Fearless. Is That Enough?

We challenge each other to do daring feats to test our limits. This is part of experiencing life and growing up. Thankfully most of us have enough common sense to know how far to push that limit. Do we need to know when to be Fearless?

When I was 8 years old I was racing down a hill with my older sis. At the bottom was a chain stretched across two poles. We had two options. Run around the poles or jump the chain. She ran around and won. I jumped….tripped…..and put my front teeth through my lower lip.

I was definitely being fearless, but because I lacked the knowledge and wisdom to make a better decision, I didn’t win and ended up with my face in asphalt. At 8 years old, this will happen. We are all different and possess different capabilities and abilities. And as we grow up we gain knowledge and wisdom. We then push our limits further.

“It takes knowledge to stop doing something wrong, but it takes wisdom to keep doing something right” – Unknown

Fearless Men take to their cars on the race track and challenge their speed limits.

Foolish Men take to their cars to street race and put others’ lives in danger.

Wisdom and foolishness are polar opposites. One can be fearless and also possess one of these in his arsenal. One will help him and the other hinder him. It isn’t enough to only be fearless. A young man can be fearless and approach a beautiful woman. But if he’s immature she’ll find out the second he opens his mouth. We’ve all been to a party where there’s that “one” who’s so drunk he (or she) just burnt through their paycheck buying everyone another round. At the time they might feel on top of the world. The next morning though, they’re pulling their hair out.

We all love movies like Gladiator, Star Wars and Brave Heart where the main character has to go through difficult times and training before becoming a hero. It’s important to keep in mind the training of life that comes in addition to being Fearless. I’ve often found it useful to seek out a mentor. I’ll seek out a man who has traveled the path I’m about to embark on. Men love to pass on knowledge and help others not have to go through the grueling errors of their ways.

“Take calculated risks.
That is quite different from being rash”.
– George S. Patton

To take a calculated risk you need the knowledge, which is gained through life and listening to others, to make an accurate calculation. An unwise decision usually comes from lacking the ability to come up with or know the wise decision. I highly doubt a street racer would start that engine if he knew 1 mile into the race he’d hit an innocent bystander.

For most of us we aren’t born with a library of wisdom. We learn from others mistakes, their words, books we read, TV, our friends; all the experiences we go through in life. When we work out our bodies we push it to the ultimate limit. Our goal is fitness and strength. Through trial and error we learn how far to push our bodies. Some of us get injured and come back. For those more fortunate we push and push our bodies without causing lasting injury.

In life, how far is too far? Is it when we put our own life in danger? Or maybe others’ lives? Or what if it’s simply breaking the law?

In the military a soldier in position of authority leading troops carries the lives of the soldiers under him in his hands. I don’t think being fearless is all he needs to win the war and care for them. He must rely on his own knowledge and experience to make life or death split second decisions.

“A good general not only sees the way to victory; he also knows when victory is impossible”.
– Polybius

Fearless or Foolish? I think the best answer is that we can all be Fearless but the challenge doesn’t end there. We must continue to pursue knowledge, experiences and push our limits. With our courage we need common sense so we don’t end up being that one.


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