Have No Fear!




Courage appears to have two sides to it. On the one hand, we seem to lose our fearlessness as we grow older. Remember riding a bike downhill with no hands, clambering up a rocky face without a safety rope, or balancing on a narrow branch high up in the sky while grinning down at the increasingly pale face of your Mom? The more experience we gather along the way, the more we lose our appetite for that kind of courage. We allow caution to take the lead instead. Bicycle helmets, security ropes, scaredy-cat – hello everybody? It seems a shame to lose that kind of spunk. It was a great feeling just to go ahead without weighing up all the possible consequences beforehand.

I believe that the biggest enemy of humans is fear. It makes us unsure, insecure and holds us back. It also leads to missing out on good opportunities, supporting idiotic causes, hiding ourselves behind garden fences, even to poor posture. In some cases it leads to complete stupidity. Say when somebody begins to fear they're not getting enough attention and in their desperation to be noticed aren't able to place themselves in anybody else's position anymore. The saddest effect of fear however is when it stops us from enjoying our life to the full; when it stops us from being open for new things, for change, for challenges, for ourselves, when it leads to making the wrong choices. Or even worse: no choices at all.

This can be seen in the way we deal with failure in this country. In Switzerland, if you run the misfortune of going bankrupt this is discussed in hushed tones preferably behind closed doors. Not like in the US where people are enthusiastically supportive and immediately suggest you try again. Here, you have to be very brave to try your hand at something for the second time. In other cultures people are much more casual about picking up the pieces and giving their business a second chance two blocks further down the road.

But that's the good thing about the other side of courage. Courage doesn't just decrease as you get older, strangely enough it seems to grow as well, because the better you know yourself, the more laid-back you become. And that makes you bolder. Or in other words, those obstacles that required a lot of courage to tackle when you were younger seem to shrink until they disappear altogether. Things that once required a lot of nerve become effortless. Telling someone how well you thought they did, striking up a conversation, trying out something new – all become ridiculously easy. So much so that with all this new-found casualness you might actually go out and launch that start-up, open the café you've always dreamed of, write the novel that's waiting to be liberated from inside you, despite everybody telling you you're out of your mind. Or even publish a business magazine that, in spite of the general reservations, is currently celebrating its 50th issue. For which, herewith, allow me to express my sincerest congratulations and my very best wishes for the jubilee.


This article appeared in PUNKTMagazin. The Swiss magazine combines economics, investment and lifestyle and is published every two months. Branders CEO René Allemann writes a column for the publication. You'll find more information on PUNKTMagazin here: www.punktmagazin.ch

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René Allemann

René Allemann

Born in Zurich, René Allemann founded the consulting firm Branders in 2005. With 20 employees, the branding agency creates, maintains and manages brands. The Brander journal is published by the Branders Group.

The Brander is a publication of the Branders Group