Living fearlessly is not the same thing as never being afraid. It’s good to be afraid, occasionally. Fear is a great teacher. What’s not good is living in fear, allowing fear to dictate your choices, allowing fear to define who you are. Living fearlessly means standing up to fear, taking its measure, refusing to let it shape and define your life. Living fearlessly means taking risks, taking gambles, not playing it safe.  It means refusing to take “no” for an answer when you are sure that the answer should have been “yes.”  It means refusing to settle for less than what is your due, what is yours by right, what is yours by the sweat of your labor and effort.

Fear is man’s worst enemy. Like a demon of hell, it sits upon one’s shoulders and whispers, “You can’t write that. It will hurt your business; it will deprive you of an income. You can’t write this or do that because of public opinion. You must not express new ideas nor advocate new ways of doing business because people will laugh at you.”

They deprive men of their initiative; they stay the hand and the mind of the genius who advance civilization a thousand years in one generation; they dreaded the facility of creative imagination and cause it to atrophy and die because of lack of use and expression.

This is an age when the world needs men of courage who will search for the truth and express it, no matter whom it may effect, for weak or for woe.

Excerpt from “How to Sell Your Way Through Life” by Napoleon Hill (1939)

master salesman, empowering sales

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who now neither victory or defeat.  

–Theodore Roosevelt, expert from the speech “Citizenship in a Republic,” delivered at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910.

The Charge (Free Press, 2012), 177