The Lesson: We typically think that those who overcome fear, or participate in fear-inducing activities, must be naturally courageous – but the very act of participating in an activity that induces fear is what makes us courageous, and while we may have trained ourselves to avoid jumping into fear, there is a very tangible process of ecstasy and reinvention that comes from diving into the things that scare you.

Notable Excerpt: “All courageous people have fear. They just do things anyway, hollering with a combination of joy and fear, like Butch and Sundance jumping off the high cliff into the water below. You will find, as you descend toward the water, there is a joyful rush. You’re feeling your fear while you are in the action of conquering it. And as you continue in action, the fear dissolves, like a fist full of salt in the river. What remains for you is pure joy. It’s the joy of being someone you were not.”

The Speaker: Brian Johnson is a philosopher and founder of, a website, app, and free video series that help people to optimize their lives so they can be their best selves. He studies self-improvement books, then breaks them down into bite-sized chunks and “Philosopher‘s Notes” for busy people who want “more wisdom in less time”. He also offers Optimal Living classes and online training for your Hero’s Journey.

Podcast: Brian’s podcast, OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson, features the best big ideas from the best optimal living books. More wisdom in less time (between 4-19 minutes each) to help you live your greatest life. Subscribe: Stitcher — iTunes — Podbean.

Books: In this talk, Johnson refers to a book by Steve Chandler called “Reinventing Yourself.”

(LISTEN to the intriguing talk below) – Photo by Steve Hall

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