained a new level of self-awareness and felt the full reality of my thoughts and behaviors.

However, more awareness ALWAYS makes my life PERMANENTLY better.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve felt like I was going to die when I published something I wrote.

It sounds silly, but sometimes I have felt physically sick for hours after I published a blog post.

Fear goes a long way to protect your ego.

But guess what, I didn’t die! 

Two weeks later, that thing would seem like it was no big deal at all and I’d be able to put myself out there at a similar level without the same fear.

If you want to reach the next level, you have to manage your fear of putting yourself out there and just do it.

Once your mind realizes that you didn’t die from it, you will have a new level of comfort to operate within and improve your skills.

I went to Colombia by myself in November 2013. I was excited about the trip and knew it would be amazing from all the other traveling I’ve done…

However, about two weeks before I flew down there, as I was sitting on a plane flying from one US city to another I had a small panic attack thinking about the trip! I knew it was really going to happen now and there would be no backing out.

It would be a new experience for me to travel internationally all by myself and not be able to rely on my first language.

The funny thing is, it was something I wanted to do really badly and I knew it would be amazing.

I’m also a pretty confident guy most of the time.

Yet, I was still scared out of my mind.

And guess what, I had an incredible trip that I will never forget.

And if I hadn’t gone on that trip I would never have been able to move to Thailand and live there for over a year. I wouldn’t have met my current girlfriend. And I wouldn’t have had any of the life-changing experiences that have come from traveling since then.

This same concept applies to most things you want to do or become but are too afraid to try.

Don’t trust yourself?

Try it once on something small and see if your fear is justified. When you see that you didn’t die, you can step it up from there until you trust yourself completely.

Have a hard time being decisive?

Next time you’re at a restaurant, choose something as quickly as possible, close your menu, and stick with your choice even if the waiter tells you about an amazing special or your friends order something that sounds good.

Feel all of the fear and doubt in that moment and see what happens.

Just start taking action at whatever level you can.

Make mistakes, be kind to yourself, and learn what you need to learn.

Taking action inoculates you from that particular fear and then you can do it again until you’re good at it.

The cool thing is, once you get through fear and act, or feel the fear and act anyway, the same mechanisms that maintain your current status quo will maintain your new, more awesome status quo.

Leaning into your discomfort and fear expands your level of comfort.

And, if you feel nervous or afraid, it usually means you’re doing something important.

The “bad” feelings you get before an event like a job interview, date, etc. DO NOT predict the outcome at all.

I know there have been NFL players who were so nervous before the Super Bowl that they actually vomited into a trash can before the game.

Yet, they still won.

I know Katy Perry was extremely nervous before she performed at the Super Bowl halftime show. She even gave herself a pep talk in the bathroom.

And guess what?


Become comfortable being uncomfortable so you can do the things you dream of.

Get used to being a “beginner” (similar to what Buddhists call “Beginners Mind”).

Get used to not being very good at things.

Be okay with failing. It can be the price of doing what you love. It might be the price of living “the good life” as you see it.

Be okay with realizing you have been behaving “badly” for YEARS.

Be okay with realizing some of the things you judge others harshly for are things you do.

Be okay with realizing you have been deciding to feel a certain way for a long time because of your interpretation of reality.

Be okay with all of this because this new level of awareness is a GOOD thing.

Now, you can change.

Now, you have more personal power.

Now you can become who you really are. You can grow tremendously from these points of painful realizations. This is where the good stuff lives as far as personal growth is concerned.

Don’t get caught in the sunk cost fallacy; just because “you” have been, thought, felt, or done something a certain way for a long time (or generations of family have), DOES NOT mean you have to keep being, thinking, or feeling that way, or doing that thing one second longer.<===Read this one more time.

You can just learn to be different from this exact moment on. You’re just “not that kind of person” any more. No big deal. =)

Be kind to yourself.

These things from the past that don’t serve you or the world are fading away so quickly it’s almost like they’re part of a distant memory that you can hardly relate to any more. You can barely even see them in the distance…

Fear is like a chihuahua that roars like a lion to you now. You realize it just wants to be safe so it barks loudly. You appreciate that and treat fear accordingly.

You know what lies on the other side of fear (all the best things in life), so it has no real power over you.

I appreciate and admire you for that. So do all the people who look up to you.

Fear is amazing and leads to really great things (unless there’s actually a lion chasing you…).

I encourage to follow your fear where it leads you.

Like I did when I faced my biggest fear and went bungee jumping:

Honestly, it was even scarier for me than I thought it would be, but I’m still glad I did it because it made it easier for me to face other fears.

If you really struggle with fear and it’s holding you back, check out my post about how to act in spite of fear (click here).

About The Author


Jim Wolfe is on a mission to help you live your ideal life, make your positive mark on the planet, and build your legacy.