Is Fear Stopping You From Going After What You Want?

2 min read · 6 years ago


Jim Carrey is a comedy genius, the star of multi-million dollar blockbuster movies, a Golden Globe winner. Now that graduation season is upon us, have you checked out the 2014 commencement speech Carrey gave at the Maharishi University of Management?

Related: 7 Ways to Think Differently About Fear

There, a more somber-than-usual Carrey talked about his father, who himself had desperately wanted to work in comedy, but took the safe route and instead became an accountant – only to fail at that secondary path.

Carrey’s message? He told the young graduates to choose love over fear because, sadly, So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality.” 

Fear disguised as practicality. Boom. That… from the lips of the guy who played Ace Ventura.

The dude is wise.

And he delivers a message entrepreneurs should take note of. Do you use scare tactics on yourself to force yourself down a path you don’t really want to be on? Do you work hard to convince yourself that that path is really your only choice? 

In fact, it may not be what you want, but it’s the safe and practical thing to do. That’s exactly what Jim Carrey was talking about: A lot of aspiring entrepreneurs feel this way before they make the leap (to what they really want). And some of them never work up the guts to actually go for it. They remain aspiring entrepreneurs their entire lives, watching with envy from the sidelines.

Related: Why Fear Is the Entrepreneur’s Best Friend

I call this fear-based motivation the Chicken Little approach to career building: working yourself into a fearful frenzy, convinced that the sky is falling. Or that it will fall if you don’t suck it up and make the safe and practical choice, settling for the promise of security in the form of a bi-weekly paycheck.

Yet the Chicken Little approach to career building is a surefire guarantee that you will have a career identity crisis later in life, when you feel searing regret for not having gone after what you wanted in the first place.

The point is, you don’t want to be that guy (or gal). Assuming you don’t want to live a life filled with regret, your only option is to be honest with yourself, as frightening as that might seem. So, keep it real. Are you rationalizing about what you think you should be doing just because you’re afraid of what you really want? You wouldn’t be the first. But stop it.

Enough with the sad rationalizations. Admit what you want. Then work up the guts to go after it. Jim Carrey did. And look what he accomplished.

Related: Don’t Let Fear Conquer Your Greatness

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