What are you afraid of?
We all have fears.
I remember watching my first horror movie…I had trouble sleeping for days.
When I first saw a cockroach, I screamed like a little girl.
Roller coasters? Pass, thank you.
But as I grew up, I knew I needed to do something about it. I didn’t want to grow up to be a man who was a scaredy-cat.
Growing up, my father wasn’t scared of anything…or at least it seemed that to me.
Horror movies – no sweat.
Bugs – no problemo.
I always looked up to my father because of that and wanted to be just like him. I couldn’t imagine telling my own son that I was too scared to watch a horror movie, kill a cockroach or get on a roller coaster.
So I decided to do something about it.
First, as it happened, came roller coasters.
One vacation to England a good friend of mine took me to Alton Towers (which I hadn’t heard of at the time) and I was looking forward to spending the day on the rides.
Little did I know that most of the rides were roller coasters.
My friend desperately wanted to go on all the newest rides and, after a little coaxing, I caved. I didn’t want to be a killjoy. So I took a deep breath and stepped on only my second roller coaster (the first was in Disneyland and my family and I had no idea it was a roller coaster).
And guess what? I loved it.
Since that time I have been on every roller coaster I can find. I love pushing the boundaries. Higher, faster, newer, cooler…gimme, gimme, gimme.
It was about that time that I made the decision to start my attack on my other two fears.
Looking at them both logically I knew there was nothing to fear. But in my mind, it was a whole other story.
I tackled cockroaches first.
I can’t remember how it happened, but one day, after having seen one too many cockroaches, I went into the kitchen, picked up a fly swatter and declared war on them.
So every Friday night I would walk around our house and look for any cockroaches that had managed to survive the spray.
Quite quickly I realized that I was looking for a needle in a haystack, so I decided to take the fight to them and started patrolling the neighborhood streets.
It must have been rather funny for passers-by to see a kid wandering around with a flashlight in one hand and a fly swatter in another.
But I was on a mission.
I thought my friends would laugh when I told them, but to my surprise they actually wanted to join me. They thought it was pretty cool.
So for a few months, the cockroach patrol was formed.
And guess what? Nothing bad happened.
Then came my big challenge: horror movies. I decided to start off slow. I believe I started off with “Critters” and it wasn’t that bad, so I decided to up the ante.
Next came Aliens, now that was intense.
However, the movie was so awesome, I didn’t care. I loved watching Sigourney Weaver kick some serious alien butt.
I was halfway there.
So in 9th grade, I decided to push the envelope once more and began borrowing the scariest movies I could get my hands on.
One by one, they fell.
My biggest challenge came with Hellraiser, but I just kept telling myself, “This isn’t real. It’s just special effects. It’s not real.”
And as you might guess, that fear fell as well.
“Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain.”
Mark Twain got it right.
We all have fears. That’s just being human.
But most fears exist just between our ears.
Today, I’m no longer out on cockroach missions or challenging myself to watch the scariest movies. Now my fears are far more real.
The older I get, health fears arise which is why I have taken a preemptive approach with yoga, karate, a good diet and a good night’s sleep.
I have economic fears, but I have invested for the future and believe in time they will make me a wealthy man.
Fear will always be with us. That we can’t change.
However, we are in control of whether we control our fears, or our fears control us.
I decided many years to take control of my life and taking control of my fears helped me do just that.
Fear is no doubt powerful, but only because we give it power.
If anyone should be afraid of the water it’s me because I have almost drowned three times. The last being a tsunami…but I refuse to let my fear destroy me or my life.
I faced it. I overcame it.
Overcoming my fears is what I, and many high achievers, consider to be one of the secrets of success, because in building a better life for ourselves, there will always be challenges.
So I’ll ask you again, what are you afraid of?
Whatever it is, I assure you, it can be overcome.