Fear and a Burning Desire

Uncharacteristically, it’s snowing in the Fraser Valley today. Often times when it snows around here, people decide to pack it in for the day and stay home. I get it, it is a bit risky to drive on slippery roads while knowing most vehicles aren’t equipped with winter tires. We’re all aware of the risk, but only some of us brave the conditions. For some, the treacherous conditions are more prominent an influence on the day than anything else they have going on. For others, the snow is an obstacle they can’t afford to let get in the way of their day. The risk in driving is not enough to keep them from getting to the destination and the discomfort of cold hands doesn’t deter them from proceeding as planned last night, before it started snowing.

There are all kinds of reactions to adverse life conditions and the decisions we make in these adversities have great impact on the outcome of our plans. Your mindset and preparedness in the face of adversity can dictate the outcome of your day, and if you’re not careful, your life.

When someone drives to work through a blizzard, that tells you that they value going to work more than they value safety. Their fear of missing work is greater than their fear of driving in the snow. They want to be at work more than they want to avoid standing in the snow for 10 minutes brushing off their car. I’m talking about snow right now because I’m staring at it through my office window, but the same can be said for nearly every kind of adversity.

On the path to your goals, you will face adversity. You’ll only achieve your goals if you fear missing them more than you fear the adversities in your way. An idea I learned form Jordan Peterson says that we should be frightened by the ladder we have to climb to get to where we want to go, but we should be far more frightened by never reaching the top. The thought of having hopes and dreams, desire and ambition, and then never living up to any of it should terrify us. There will always be plenty of difficulty, and the risks we have to take sometimes are scary, but just think about how scary it is to hold back and live below your potential because of difficulty and risk.

We can also look at this from a different angle and take fear out of the equation. Instead of fearing adversity or fearing not accomplishing your goals, let’s approach it from a desire perspective. What if you wanted what’s on the other side so bad that it didn’t matter what obstacles were in your way? Wanting something bad enough is like putting blinders on and accessing a focus that plows through any obstacle. What if you wanted your dream body more than you wanted a second glass of wine and a third plate of food at dinner every night? What if you wanted to increase your income more than you wanted to keep all your weekends and evenings free? What if you wanted to travel the world more than you wanted to avoid your fear of flying?

To accomplish anything, you have to want the outcome more than any obstacle you’re faced with. A big problem with this wonderful world we live in is that many of the obstacles that keep us from progress are disguised as luxuries. That’s why it’s important to have that focus, or what Napoleon Hill calls a burning desire. A mere desire isn’t enough because it’s overshadowed by what the world shoves in front of your face. The desire has to burn through anything that gets in the way. A burning desire for a specific outcome plows through any obstacle.

I don’t want your takeaway from this to be “brave the snow and go to work!”, although people around here do love to use weather as a reason for not performing to their potential. However, knowing that there will be predictable and unpredictable adversities anywhere you go, you need to take the time and sort through your plans. What are your negotiables and non-negotiables? You need a burning desire to follow through on your non-negotiables despite anything that happens. You need a healthy fear of the life you’d have to live if you let adversity dictate your priorities. Come to terms with the inevitable obstacles you know are coming your way because when you do that, they’re a lot less noticeable when they come around.

- Cody