Jun 12, 2008

Posted by in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Go to the Roar – Having a Healthy Relationship with Fear

Go to the Roar – Having a Healthy Relationship with Fear

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself — FDR.


That is it.  If you think about it, fear only means something if you let it.  Now I get that might seem trite but  I am of the belief that usually what I think I am afraid of is not really it.  There is something underneath, bubbling under the surface and it is usually something unknown that I can’t put a name or a face to.  For me, fear manifested itself in just not knowing what was on the other side.  For most of my life I was the guy that had to have the answer.  I just had to know.  And if I did not have a clear vision of how things would play out, I would be frozen into inaction.  I would rather do nothing than risk having to take on the unexpected.  I have come to embrace that that mindset is the equivilant of death.


There is a parable about gazelles and lions on the African Serengeti.  Lions love to eat gazelles.  Gazelles can easily outrun lions.  A lion also hunts in packs and if not part of the kill that lion does not get to share in the feast.  This of course poses a problem for the older lions who just don’t have the where-with-all to chase spry gazelles across the plains.  How then do they survive? The older lions have devised a simple plan.  The young lions chase the gazelles for a while.  Eventually, they run them up to the high grass where an old lion is hiding.  When the gazelle comes upon him, the lion let’s out a tremendous roar.  In that moment, most gazelles freeze just long enough for the young lions behind to catch up and pounce on them for the kill. Those gazelles that do not break stride and instead run at the old lion get to live another day because the old lion is just not agile enough to catch them.   The point is, to live you need to be prepared to run headlong into your fear.


   Obviously there is a difference between being reckless and adventurous but now I firmly believe that there are few greater highs than being on the other side of something that at one time truely terrified me  So one of the disciplines I have taken on is when making a decision I will always go in the direction that truely terrifies me.   Taking on this attitude certainly helped me deal with having MS (multiple sclarosis).  When first diagnosed, I had no idea where the disease would take my body.  Even when I figured out how to cope with the symptoms, something new would pop up.  I had an answer to the headcaches, my limbs would go numb. I’d figure out how to navigate my body and my bladder would go south on me.  Every day would become an adventure.  But traher than freeze, I committed to just getting out the door and making a run at the day.


        These days in my mens’ circles I continually strive to fail.  First becaue it is a safe place to do it. Since the world of MDI is an artificial environment there are no long term risks other than my tarnished ego.  But more importantly, in failure there is an opportunity to learn.  I can’t thnk of I time when I learned anything from doing anything right.  Sure it felt good for a time but I tended not learn anything.  But when I made a mistake, failed, or stepped into the unknown — the lessons just cascaded all over me.


   So take a moment and think about something that truely terrifies you.  Don’t think about why, the why is irrelevant.  Instead make a commitment to take a direct run at that fear.  However, don’t do it alone.  Make sure someone has your back.  Make sure someone has checked your parachute or knows your flight plan, so if things really go awry, they can reel you back in.  Most of all just enjoy the ride.

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