Once again, this trait is going to manifest itself as diversely as any other given the vast differences among people at the individual level. However, there are some pretty universal aspects that living fearlessly will always entail.
Complete Awareness of The Risk
The first of these aspects is being completely aware of the risk associated with an action and deciding to do it anyway because of the end result should you succeed.
Why is having an awareness of the possible negative consequences so important regarding being fearless? Simply put, this is the difference between being fearless and being ignorant. The ignorant person who attempts or performs an action that carries horrendous risks that they are completely unaware of, only realizing the positive outcomes available, is not the poster child for fearlessness.
This individual did not realize the sheer risks associated with their action, weighed the risk/reward ratio of such and decided to go for it. Unfortunately, the world is full of these types of people.
Being fearless means that you are able to cognitively break down an action or situation into all of the possible outcomes, the best-case scenario, worst outcome and usually some of the end results that fall in between.
When the best possible outcome is something that you truly desire but the consequences that await you if you fail are dire, yet you make the decision to go for it, this is being fearless. There is a quote often associated with John Wayne that embodies this point very well. He says, “Courage does not mean that you aren’t scared, courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.”
While the literal translation of the word fearless means “without fear,” this definition does not hold up in the real world and human beings. There is literally not a single human being on this planet, barring one in a million medical cases where the fear center of the brain is rendered useless, who does not experience fear.
Fear is one of the primary survival instincts that kept our species here in the first place. No, being fearless in real life means to know full well the risk associated with a pursuit but doing it anyway because of the possibilities that lie beyond success.
Playing To Win Instead of Playing Not To Lose
Another tangible component of living fearlessly, and an extremely important one for you to grasp, admittedly comes across as redundant at first. This component is the idea of playing to win instead of playing to not lose.
You might have read that and immediately wondered how trying to win was any different than trying to avoid defeat. In the context of a win or lose situation, like a basketball game, aren’t these different ways to express the same thing? Rest assured, they are not.
You see, when going into a competition, there are two primary mindsets that people carry with them. The first of which is the idea of being totally committed to victory, to be so consumed by the desire to win and succeed that the concept of losing and leaving the competition defeated does not even have room to plant itself in the mind.
The alternative mindset involves being so afraid of what might happen if failure should occur that they become paralyzed and unable to perform. They play it safe and avoid risky moves at all costs because all they can think about is the feeling of defeat.
Understand that life itself is a competition. It is a perpetual, daily competition involving several different opponents. There is the battle between you and the other people trying to achieve the same thing that you are.
The other two matchups are you versus your doubts and self-defeating thoughts and, finally, you versus the person you were yesterday. If you are wondering which of these matchups are the most important to emerge victorious in, it is all of them.
There are going to be numerous situations you encounter in your life that you are going to need to compete in if you truly want to be successful. When you actually think about it, the word success itself describes the act of coming out ahead, rising to the top, being victorious.
None of these synonyms are possible without a competitive situation. That being said, the mindset with which you approach these situations makes all the difference.
The average, default mindset is the latter of the two we previously discussed. The majority of individuals will be so terrified of what might happen should they lose that they psych themselves out to the point of doing just that, losing.
The grandest and most rewarding competitions you will encounter in life are going to require your full ability and focus. If your mind is clouded with thoughts of how your friends and family might think of you if you lose, the embarrassment you would feel in the presence of the opponent who trumped you or how much work will have been for nothing should you not succeed, you are simply not going to be capable of performing to your fullest potential.
As you may have concluded already, the contrasting mindset is also the fearless one. If you allow yourself to compete without the restriction and baggage that comes from fearing failure, the end result will be much more favorable.
When your mind is able to maintain absolute focus on winning, outperforming, and dominating whatever and whoever the opponent may be, this mindset is going to manifest itself in the form of your actions. Having the ability to become virtually tunnel visioned, totally locked in on one outcome is fearlessness personified.
If you have lofty goals and ambitions for your life, competition must become second nature to you. Whether it is a coveted position in your career, a relationship with someone that you truly desire or any other situation in which you pursue something worthwhile, rest assured that other people are going to be gunning for the same thing.
Otherwise, the object in question would not be worthwhile in the first place. Sure, there are certain aspects of life where the idea that there is enough to go around is realistic. Nobody likes the hypercompetitive jerk who perceives a parking spot as a battle to the death.
We are referring to achievements and situations that carry real weight, things that not everyone can have. When you find yourself in these situations, be fearless by playing to win, not to avoid defeat.
The next and final idea that portrays what it means to live a fearless life is the benefit that hope brings to the table.
Given the relatively aggressive nature of our previous two aspects describing what it means to be fearless, being hopeful may seem like a passive, timid counterpart. However, maintaining a rigid sense of hope in tumultuous situations is necessary as it relates to fearlessness.
At certain points in life, when you encounter situations that require a fearless nature to emerge victorious on the other side, your mind will have a tendency to throw hope out of the window. Sometimes you will engage an obstacle or difficult task with the perfect mindset, motivated and determined that you will beat the odds and succeed.
Then, just like that, you are going to feel this fire within yourself begin to flicker and fade. This might not happen after the first obstacle, maybe not after a slew of difficulties that you muster up the will to push through. At a certain point, even the strongest sense of determination reaches its breaking point. This opens the door wide open for self-doubt and toxic thoughts to weasel their way into your mind. It is at these exact moments when having hope is the only way to keep going.
Maintaining a strong sense of hope when everything else crumbles around you is an integral part of being fearless. Even as the people around you throw in the towel, unable to see the light, and even when you have a tough time seeing it yourself, your hope alone can be the spark that lights the way.
While we are defining the word hope here as it relates to being fearless, other words such as faith or foresight also suffice. The general idea is that the fearless individual is able to trust in themselves and their process and envision a positive outcome despite all signs and circumstances suggesting otherwise.
If you are going to navigate through your life in this manner, don’t let the world snuff out your inner hope.