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  • Colin Jonov

Afraid of Failure? Welcome to Mediocrity

Dear Fortitude family,

Welcome back to my midweek motivation! Each day and week brings its own set of experiences and inspirations, compelling me to share my thoughts with all of you.

Take the risk and run towards the fire — that’s called courage. We all have fears; it’s part of being human. Now, working through your fears takes a willingness that most people don’t have. So, the question becomes, how do we become willing to work through fear? How do we become courageous? The answer is pretty simple: You have to put yourself in a position to take on your deepest fears.

Anything involving skill development in life requires dedicated time and effort. It’s no different with courage. It’s a skill that requires immense focus. There’s an adage that if you commit 18 minutes a day to a skill then you’ll be better than 95% of other people. It’s easy in theory but difficult in practice. The increased heart rate, sweating, feeling the weight on your shoulders, queasiness in your stomach, and worst of all, your mind racing a million miles an hour. Believe me, I get it. I’m not saying I’m the bravest person on Earth. However, I’m learning to take those risks, dive into uncertainty, face my fears, and live with the outcome. The truth is, the more I face my fears, the easier it gets. It’s interesting because it’s in our nature to want to avoid uncertainty and pain. Yet, we actually thrive in those moments. Our best performances are driven off the back of uncertainty or come after a period of immense pain. So, why is it so hard to face our fears when we are designed to thrive in the uncertainty of them? The answer is we’ve been programmed by a myriad of factors to catastrophize. From the time we are born, we are constantly being reminded of the dangers of doing anything. It starts with our parents trying to protect us. It leads to teachers, news outlets, and even coaches reinforcing those fearful beliefs. This causes us to have an irrational view of fear. So when it comes to the final moments of a game and it’s time to win, our mind plays tricks on us. “If I miss this shot, my teammates are going to hate me. The city is going to boo me. My coach is going to cut me. I’ll never be able to show my face in this town again.” Sound familiar? I’ve been there many times. Now, do some people have a natural ability to fend off those negative thoughts? Yes, they do. That just means some people need to work harder at combating their communication loop. Let me tell you what won’t work: shouting false affirmations. I’m sorry, but you can’t trick yourself into being courageous. Becoming a man or woman of courage comes from actively seeking out your fears, taking on the risk of failure, and persevering through them. You’ll quickly recognize that once you start facing your fears, you’ll become familiar with those feelings, and you’ll soon learn that they’re lying to you. It’ll get easier not because your fears become smaller but because you become more competent in taking them on. It’s not a confidence or bravery issue; it’s a lack of reps issue. So, the answer is really simple. If you want to become courageous, then you need to increase your exposure to fear. The fear will never go away; you’ll just become stronger. Each win over fear will increase your willingness and desire to take on another. The best in the world are the best because they relentlessly put themselves in these positions. It becomes familiar to them. They begin to seek it out because they know greatness is on the other side.

Eighteen minutes a day of facing fears, and in a year, people will be telling you that you’re so naturally courageous. Thirty minutes a day and you’ll be in the top one percent. An hour a day and people will look at you as if you are from another planet. You’ll be able to smile, knowing there’s nothing natural about hundreds of hours of facing discomfort. You’ve earned your courage.

To Building Fortitude.

Warm regards,

Colin Jonov CEO & Founder, Athletic Fortitude

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