Why do we fear the unknown?

Every path we take through life is littered with the unknown – from corners blocking our view of what lurks just beyond them to infinite cosmic musings as to why we are here on these seemingly unending paths. But why are many of these questions connected to a sense of dread, anxiety and trepidation when we are called to face them?

Currently my days are filled with more that is not known than at any other point in my life, and yes, this often fills my stomach with fear. Sometimes it manifests itself as a niggle, a tickle behind the brain, just enough to register but not enough to affect my judgement. At other times, it becomes a swirling mass of thoughts that spiral together into a maelstrom of indecision binding, chaining the body and mind to themselves, the keys stolen. It is these manifestations that I am focussed on. They have been an ever present restriction through my adult life and one that has led to a catalogue of heavy regrets, never to be forgotten.

The wisest of us say that fear is a positive energy that is here to serve us, keep us on the true path and reach our goals, so why do we often throw in the towel when it arrives?

If we were truly boxers parting the ropes and facing our opponent for the first time, we should feel fear as our opponents methods and tactics are unknown to us, only their want to end us is guaranteed. But like they are we not also a skilled brawler? Have we not trained as much as them to be here in this ring? Clenched our hands and pounded the sand until we bleed? Have we not studied the devastating combinations that are known to many but mastered by few and are we not in this ring to prove all this?

Yes, we all are boxers skilled in our chosen weight class, eager to progress, and ready to fight. So this is what we must do. The fear is simply there to make sure we are ready, a stop sign at a crossroads. Is now the right time to cross? The answer is ours to choose, not a time to look to others or to consider too deeply; just make our choice. Trust your instincts.

So this then is truly our fear of the unknown. It’s sitting in our corner, backs to the ropes with the coach’s face inches from ours screaming “Are you really ready to win?”. If we cannot bear our teeth, smash fist into palm and spit out the words “Ive already won”, then step down and regret nothing as clearly it was not the time.

Use your fear wisely, let it guide you but never consume you. Let it pass and save it for your next bout. For there will always be more, so prepare yourself, the next one may make you a star.

Put your dukes up, it’s time to get bloody.

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