Moving Through Fear’s Allure to Find Inner Peace
Find out what tips a “Fearvana” expert gives on how to turn your fear, anxiety and stress into greater meaning, bliss and fulfillment.
In this Episode of The Human Upgrade™...
Akshay Nanavati’s story of perseverance includes overcoming drug addiction, alcoholism that pushed him to the brink of suicide, depression and PTSD from fighting in Iraq with the U.S. Marines.
“That’s when I fell in love with the experience of adversity and the struggle because boot camp was terrifying,” Akshay says. “Everything about [it] was terrifying but it was so alluring that I started to look for other ways to confront myself—ultimately to go to war with myself.” He believes that the path to inner peace is the pursuit of a worthy inner war.
He went on to build a global business, run ultramarathons, conduct humanitarian work in post-conflict zones, and explore some of the most hostile environments on the planet—from mountains to caves to polar icecaps. “Nature became my playground to explore my fears and ultimately systematically push through them one inch at a time.”
“I craved a high I believed I could only get by living on the edge of life and death,” he says in his book, “Fearvana: The Revolutionary Science of How to Turn Fear Into Health, Wealth and Happiness.”
He’s also spent years extensively researching neuroscience, psychology and spirituality. He combined his life experience with that research to write “Fearvana” and infused it with ways to transform fear, and its counterparts stress and anxiety, into something much more positive. His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote in the book’s foreword, “Fearvana inspires us to look beyond our own agonizing experiences and find the positive side of our lives.”
Akshay now teaches people how to overcome their own fears and how to tap into their brain’s superpower—neuroplasticity.
“I don't like the idea of irrational fears.
All fears have their place, they show up for a reason. It's the assigning of a judgment around the fear that causes us more problems.”
Sounds good, but how do you really move through stress and attain growth? First, you have to learn to disidentify with fear and suffering by remembering you are not your thoughts, feelings or experiences, Akshay explains. “You are simply the one who experiences them. Through this process it becomes so much easier to create a life of fulfillment, It’s a lifelong practice and a great pathway to growth.”
You can even learn to “suffer well” in the day-to-day context of your human experience.
“I couldn’t care less when fear shows up,” he says. “What matters to me is what I do with it once it does. I can let go of the construct I have around the fear and accept it for what it is and then choose what I want to do outside of it.”
Take a listen for more tips on how to become fearless.
Akshay’s heading to Antarctica in early November 2021. Learn more about his South Pole journey and how to follow along here.
Enjoy the show!
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- Today, we’re going to talk about my favorite F word on Earth. And it’s not the F word you think. – 2:15
- My experience on the opposite end of fear of not having dealt with it that ultimately led me to it. – 5:20
- Exploring mountains, caves, skydiving, rock climbing, cave, you name it. Nature became my playground to explore my fears and ultimately systematically push through them one inch at a time.- 7:50
- Were you always one of those run towards the explosion things or are we running away from something else? – 11:20
- The other day I reached out, and I asked this girl out. That to me was more scary than doing the things I do, which could literally kill me. – 16:36
- Fear starts inside the cells. There’s a different consciousness, and this is sub-cellular psychology. There’s a whole field emerging on that. – 18:40
- You did seven days in darkness? Why? Where? How? – 21:50
- How in the heck did you get the Dalai Lama to write the foreword for your book? – 29:01
- Just because the fear is there, just because the who am I feeling is there I don’t have to listen to it. – 30:33
- Fear, stress, anxiety, guilt, none of these emotions are “bad emotions.” – 33:15
- There’s a great book called Brandwatch that talks about fear based marketing, because number one, because what it does on a neurological level – 37:50
- Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our power to choose our response. And in that response lies our growth and our freedom. So, it’s that space between stimulus that shapes us. – 41:42
- Everybody’s got a worthy struggle. It doesn’t have to be running ultras, or climbing mountains, or skiing in Antarctica, it can be playing the guitar, it can be playing chess. – 47:12
- You have three takeaways in Fearvana, the big ones there. Can you walk me through what they are? – 49:28
- To recognize that happiness is not the elimination of sadness, happiness is the ability to find the gift in sadness. So, you will find sadness, but that’s okay, that’s part of it.- 57:41
- The environment forces you to become better than yourself in order to thrive in that environment. And so, I love to continue to explore these places. – 1:02:11