The only thing we have to fear is letting fear stop us

Lady Gaga 2013David Brooks, in an op-ed column in the NY Times, wrote about Lady Gaga, who was honored this week by the Americans for the Arts. In his column, Mr. Brooks used Lady Gaga as a living example of someone who has embraced her passion and who has the courage to be herself “with abandon”. And he concluded his piece with the question, “Who would you be and what would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

It’s a question very similar to the one that Scott, the Big Kahuna at Hawaii’s Local Buzz, often poses to all of us who live & work here: “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” Fear (in general) and fear of failure in particular, can be a huge obstacle to living a fully realized and fulfilling life. Interestingly, though, it’s an emotion that can only stop you if you allow it to do so.

When we initially purchased the farm that ultimately gave rise to the Hawaii’s Local Buzz brand, the purchase process was fraught with challenges. Each of those challenges (permitting issues, funding issues, cash-flow issues) could have easily scared us off. In fact, the precarious nature of the deal so terrified our realtor that she developed a psychosomatic cough that made it almost impossible for her to speak with us by phone. Instead of scaring us off, Scott simply viewed each challenge as an opportunity to use our creativity to find a solution. Had he not done so, we would not now be living the kind of life we love so much. Visitors often tell us that we’re living their dream life. We certainly know we’re living our dream.

With each new product we introduce and each new step we take along the way in building our business, we need to confront our fears. When we first thought about keeping bees, harvesting honey, roasting our own coffee, playing with chocolate, we needed to confront our fears about learning (and mastering) new skills, new concepts, new techniques. And we needed to be willing to experiment — and to “fail” repeatedly before we achieved real success. It’s not that we’re never afraid — it’s that we don’t let our fears stop us.

Defending Your Life coverOne of our favorite movies that we pull out & watch at least once a year is Albert Brooks’ “Defending Your Life“. The premise of the movie is that our job in this lifetime, on this planet, in this sphere of existence, is to overcome our fear. And that, when we die, we need to demonstrate to a judge and jury that we overcame our fear in this life before we can evolve to the next plane of existence. It’s a funny movie with a serious message — next time you’re looking for a movie to watch, give it a whirl. And next time you find yourself hesitant to pursue a dream or take a chance, remember the message. Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. We say, don’t be afraid of fear — it’s ok to feel it, just don’t let it stop you.


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