This question makes me think of courage.
I am filled with fear. Fear is an excellent tool for introducing caution into my life, and my challenge is knowing how to accurately assess the dangers and how to move forward in a wise way.
I have decided that to “live fearlessly” is to have the courage to make decisions within a dangerous atmosphere. Have the courage to face up to the consequences of my thoughts and actions. Have courage to fail, and have the courage to succeed and face the consequences of THAT.
Should I let my little girl ride her bike to the park by herself? Scary. Should I apply for this incredible job? What if they reject me? What if they offer me the position – can I do it well? Should I strike up a conversation with that interesting stranger? When the crazy bum on the street starts talking to me, do I engage or hurry past? Should I give my heart completely to someone I care about? Should I default on my mortgage? Should I call up my mother and apologize for what I said? Do I have the courage to call up my daughter’s father and exchange information about what’s going on in her life?
In all of the above circumstances, it is tempting to NOT make a decision. Just let things sort of slide on by and hope the decision gets resolved without me. But that is not how I live authentically. In order for me to like myself, I can’t shy away from things that introduce fear.
My job as a meteorologist for 11 years helped with that. In some parts of life there is no way to know the outcome. Meteorologists are painfully aware of this every day of their lives. Despite that, a good weather forecaster needs to understand that their job is not to be perfect, but to make wise choices amongst limitless data which may or may not be relevant.
Another great thing about forecasting weather is that there are time limits. The longer one waits, the more data comes in. A person can be tempted to wait for that one magical piece of information which will make the right choice clear. But we usually don’t get any sense of what would have been the best choice until long after a choice has been made. Nothing to do for it but take that leap! As the deadline approached, I had to decide, and then make it public. And I had to be prepared to justify that decision.
Like meteorologists, we don’t have to be perfect, but we do have to do the best we can with what we’ve been offered. AND, we have to make those choices within a reasonable time frame, and be prepared to face the consequences.
If I can do that, it’s as close to fearless as I get.