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What Happens when Fear Changes to Motivation?

So my question to you – if you grant me this analogy, is what games are you *choosing* to play?

David Sherry
3 min read
What Happens when Fear Changes to Motivation?

What do you do when the stimulus that motivates you changes?

When we’re starting out – the tangled web of fears, conforming, and making our way in the world is our call to action.

We act because we are seeking. We need to obtain, to get, sometimes for survival – but other times just for validation.

And the world gives it to us. Social media has amplified our *wants.*

And mostly… we want to look good to others. Because now we can keep track…

The problem is that in the game of pursuing an image – one that others applaud – you can never get off the treadmill.

And so every day we show up hoping to attract attention or validation.

I had conflated those with income. While it’s true that attention leads to money, it’s also an indirect way of obtaining it.

We think “If I can get popular, then I can be successful,”

Sometimes it is that way. Sometimes it’s the other way around.

Which is why I love investing so much: It’s the unpopular who win biggest.

So if you work on yourself, if you begin to remove your focus on crafting an image – if you become grounded through spirituality, or life’s difficulties, or through things outside of media like nature or your hobbies or maybe because of age or maybe just close friends who you care about more than the phone…

The stimulus of fear begins to lose it’s grip. Which is the other side of the coin for the desire for fame.

So what do you do when the stimulus of fear is no longer the stick that leads you to action?

What happens when you no longer want what the system wants you to want? And how do you function in a world constructed around image?

What so many leaders fear most is that… if they were to “fix” themselves, they would lose their edge.

Artists know what drive them – and often it’s the pain. So what happens when you fix the pain?

At first you are left in unfamiliar territory. The well of creative elements from pain can no longer be tapped.

And instead you’re wondering if you’ve changed.

But there is another stimulus as great, perhaps greater than fear as our motivation.

And that is choice.

The truth is, there is no reason to do *anything* other than simply survive. There is no mandate for you to do something.

Every animal on the planet merely lives, and this itself is perfect.

But if you have living covered…And you want more…

That is a choice. And a choice comes from a place of possibility. Choices allow us to express ourselves creatively. And choices can only come from freedom.

So I don’t need to be writing you this essay, but it’s my *choice* to do so.

And that itself needs no justification.

So my question to you – if you grant me this analogy, is what games are you *choosing* to play?

Many of us choose to play games – board games, chess, sports…


Because we choose to. Because they are fun. Because we like being on the field, because we like the competition, because it’s a thrill.

If we can look at all of our work and motivation like this, we can learn to move from a place of motivation that exists without the fear.

Do you fear going out to the soccer pitch to play?

Do you worry about how you look as you are making a decision in a game of monopoly?

And why are you playing in the first place?

I now think about the areas my life and I ask myself – what “sports” or games do I want to play? How do I want to spend my time?

I may complain or grumble a bit as I wake up early to put my cleats on.

I may get a bit heated as I play basketball and my team starts to lose. I want to win… but I don’t *need* to win.

I don’t *need* to get up early, but I want to show up to see my friends and I want to score more than anyone else.

Motivation without fear is like the motivation we find to play sports or pursue a type of game.

There is a thrill just showing up and participating.

And if we choose to,  we can challenge ourselves and our own growth outside of the game of curating an image on behalf of someone else.

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