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What I Learned From Walking On Fire

By Jose Briceno.


I am not brave.


I have always shied away from physical danger, and my pain tolerance is close to zero.


When I was younger, I was never fit or strong, and I was always left behind by my friends when we played any sport. I also avoided any kind of conflict, physical or verbal, because I was weak.


This weekend, however, I had a major realization.


I spent the last few days with my wife at Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within in Newark. Major event. More than 13,000 people came together with the same drive: we love our lives, but we’re hungry for more.


On the first night of the event, after a powerful 12-hour delivery by the creator of the coaching industry, Tony Robbins, all of us had to walk barefoot on fire. Not as a figure of speech, but a literal sense. Each one of us were encouraged to walk on 1200-degree burning-hot coals, with shoes and socks off.


I was scared, naturally.


As I stood before the line of hot coals, barefoot, thousands of people chanting around me, I hesitated for a second.


My brain was telling me, “Why are you doing this? You’re not brave. It’s going to hurt, remember you can’t tolerate pain.”


As I was having these thoughts, I realized something important. I was not as scared as I thought I would be.


My body was ready to move and walk on fire, even though my brain kept telling me to stop because “I’m not brave”.


I decided not to listen to my brain.


I took the first step, then the second. No pain at all. I walked on as a girl on the other side of the line urged me to keep going. On the last step, I felt my left foot burning a little, but that was it. I made it through the other side safe and sound.


My wife went after me. When she came through we hugged each other and yelled with euphoria. We had done it!


What I learned from this experience is not that I’m brave. I realized that I’ve been brave all along, and that I should not believe everything my brain tells me.


“I’m not brave” is just a story that I have been telling myself my entire life, when there’s evidence all around me of the contrary.


I have walked on fire several times in the past:


  • 8 years ago, I left my comfortable lifestyle in Mexico City to search for more in the United States.
  • 6 years ago, after losing 40 pounds, I quit a stable yet unsatisfying career and became a personal trainer
  • 2 years ago, against every word of advice, I took my chances and opened my own business, LUX Personal Training.


I am brave. That’s my new story.


I will stop listening to that voice in my head that tells me I’m not brave, or that I shouldn’t do certain things, or that I’m not good enough.


And I suggest you do the same.


Stop listening to that voice and start living your life as you want to. We’re much more than what we tell ourselves.


(By the way, I did burn my left foot and got a small blister. Totally worth the experience.)

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