YOUR FEAR IS BORING.
I can say this with all honesty and authority, because I know for a fact that my fear is the most boring thing about me. This is especially true when it comes to living a life of creativity.
Fear is boring, because fear only ever has one thing to say to us, and that thing is: "STOP!"
For over 25 years now, my fear has been shouting "STOP!" to me, every single time I sit down to write. Fear never has a more interesting insight to offer. Never. Just that one word, repeated and repeated with increasing hysteria: "STOP STOP STOP STOP STOP!!!!!"
My fear wants me to stop, because my fear wants me to be safe, and my fear perceives all motion, all inspiration, all work, all activity, all passion whatsoever as potentially life-threatening. My fear wants me to live a smaller life. The smallest imaginable life, ideally. My fear would prefer that I never got out of bed.
Your fear is the same. Exactly the same as mine. I guarantee it.
Listen, we all need fear, evolutionary-speaking — obviously. Don't leave home without a good healthy fear reflex, or you may find yourself wandering drunk through dangerous neighborhoods at 3am, or riding your bike through city traffic with earbuds in. (You guys, seriously – what's with people riding their bikes through city traffic with earbuds in?) In these situations, your fear may indeed save your life.
But your fear must be kept in its place. (True emergencies only, please.) Your fear must not be allowed to make decisions about creativity, passion, inspiration, dreams. Your fear doesn't understand these things, and so it makes the most boring possible decisions about them. Your fear mistakes creativity and inspiration for saber-toothed tigers and wolf packs. They aren't. Creativity and inspiration are the vehicles that will transport you to the person you most need to become.
Sit down and have a quiet conversation with your fear. Tell it that you will listen respectfully, say, when your fear warns you not to go swimming in 15-foot waves when you aren't a strong swimmer. But you will not listen to your fear anymore when a small hopeful voice inside you says, "I want to make something."
Now go make something, OK?
Meanwhile, here's a video of me talking more about this:
And don't forget to watch me and Oprah on Super Soul Sunday, tomorrow on OWN-TV, 11am! (Or LIVESTREAMED on Oprah.com)
Onward (and OWN-ward!)