Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What Do You Not Fear?

James Joyce reveals much about one of his characters in The Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man by exposing not only the usual fears, but what he does not fear as well:
You made me confess the fears that I have. But I will tell you also what I do not fear. I do not fear to be alone or to be spurned for another or to leave whatever I have to leave. And I am not afraid to make a mistake, even a great mistake, a lifelong mistake and perhaps as long as eternity too.
We often identify ourselves by our fears of heights or spiders or whatever. But that does not truly set an individual apart, because one cannot accomplish anything with that knowledge. Instead, it is much more tactical to focus on outcomes that you do not fear as much as others, and capitalize upon your comparatively lower risk aversion.