I was listening to a podcast yesterday about fear. It’s part of an ongoing positive thinking series called Life is a Marathon by a guy called Bruce Van Horn – his name alone puts a smile on my face, so he’s off to a good start. If you fancy listening to it, I will warn you in advance that it’s very American, and there is a strong religious slant, but I find I can tune that out. I just replace the word ‘God’ with ‘You’ and that gives my self-esteem an extra boost.
Anyway, he was talking about fear, and how it holds us back. He gave the example of a woman trapped in a burning building who was afraid of stairwells. The fireman is talking her down.
“I know you’re scared,” he says. “Do it scared.”
It really made me stop and think. So often we let the fact that we are scared of doing something stop us from doing it, but why? Yes you might be scared, but that’s OK, you can be scared, it doesn’t mean you don’t do it. We feel all kinds of emotions about all kinds of things, but a lot of the time we carry on regardless.
He used another quote to reinforce the point. I’ve not been able to find a source for it, but it’s about peeing your pants, so a good one for the people who found the name Bruce Van Horn amusing.
“Fear,” it goes, roughly, “is wetting your pants. Courage is doing what you have to do with wet pants.”
This guy understands:
Sometimes life is scary. Things will scare you. That’s OK. The true test is to what extent you can carry on regardless.
Of course it’s easy to say that, less easy to put into practice, because fear can be paralysing. Stood at the top of the high ropes at River Dart Country Park with Belle over the summer I felt the fear. I desperately wanted just to put one foot out onto the rope bridge, but I couldn’t make myself. How might I have felt at the end though if I’d been able to do it scared?
How do you deal with fear? Also, have you ever wet your pants in public? Tell us all about it in the comments…