I was talking with some friends recently and the subject of skydiving came up. Three out of four of us immediately stated "I would never do that" I was one of the three. This started me thinking about risk taking. Why are some people so willing and eager for adventures that can be considered risky and others automatically feel fear and say "No way"? Since I am neither a sociologist nor a researcher, I could only examine my own response to this and other adrenaline raising opportunities.
Do I secretly want to be a person that skydives, skis from the highest peak, scuba dives in the underwater caves? Maybe yes, maybe no, but what I discovered is what I really want is the freedom to choose. Freedom from the fear being the deciding factor. When fear is in control, the answer is always no. The answer is predetermined before the opportunity is ever presented.
So sticking with the skydiving example, I then had to look at what exactly am I afraid of? Death? Being hurt? The shoot not opening? Landing in a tree? I thought of all the possible scenerios that could be the rational for my "No" response. Although none of these outcomes would be desirable, none were responsible for the "No". What I realized was, it is (only) the fear I am afraid of feeling. Fear of the fear as it has been said.
Fear of the fear is not a concept that I invented (I wish) it is also not a new concept to me or to many other people. However, I did surprise myself how strongly I felt the fear without actually being anywhere near a plane. This got me thinking about the feeling of fear and where eles in my life do I feel that fear? Do I dismiss opportunities with an automatic "No"? Do highly successful people feel that fear? Do other everyday people like myself feel that fear? I believe the answer is Yes, Yes, Yes to all of the above.
O.K. so big deal we all have fear, what does it matter? It matters a lot! It matters because when we don't acknowledge or challenge our fears, we miss out on all the beauty that we are, all that we are meant to be, do, see and feel. Fear keeps us in our sameness while we dream and wish for different and more.
Fear of ... failure, success, rejection,money, love, business, social situations, all areas of life need to be self-examined with integrity and positive intent. I believe when we do this we can begin to make the changes in ourselves and in the world that we want to make.
Does this mean I will go skydiving? Maybe? At least it is no longer an automatic "No", I consider this progress.