“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” Ambrose Redmoon
I’m currently immersed in the book “Fearless” by the American Author & Coach, Steve Chandler. Steve’s down-to-earth yet poetic way of writing touches the heart and a lot of the advice he gives aligns with my own views, values and perspectives about life. Here are some of the take-aways from his writing that we can use to answer the question: How can I become a more fearless (language) learner?
We ask ourselves what we really want and then we make a choice based on that. Not a wishy washy, maybe some time in the future, sort of choice but a fearless decision. No more hesitating, procrastination, feeling stuck. We take control and choose. We get our power back. Because when we know what we really want and we stay committed to that choice, it lights our pathway and things often seem to just fall into place.
“When we’re really clear about what we’re up to, the universe has a way of moving the pieces around behind the scenes to make the impossible possible”. Michael Neill
Here is a simple yet effective tip from Michael himself for those who can’t decide between two choices: define one choice as heads and the other choice as tails then flip a coin to make the decision. Upon seeing the coin land on either heads or tails, how did you feel? Disappointed? Relieved? Use the gut reaction you had to help you decide. Deep down, we already have the answers, we just like to tell ourselves otherwise because if we admitted we had the answers, there would be no excuse not to take action!
Stop reacting and start creating
Creating and reacting might have the same letters but they couldn’t be more different. When we react, we’re simply stuck on automatic pilot, totally immersed in our thoughts and fears about the events and situations that arise in our life. But when we know what we really want and have made a choice with respect to that so we know what our intentions are, we have a razor-sharp focus. We can rise above simple reactions, see opportunities instead of setbacks and choose to put on our creator’s hat. This leads to greater excitement, stronger drive, and deeper fulfilment: all wonderful motivators for learning.
Steve talks about the time he saw Robin Williams on TV in “Inside the Actors Studio” when he asked the audience to throw an object up on stage. Someone threw a towel and Robin totally re-interpreted this towel, using it, almost like a piece of clay, to sculpt different characters and hilarious situations. This is the key: playing with the material that life sends us to create new things.
Why learn? Why create? Because it’s who we become in the process that counts.
Don’t believe the fears
I can’t possibly do that. People will laugh at me. I’m terrible at that… What if we questioned our fears? Questioned their truth like a majestically curious lawyer? Constantly. Consistently. And then we get our inner bouncer to throw these disrupting elements out of the nightclub of our mind. Onto the enlightened pavement of reality.
“To get more out of anything we do, we first need to put more of ourselves into it”. Michael Neill
Move yourself to the front of the queue
What? But isn’t it a British tradition to queue?! Don’t worry, I’ll explain why this queue is different! I’m talking about the queue that is created when our career, our home life and our to-do list come first and don’t leave us a minute for ourselves. How can we possibly devote additional time and energy to learning when there is nothing left?
Well, as Steve recommends, we make the choice to put ourselves at the front of our own queue. We stop standing at the back, waiting for everything else to get done and then giving ourselves the scraps that are left. It’s about creating space for ourselves. Specifically. In our agenda. It’s about saying no to things that aren’t in line with what we want; the things we merely say yes to because we feel we “should” or are worried about what others will think of us. It’s about finding time to “plug into the mains” and listen to ourselves (using whatever technique we prefer).
“When people think their problem is time management, it’s not. Time itself cannot be managed. The problem here is boldness. The problem is the courage to say no to the things that distract your simplest journey.” Steve Chandler
So, I’ll finish with some questions to get you started:
- So, what do you really, really want? (keep asking until you get to the feeling behind what you want, that’s the key). Who will you need to become to be/do that? Or, similarly, what will you need to take away or let go of to be/do that?
- Based on my answer, what can I create today? Or, to echo the words of John Wooden, who won ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period as head coach at UCLA, including a record seven in a row, how could I make today my masterpiece?
- Is that thought really true? (Let’s face it, it usually isn’t true, we’re just lost in the drama of our story). How could I change perspective to a thought that serves me better?
- What can I say no to today that would keep me off my path? What can I say yes to that keeps me on it?
Photos courtesy of Unsplash.com (Miguel Bruna, James Healy, Levi Jones)