Fearless?

Am I fearless? Certainly not. I am afraid of (amongst other things) heights, deep water, confined spaces, sticking my fingers in electric sockets, rat poison – and wild rats, but not domesticated ones.

When I Googled 'fearless quotes', the majority of those I found implied that being fearless is a good thing, but I'm not so sure. Very small children can be fearless about things like flames, knives, and the aforementioned electric sockets – which is why we try to protect them from these things. Fearlessness can be a result of ignorance. Soldiers who go to rescue wounded colleagues are not fearless – they know what they are risking, but they do it anyway. That is courage, not fearlessness.

 

The sensible person is afraid – or at least cautious – about things which they know are potentially harmful. The knack is, surely, recognising what is genuinely dangerous, and what is merely scary, and dealing with each appropriately? So rat poison, if handled sensibly, is a better alternative to sharing your house with wild rats.

 

As an artist (and just writing that takes courage) I have learned that stepping 'bravely' out of my comfort zone leads to better art. Not 'fearlessly', I feel fearful, but 'bravely' because I am facing down my fears.

 

So, no, I don't agree with all those quotes about fearlessness being a good thing : it may just be foolhardiness. Courage is another matter.

 

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