When we really fear something, the terror of it all seems so huge at first. We get lost in rumination after rumination until we finally talk ourselves out of whatever we were going to do. Tangled in all those fearful thoughts, it’s so easy to forget the feeling of triumph when you do face a fear—what it feels like at the end of the roller coaster, or the moment right before the crowd applauds your terrible karaoke performance.
In situations like these, we can either avoid the risk or stick around for the reward. Fear is a choice, so which do you choose?
When you need some motivation to face your fears, get some courage from these 13 inspiring quotes. You’re in control and you call the shots, so don’t let those fears boss you around.
Related: How to Confront Your Fear-Based Thoughts
1. “Fear isn’t an excuse to come to a standstill. It’s the impetus to step up and strike.” —Arthur Ashe
2. “To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another.” —Katherine Paterson
3. “Many of our fears are tissue-paper-thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them.” —Brendan Francis
4. “Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay.” —Thich Nhat Hanh
5. “You always have two choices: your commitment versus your fear.” —Sammy Davis Jr.
6. “Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.” —Bertrand Russell
7. “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” —Marcus Aurelius
8. “Try a thing you haven’t done three times. Once, to get over the fear of doing it. Twice, to learn how to do it. And a third time to figure out whether you like it or not.” —Virgil Thomson
9. “The greatest mistake you can make in life is continually fearing that you’ll make one.” —Elbert Hubbard
10. “When we fear things I think that we wish for them… every fear hides a wish.” —David Mamet, Edmond
11. “Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.” —Benjamin Franklin
12. “The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire, not things we fear.” —Brian Tracy
13. “He who is not every day conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
Related: 5 Tips to Overcome Your (Probably Irrational) Fears