Why We Need to Activate the Fear Factor in our Pursuit of Purpose

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Why We Need to Activate the Fear Factor in our Pursuit of Purpose

 “Always remember, every record was designed to be broken”

—Dr. Myles Munroe


f you are going to sit down waiting for a burning bush experience so that “God can give you your purpose”, chances are that you are going to wait for quite a long while coming. Now, I am not saying that God ceased creating burning bush experiences as he calls people for their assignments on earth. I am saying that that outlook of life gives the impression that there are only few people called and the rest of us are not.

The point is that everyone is called. There is no one more special than the other. All of us have in built in us the necessary tools to fulfill our purposes in life. We are all different, but no one is more special than the other. What matters is how faithful have we been with our purposes in life. This outlook in life stops all the traffic of comparisons where people feel less important than others. [ictt-tweet-inline]All of us matter to someone else.[/ictt-tweet-inline]

Two Types Of Fear

At birth, I am told we only have two types of fear:

  • The fear of falling down,
  • The fear of noise.

All the other types of fears are learnt and developed as we go along. In his powerful book “Instinct: The Power to Unleash Your Unborn Drive”, Bishop TD Jakes makes a very interesting comment about fear:

“The Olympic race of fear within you has but two contenders. One is the claustrophobic fear of staying, and the other contestant is the heart-pounding adrenaline-releasing fear of stepping into the unknown world before you”

How so true a statement that is! It really matters what kind of fear we allow to govern our lives. [ictt-tweet-inline]The interesting paradox about purpose is that it is known but also its permutations are unknown[/ictt-tweet-inline]. Let me explain. Lawrence might have the idea that his purpose in life is to work with people. However much I seek clarity on the vision, mission and values of my calling, the ramifications of choosing to pursue this path could be unknown to me, especially as far as the process is concerned. What is known is that in the end, I will end up leaving to live a life of Legacy.

The Unknown

The unknown has a certain way of bringing the permutations of fear as TD Jakes explained earlier. The point is that you and I might not have the privilege that Moses had of the burning bush experience in order to figure out our calling and purpose in life.

Not to despair though, there is a way out. We can adopt the second “contender of the Olympic race of fear”, which is to embrace the fear of the unknown and stop out in power and faith. Someone said,

“Jump off the cliff and grow your wings on your way down!”

I can tell you that with purpose, that is the other way around with it. The fact is that we already have an idea of what cliff we are standing on. What are at play are two things: Comfort of the known versus the discomfort of the unknown that creates growth and brings us close to our purpose and destiny. Stepping out in faith will not immediately create order out of chaos. The order will come as you inch closer and closer to your purpose. So for those of you who are wondering why you made the correct decision, I can tell you that as long as it came from your heart and it matters to you and it is a blessing to others, keep at it. Chances are that it is God who put it there in the first place.

The greatest questions of purpose to answer are:

1. When is the last time I stepped out with fear-induced adrenaline to pursue what matters to me?

This question is powerful. Take some time and reflect about it. The chances are that we might have decided to give up to the “reality” of life and conformed to what life has thrown our way. Chances are that we have “settled” down in a predictable and comfortable rut. Chances are that that is all we are seeking today—that is why we mostly look for salaries. We want it assured, predictable and known. The degree to which you are living your life commensurate to your purpose is determined by the affinity you have for the unknown. Let’s face it, the future is unknown. It always is, always has been and always will be. So why not just embrace the unknown today and make things happen?

2. How often Am I living on a dare?

Matters concerning destiny and legacy are and always will be a dare. Why? Because life is structured in such a way that we all seek comfort and conformity. In fact, we are told that our brains are out to always protect us by making sure that the status quo is maintained. If anything out of the norm happens, the brain goes to work giving you signals and warnings that you are deviating. This is why it can be so hard to break culture and the way of doing things. If for example you were not an outgoing person who loves going clubbing and coming back at home at 3:00 am, the day you attempt this, you will be miserable. It will actually take some time to break that “stronghold”. In other words, the more you do something, the more “normal” you make it. So we need to be so much alive in the unknowns that life throws our way:

  • A public speaker? Dare yourself and enter a competition
  • A writer? Dare yourself and publish a book
  • An Innovator? Dare yourself and create that prototype. You have researched long enough. It is time to move it out.
  • Single? You are scared of marriage? You are looking for the perfect one? Well, it doesn’t exists. In fact, it becomes perfect as you keep working at it. Go out and date someone. Dare to get a “No”.

3. What does your Circle of Friends consist of?

You see, if you get in a relationship with people who mostly are those seeking conformity and comfort, chances are that the spirit will rub on you and you will be like them. You need to have at least a crazy chap in your life, one way or another. If you can’t find a physical one, get a virtual one. Read about crazy guys such as Jesus Christ, Abraham Lincoln, and my latest read, Elon Musk. I assure you that these people will impact the way you think and the way you show up in life.

4. Do you have a Mentor/Coach?

Years ago as a single man, I used to have a crazy mentor. It was those days before desktops were the as common as they are, before a great number of people owned a laptop. But this mentor of mine had one. In those days, you had to apologize to people for having such a gadget to make them understand that you were not being flashy. Do you know what my dream was then? It was to own a desktop. But as I sauntered into this mentor’s living room and as he would come downstairs for a chat, I always left his house shaken to the core. “Lawrence, what stops you from owning an airline?” He would ask over and over again. It was crazy. I have never answered that question but it always shook me and created some kind of fear in me.

I will end this with a story that I read. A soldier was captured behind enemy lines. He was given two options: To be shot and executed or to walk through a door named “Unknown horrors”. He chose the former and was promptly executed at dawn. Later on, the soldiers asked their Captain: “What was behind that door?” He calmly shook his head and answered, “Freedom”.