Taylor Swift turns 30 this year, and she shared 30 reflections upon her milestone birthday in Elle magazine.

Some were entertaining; some were succinct and wise; and some were downright striking.
One particularly attention-grabbing point involved her biggest fear.

"After the Manchester Arena bombing and the Vegas concert shooting, I was completely terrified to go on tour this time because I didn't know how we were going to keep 3 million fans safe over seven months," Swift said.

Her biggest fear was of violence--either directed at her fans or herself.

"My fear of violence has continued into my personal life," Swift revealed. "I carry QuikClot army grade bandage dressing, which is for gunshot or stab wounds. Websites and tabloids have taken it upon themselves to post every home address I've ever had online. You get enough stalkers trying to break into your house and you kind of start prepping for bad things."

Is it overkill for Swift to carry QuikClot around on her person? No. She is correct in her assessment that she's a target. And if something terrifying were to happen, that preparation would serve her well. When it comes to blood loss, every second counts, and having that kind of thing on hand (for herself or for someone else) could be the difference between survival and death.

The fact is, fear can be incapacitating. It can be paralyzing. It can cause you to stop before you've even begun.

Harnessed properly, it can also be galvanizing.

It's silly (not to mention downright disrespectful) to tell someone to just stop being afraid of something that scares them. You can't just stop being afraid of your startup failing, or your spouse coming home if she or he is a firefighter on a job, or flying.

You have a valid reason for being scared.

The trick is what you do with the fear. You can allow it to control you, define you, make you feel small and alone. Or you can take steps to prepare for it as best you can (were it to actually come to pass), and then live your life.

Fear is often like a prison to which you also have a key. Evolutionarily, it's supposed to be an indication of danger. It's supposed to tell you to protect yourself, to not risk your own life, to stay safe.

That's appropriate if you're actually in danger. But for many of us, our fears aren't actually of something that can kill. And they're keeping us boxed in, limiting us far more than helping us.

In other words, being afraid isn't a good enough reason to not do something. 

You've heard it before but it's worth repeating here: Courage isn't the absence of fear. It's feeling the fear and doing the damn thing anyway.

What are you most afraid of--as an entrepreneur, as an artist, as a person? Now ask yourself: What is that fear keeping you from ... and is it worth it?

Taylor Swift was afraid, but she didn't give up touring.

She didn't decide the danger of stalkers was so great she would move into a lockdown facility.

She didn't sacrifice her art or her joy to the possibility of violence.

She takes the best precautions she can, and then she lives with the rest.

Or in her words: "We have to live bravely in order to truly feel alive, and that means not being ruled by our greatest fears."

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Taylor Swift recently turned 30. She will be age 30 on December 13, 2019.

Published on: Mar 29, 2019
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