Craig Copeland

I Fear You Won’t Want to Hear This…

Simply Genius FireFly

Recently, I watched a clip of this young, seventeen-year-old, blind girl singing her heart out on “America’s Got Talent.” Her musical skills and vocal talent moved me so much, it brought me to tears. Yes, I admit it, I teared up while watching a YouTube video. Mea culpa.

In this clip, during her incredible performance, they panned the camera to the audience. It was huge. I wondered then if I would be able to be brave enough just to walk onto that stage, let alone perform in front of such a large group of people.

Ariana Nisma Putri - America;s Got Talent audition

Fear is something I struggle with daily. I am afraid on a daily basis. But with that personal acknowledgment, I realized something very important… While I may be afraid, I am not a coward.

The difference? Being afraid, I will still go forward. But by being a coward, I would not take any action.

And like many people who are afraid, we know that we still need to take action towards our objectives whether they feel comfortable or not, whether we know the outcome or not, whether we fail or not.

And that last part is so valuable. Failure. I’ve learned over the years to let failure be a guide to overcoming obstacles and reaching my intended objectives.

I don’t always get it right, but within this mindset of moving forward and being accepting of failure, I learned that any great disruption in life that has caused major growth and opportunity comes from one’s willingness to walk into the unknown and to explore a personal path specifically meant for them alone.

And now I realize that this is what being afraid truly means, going down an unknown path on a personal journey of our own making and discovery.

That, in itself, can be scary, overwhelming, and cause trepidation. But with great power comes great responsibility, meaning walking through our fears strengthens us, building a strong foundation of personal development.

We don’t always hear too much about someone’s fear as we do about their triumph. We might learn that they had fear, but not about how they overcame or worked through it. So, fear remains a mystery. That is, until we come to realize fear will always be a personal experience, different for every individual.

Fear is addressed in this quote from Macbeth:

“When our actions do not, our fears do make us traitors.” – Lady Macduff
                                 ~ William Shakespeare

To me, this means without action, fear leads us nowhere.

Then Ross goes on to say,

“But cruel are the times, when we are traitors and do not know ourselves,
when we hold rumour from what we fear, yet know not what we fear.”

The Tragedie of Macbeth

This part is key.

“When we do not know ourselves.”

Meaning we do not always know what we are capable of.

“When we hold rumour from what we fear, yet know not what we fear.”

Meaning everyone else tells us we should be afraid, but don’t really understand what it is we specifically should be afraid of.

Fear of the unknown is just that, it’s unknown. But it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t move forward, and it doesn’t mean we should do what everyone else is doing.

Your path, your journey, is personal only to you. No one else. They will not understand what calls to you, what drives you, what makes you desire to walk such a lonely path.

A personal journey means you get to learn who you are and what you are capable of. No one gets to tell you how to do it or when to stop doing it.

The Right and Wrong Ways

There is nothing in this world to prove that one way is right and the other wrong. We can know what is good and bad, caring and uncaring, harmful and loving, but right or wrong depends on your goals and objectives. And the only way, the only way you can truly know what is right or wrong (for you) is to take the action, push through the fear, and learn from the experience.

The alternative?

The alternative is not about ‘giving up’, oh no, the alternative is doing it someone else’s way because that “appears” to be the safer route.

The problem with someone else’s way is that it may have worked because they are who they are. You are not them. You have not lived through their experiences. Yes, logic tells us if it worked for others, it should work for you, but we are talking about personal growth. How can you grow if you just do what others do simply to get by?

Success is working through a personal challenge, specific to who you are and what you want to accomplish.

We tend to get confused these days because the idea of success is often tied to monetary prosperity.

Success is the accomplishment of one’s aim or purpose. Money is only sometimes a byproduct, and not guaranteed, but for some reason people these days, associate success with monetary reward.

Handling Fear

If you search, the Internet will offer you wise or whimsical quotes about mastering or overcoming fear, but a quote is only meant for inspiration or philosophical pondering. A quote may inspire you, but it can’t, by itself, change you. It must be accompanied by explanation or tools to incorporate its meaning and purpose.

Unfortunately, and fortunately, the only real way for you to develop into a genius-level master, is to walk through the fears, learn from the failures, and to always take action to push forward.

Yes, there will be many times in your life that you will want and seek out comfort and support. And hopefully, you have those people in your life who can provide you with these occasional comforts. But that is all they can do. They cannot walk your path for you, they cannot help you to avoid failure, and they cannot protect you from the unknown.

It is up to you to be brave enough to walk your path.

Two of my favorite quotes are from the Game of Thrones character, Samwell Tarly:

Sometimes a man has to make hard choices,
choices that might look wrong to others,
but you know are right in the long run.”


I’m tired of reading about the achievements of better men.”

Samwell Tarly - Game of Thrones

To me, this means that standing by your choices and decisions is hard, but it’s ultimately what makes us who we are. And, instead of reading about and admiring others, to be brave enough (or afraid enough) to take a chance on yourself.

Understanding Your Personal Journey

But first, you must discover what your personal journey is.

Ask yourself, is your journey one of creative endeavors, one of discovery, or one of seeking safety and security? Is your personal quest one that brings you growth and development, or does it just keep you safe?

And how does one discover what his or her personal journey is? How does one learn what to go after?

Here are a few tips that offer ways to figure out what your own personal journey is:

Mastery: This first one is the hardest to develop, but the most important. Society tells us that we should always pursue security and comfort first. But, as most of us have experienced in our lives, no job or source of income is ever secure, and comfort is fleeting. Instead, you need to be afraid enough to discover something that drives you. One cannot master something without first becoming an apprentice. That means taking the time and effort to learn all aspects of your objective. These days, we tend to seek out the shortcut and that robs us of truly becoming a master of our craft. In order to reach your desired objective, you must take time to practice, train, learn, discover, and be willing, initially, to get it wrong. It is the only way to learn and the only way to become proficient.

Discovery: There are two options in life. To stay safe and secure, take little risk, and hope for the best rewards. Often though, that means seeking pleasure rather than seeking personal growth and development. Or, as I’ve often said, the best way to discover who you are and what you are capable of is to push beyond your bubble of comfort and safety, and go out and explore the world, meaning, venturing beyond what you know, to discover who you could be. Travel, connection, and new experiences are what challenge both our minds and our capabilities. Be afraid, but venture out of your space of comfort if you want to discover and understand who you really are.

Fail: One of the best (and most obvious) ways to learn what is right is to recognize what is wrong. And the only way to accomplish this is to be okay with failure. Laird Hamilton, big wave surfer once said, “Use failure as a guide for discovering what works.” No one likes to fail. Especially when we fear being judged by others. But if you can put aside your ego, and not let the ideas or viewpoints of others sway your decisions, failure can be a great instrument to guide you onto the right path.

Knowing we are all afraid is a great way to level the playing field and to understand that no matter what someone’s status is in life, everyone experiences fear and doubt, but it’s the ones who choose to move through their fears that show us what we are ultimately capable of.

About The Author

Craig Copeland is a Disruptive Theorist teaching the art of finding your own unique genius mindset. Disruptive thinking is much more than what society deems as counterculture or controversial. It’s about learning how to trust in and access your intuitive mindset, which is where the biggest ideas reside, the brightest creations flourish, and the most significant life-altering changes happen. The more you can begin to master this style of thinking, the greater the opportunities, and the grander the impact you’ll make.