Why Fearlessness Is Bullshit

I see a lot of men telling themselves and other men to be “fearless.”

What the fuck does that mean?

You cannot be fearless.

Not unless you are brain dead, or have crawled back into the womb.

Don’t wish to be fearless. Resolve to be courageous.

For they are utterly different animals.

Courage is NOT the absence of fear. Courage is acting boldly DESPITE fear.

Most days I am neck deep in fear.

I tinker endlessly with shit that does not matter, for no other reason than to avoid the thing I fear.

I am afraid to write the email.

I am afraid to send the email.

I am afraid to open the email from the reader responding TO the email.

The lizard brain, it rages.

Whenever you approach something it perceives as dangerous to your body, your ego, your identity, it screams at you to stand down, to step away.

“Be fearless” implies you must be rid of the lizard in your head before you can be great.


You simply act boldly now, lizard or not.

The other men around you, the ones you call fearless and feel the lesser man to…

Unless they are daft or cocooned, their brains are SMOKING with fear.

They just hide it well.

And what you DON’T see are all the moments of private paralysis, the moments when no one is watching, when they grip the bathroom counter and stare slack-mouthed and grey-faced into the mirror, utterly destroyed by this universal assailant YOU thought was just your burden.

You may feel you don’t have what it takes to build an epic life.

You may feel you are damaged goods–too frail, frenetic, manic, or fucked up to make your dent.


You have no “special slavery” to fear.

You’re not fear’s bitch.

(At least, no more than everyone else)

You have no unique disadvantage.

You have everything you need, right now, to do that thing you’ve always wanted to do.

So stop waiting for the fear to go away.

Stop beating yourself up because you’re not “fearless.”

HIT IT, fear or not.

What you long for is just the other side of that wild next step.


  1. John Dolphin says

    As others have said, of course I have butterflies. I’ve just learned to make them fly in formation.

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