How My Greatest Fear is My Greatest Superpower

I often ask people, “What’s your greatest fear?”

I’ve heard answers like, “being ugly”, “being unliked”, “family’s health”, “failure”.

A person’s answer reveals a lot about their values and the decisions they may make in a given situation.

My greatest fear is…

Regret.

I remember giving a rousing speech before my high school class,

“When we are old and gray, we’ll be sitting in our rocking chairs, staring out the window, thinking “Did I do enough?”

I lost the class election for which that speech was for. I did win the following year, but even if I didn’t, my greatest regret would have been to not run at all.

I don’t regret the things I did, such as the time I asked a girl to prom who dumped me the night before prom to go with her ex-boyfriend.

I regret the things I didn’t do, like not trying out for the volleyball team or not flirting with more girls because I was shy and awkward.

Upon graduating from college, I could have gotten a safe government job, which if “poverty”, “stability”, “loneliness” were my greatest fears then I might have done so, but I felt so passionate about my web app idea, Live to Challenge, that I knew I’d regret not pursuing it, regardless of whether or not it succeeds.

Now you maybe thinking, “Anthony, if regret is your biggest fear why don’t you go snort coke off hookers? YOLO!”

And that is because regret, for me, has nothing to do with hedonism. My greatest regret would be to go through life with little impact on the world. In other words…

Insignificance.

So if we take the timeline further, beyond the rocking chair years, beyond death itself, when I’m up in heaven I don’t want to spend all of eternity asking, “What if I did more?”

I don’t want to feel like I didn’t live up to my god-given potential; or while having drinks with Elvis Presley and Abraham Lincoln, that they not know about the good work I did here on Earth.

I don’t know where my deep desire for significance comes from.

I’ve had it ever since I can remember.

Part of it is probably the fact that I was often neglected as a baby and as a child.

Part of it is probably my desire to exceed the expectations of all those who doubted me.

Part of it is probably seeing all the pain my family and I have gone through and not wanting it to pass in vain.

Nonetheless, this desire defines much of who I am, and therefore my drive for significance is ultimately my superpower.

Bruce Wayne embodies this thinking. He was afraid of bats and then embraced Batman. As kid he witnessed the murder of his parents, being powerless to stop it, and then tapped into his fear of powerlessness to become the most powerful.

What is your greatest fear? What is your superpower? And does your fear fuel your superpower?

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Anthony Galli is the creator of Live to Challenge. He is a 26 year old American living out of a backpack as he travels the world (current location: Southeast Asia). He fancies himself an entrepreneurial, libertarian, human guinea pig bent on making a dent in the universe (why he chooses to speak in the third person no one knows).

Minimalist Federalist Essayist | www.AnthonyGalli.com