New Year, No Fear – Aristotle is Here
What better way to kick off the new year than to download some ancient wisdom from the great Aristotle, through both his quotes and yes, even memes. Whenever you’re faced with a problem, like fear or anxiety, seek ancient wisdom from someone wiser who has been there and done that. Since you can’t talk with Aristotle directly, why not soak up his wisdom through his work, quotes and sometimes, memes.
Now many have referred to the past century as The Age of Anxiety. Since the birth of the internet in 1983, modern society has witnessed advancement of technology and hyperconnectivity at never before seen speeds.
Ironically though, this rapid advancement has left us more disconnected than ever. Depression, loneliness and suicide rates have been climbing steadily. According to the World Health Organization, mental health disorders affect 1 in 4. That’s 25% of our global population, roughly 2 billion people. But, you must not lose faith in humanity, there’s plenty of good to celebrate…
So that’s the bad news, here’s the best news: You are alive! We have just entered a new year and decade meaning you have the opportunity to start fresh and leave behind everything that has held you back. With that I’d like to open this discussion with Aristotle’s most popular quotes (or maybe not Aristotle, but I digress):
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle“Excellence is not an act but a habit.” – Aristotle via @differenthunger, Full article here: http://bit.ly/AristotleQuotesDH
Overcoming fear and anxiety, like anything, is not a one-time fix as I’m sure you know. This is a practice that requires commitment and conscious intention so that eventually this practice becomes an unconscious habit and ritual.
Regardless of your current level of fear and anxiety, I believe you possess truly infinite potential and already have what it takes to live a happy and abundant life. It might take a few months of even a few decades, but that journey is surely worth living to your true potential.
Science has proven time and time again through the placebo effect that the human mind is capable of mindblowing feats which include self-healing. So as you enter this new year, regardless of where you start, I suggest adapting and committing to this mantra:
New year, no fear.
Pretty catchy right? Now go ahead and write that down on a sticky note and put it somewhere you’re going to see it every morning. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, tattoo that to your neck and/or face like Gucci Mane, then send me a pic because that would be savage.
This guy knows the deal
In this post I want to offer some ancient wisdom with a modern twist to help you transcend what has held you back, aka fear and anxiety. Thanks to my homeboy Aristotle this post will help you conquer your fear and anxiety, in order to make this new year your greatest yet. For the record, I definitely believe that Aristotle quotes are definitely legit enough to be tattooed on your face and neck.
Here’s what cover in this post:
- Definitions of Fear and Anxiety
- The Impact of Fear and Anxiety on Health, Wellness & Creativity
- A Look at the Wisdom, Legacy and Quotes of Aristotle
- Aristotle Quotes and Memes to Crush Fear and Anxiety
Definitions of Fear and Anxiety
According to Google’s Oxford dictionary, fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm. Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.
These may sound very similar but here’s the key difference: fear is caused by a clearly defined threat (ie. you’re scared of creepy AF clowns), while anxiety is rooted in an unknown, potential future outcome (ie. you’re anxious about an upcoming client pitch). In other words, fear is rooted in traumatic past experience, while anxiety is rooted in the anticipation of a future experience.
The Impact of Fear and Anxiety on Health, Wellness & Creativity
When you experience fear this activates a survival mechanism called the “fight or flight” stress response. When your caveman ancestors were hunting for food and heard a hungry sabertooth tiger in the bushes, the person who escaped the fastest survived. The person who didn’t, well you can imagine what happened to him.
Clearly “Pre-Instagram Hiding Likes” Era
So in terms of survival, this stress response is critical, however, if you’re reading this now, chances are you very rarely find yourself in life or death situations worthy of this response.
When you experience emotions like fear and anxiety in the modern age, your body still reacts as if you’re about to be eaten by a sabertooth tiger, even if the source of that stress response is a harmless client meeting.
In the short term, this stress response impairs your ability to think and create. According to Harvard Medical, the chronic effects of this response contribute to high blood pressure, promote the formation of artery-clogging deposits, and cause brain changes that may contribute to anxiety, depression, and addiction.
In other words, living in a chronic state of survival, fear and anxiety will lead to your destruction, dysfunction and disease. For that reason, it is essential that you transcend fear. New Year, No fear.
Unless a life of chronic stress, destruction, dysfunction and disease sounds good to you…?
A Look at the Wisdom, Legacy & Quotes of Aristotle
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Aristotle was one of the greatest philosophers who ever lived and the first genuine scientist in history. He studied under Plato and in turn Socrates. Some of his most notable students include Thomas Aquinas and Alexander the Great. He is credited with formally inventing logic in the Western World. His work, contributions and quotes are frequently referenced nearly 2,000 years after his death. Stanford says his “influence is difficult to overestimate”. Not a bad resume yo.
Aristotle Quotes and Memes to Crush Fear and Anxiety
Now the moment you have been waiting for… Time to drop some 2,000 year old knowledge bombs to help you obliterate fear and anxiety for good.
PSA: I recommend bookmarking this page so you can quickly and easily navigate back here whenever you need a boost of ancient wisdom.
Without further ado, take it away Aristotle!
“Fear is pain arising from the anticipation of evil.”
In this quote, evil does not mean sinful or wicked but rather the alternative definition: something harmful or undesirable (thanks Philosiblog for rephrasing this meaning).
As stated above, the expectation of an uncertain, undesirable future experience is the definition of anxiety. Aristotle attributes this anxiety or expectation as the source of fear and pain and in doing so provides us with the exact solution to overcome it…
Want to eliminate fear and anxiety? Eliminate expectations.
Easier said than done, but like anything, this requires daily practice. This concept is often referred to as “The Beginner’s Mind” which has origins in Zen Buddhism.
Want to dive deeper into this concept? Click here to read a previous blog I wrote on The Beginner’s Mind and the Art of Living in the Present.
“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”
Being a creative, putting myself and my work out there for fear of judgment and criticism. Ah yes, something that I have struggled with massively in the past. And nearly every other creative I speak to can relate.
With this quote, Aristotle provides an ancient approach to dealing with haters that still applies today. Do and be nothing. Of course, this is not only impossible but also undesirable.
When you choose to create and be your highest self as opposed to doing and being nothing, encountering haters and saltiness from critics is unavoidable.
Allow it to motivate you while you simply bless your haters. You will leave a legacy while they leave, well, nothing but saltiness.
“Wicked men obey from fear; good men, from love.”
As stated above, when you live in a state of survival and fear it leads your mind, body and spirit towards wickedness, such as destruction and dysfunction. Here Aristotle beautifully shares that men (and women) who are righteous act out of love, not fear.
I also really liked this quote explanation from Busted Halo: Do what is right not because you fear the consequences of doing otherwise, but because you love what is right and true.
Allow abundance and love to guide your actions, not scarcity and fear.
“He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.”
Fear is a self-imposed limitation on your mind, body and spirit. True freedom can only be achieved once you eliminate these limitations that rob you of your potential and power. Aristotle understood that fear is the gap between you and your infinite potential. (Thanks Wikiquote)