The Most Unproductive Filter


Live on your wild side and throw caution to the wind every once in a while.

I was fortunate in July to listen to several motivational speakers as they spoke to several college aged interns who were preparing to graduate and step out into the workforce. Being someone who is frequently unnerved in my personal life by big changes, I found one quote to be extremely profound and eye opening. Reggie Butler stated once in a closing speech, “fear is an unproductive filter through which to view the world.” As a worrisome young manager who is constantly in disguise as someone who hasn’t a nervous bone in her body, Mr. Butler’s words hit me like a ton of bricks.

Fear can be the crutch that you perceive to be holding you up while it is really holding you back. Since my divorce several years ago, I’ve learned that sometimes a leap of faith is what it takes to really bring you back to life. Learning to make big life decisions without a mental breakdown isn’t easy and it is still something I’m working on, but I no longer use fear as an excuse to not move forward in life. Well, unless it has something to do with heights and then it may take a little more than normal coaching to get me moving forward again. After all, I’m just as human as the rest of you.

Think of how often your fear of something has changed your perception about a situation. For many years I thought parasailing was a cool idea…in theory. My fear of heights kept me safely grounded on the boat until I threw caution to the wind one summer day and took advantage of the opportunity to view the world from a new point of view. Of course I screamed, immediately second guessed my decision, and squeezed by eyes shut on the way up but it was all worth it once I had the courage to look out at the view once I was up in the air. I wouldn’t have traded that split second decision for anything and I don’t regret making it.

For once I stopped my fear from telling me that a situation wasn’t worth becoming a part of and, because of it, I had the time of my life. Buying a house, suddenly changing jobs and starting to enter a second marriage all these years later has all put an initial hint of fear into my mind. The difference now is that I don’t let the unproductive filter of fear change my view of the path ahead anymore. Letting go had shown me there are so many more opportunities out there and I’m looking forward to each one I get to embrace.

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