Being Fearless is a ridiculous quest

Being fearless is all the rage these days, especially if you’re a woman. Taylor Swift and Huffington Post are both plugging it, and on many levels I’m totally with their message – but a part of me worries that women now have yet another impossible goal to strive for, along with non-touching thighs, a pimple-free or wrinkle-free face, and a balanced life involving a happy husband, brilliant, well-adjusted children and a CEO position.

Actually, being fearless is even crazier, because some people actually have those other things but no-one is without fear.

I get that fearless can mean ‘courageous’ rather than actually without fear. My own book Gumption is all about daring, for heaven’s sake. But this word still scares me. It’s a absolute word, and if you don’t read the fine print it conveys an absolute idea.

Apparently fearless people aren’t without fear, they’re good at getting past their boogeymen so they can do the things they dream of in spite of being scared.

I much prefer Veronica Roth’s take (author of Divergent):

“Becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it.”

 So go ahead and be scared. Then get over it and get going.



2 thoughts on “Being Fearless is a ridiculous quest

  1. Winnifred Rosser

    Once again you are so right Shelagh. We have enough self-imposed bars to hurdle over or glass ceilings to crash through without adding to it. We conquer our fears of one sort or another each day. We fear for the safety of our children; the security of having a roof over our heads and ability to feed our families; to overcome the constant crying of a new born child without losing it because we don’t know how to stop the crying. The list is endless. Yet somehow we muddle through and overcome to live our lives as best we can. Let’s just enjoy the moment whatever it may consist of and be happy in that moment and not worry about adding the word fearless to our already overstuffed vocabulary.

    1. Shelagh Post author

      Ah Winnifred, you’re a woman after my own heart and a damned good example of living well, fears and all!


Leave a Reply