Friday, August 29, 2014

Do We Let Our Fears Paralyze Us Or Push Us Forward?

Fear is a powerful emotion. It can’t stop you in your tracks or sending you fleeing in the other direction.  It can also keep you from doing something stupid. The trick is to recognize when fear is holding you back and use it to push you forward.

I was not an adventurous child. I think I became aware of consequences too young and was forever shying away from activities that were potentially painful. Bike riding, tree climbing, jumping off the high dive at the pool – these were all activities that frightened me. Had I ever fallen out of a tree – no, but something told me it would hurt if I did. When approaching the high dive I could only think about what would happen if I miscalculated and hit the side of the pool. 

Yep, I was a weird kid and probably a pretty boring one. I prized comfort, safety and routine. Most of my days were spent reading about adventures, not living them. I would build elaborate stories in my head about all the things I would do “someday”. But fear was always there, holding me in place.  It was a constant barrier between me and what I wanted to do.

I was 24 and having a conversation with my mother when it hit me, I could live the rest of my life saying “I wish I had…..” or I could use the fear to push me forward. I needed to be more afraid of living a life of regrets than I was of a possible bad outcome. In other words, wouldn’t it be worse to come to the end my life with a list of things I would have liked to have done than to end it with a few failures? So I made a promise to myself to live a life without the limits of fear, a life without regrets.

As an adult, I have jumped off a 60 foot waterfall in Hawaii, learned to swim properly so I could take a surf lesson, traveled internationally by myself several times, and gotten a tattoo (three in fact). And on this day 13 years ago, I packed everything I owned into my Hyundai Accent and moved to Los Angeles. My life is now one of adventure and not just dreams of adventure. Don’t get me wrong, the fear is still there but now it is a quiet whisper that is mostly drowned out by courage, stubbornness, and encouragement from my wonderful friends. 
Is fear holding you back? Is there a list of things you want to do but are too afraid?

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