The opposite of fear.

What’s the opposite of fear?
It’s not a simple question.
The first word that comes to mind is courage.
But courage is not the absence of fear, like darkness is the absence of light.
Rather, courage is the spirit that moves people forward in the face of fear.
It’s a beam of light that pierces the darkness.
The voice of fear is still present.
But it is overwhelmed by the adrenaline of action.
I think the opposite of fear is ignorance.
We’re genetically programmed to fear.
As infants, we fear being left alone.
We fear scowling faces and growling dogs.
But as we grow (and feeling more secure), we approach the world as fearless experimenters.
Blissfully ignorant to the threats that come with living a curious, passionate life.
Over time, through bumps and bruises and well-intentioned counsel, we learn.
We adapt.
Fear is important when it causes us to adapt our behaviors in a beneficial manner.
Fear of injury makes us prepare more diligently and intelligently for combat and sport.
Fear of social reproach makes us work to perfect a speech or stage performance.
Fear of contracting an infectious disease causes us to take necessary precautions.
Fear is trying to protect us.
Fear is our friend.
Fear is a critical component of an aware, developed mind.
The great tenor Luciano Pavarotti said, “Am I afraid of high notes? Of course I am afraid. What sane man is not?”
Here’s the rub: Fear has no perspective.
Fear can’t differentiate between missing a high note and missing a heartbeat.
Between losing one’s income and losing one’s life.
Fear doesn’t care about others.
Fear isn’t concerned with right or wrong, good or bad.
Fear could care less whether we live an exciting and meaningful life.
Some fears are reasonable, some are not.
In today’s highly sanitized, civilized world, most are not.
Yes, be aware of fear.
Listen to fear.
Thank fear for its concern.
And then live life from a place of compassion and daring.
Transcend the voice in your head.
The one that wants you to stay safe and sound, to hold on tight to what you’ve got.
The result of letting fear run your show is called life.
To be bold and daring, to be driven by passion and meaning, that’s called living.
Live!
And start today.
Because as Larry McMurtry made clear, “If you wait, all that happens is that you get older.”