How do you deal with fear?

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:

feel the fear

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…



  1. 28 February, 2016 / 12:33 pm

    I’m really afraid of heights, rollercoasters, big wheels etc. However, I have two adrenaline junkie kids. So I have to deal with it and face my fears! The boys know I’m scared and they hold my hand. In a way it teaches them maturity, so maybe my silly fear is a good thing!!

  2. 30 May, 2016 / 1:25 pm

    I appreciate this article. My favorite part is:

    “Sometimes life is scary. Things will scare you. That’s OK. The true test is to what extent you can carry on regardless. ”

    To what extent am I going to keep going, in the face of my fear? I guess that’s courage. It’s so vital to have. Yet, we often feel we don’t have it. But, we all do. I remember the first time I was to speak to an audience, butterflies were rumbling in my tummy. But, I still went ahead to give the talk. It was such a liberating moment for me. I faced my fears. The trick, is to do it afraid.

    • Jo Middleton
      2 June, 2016 / 8:08 pm

      Exactly – if you’re going to feel afraid either way, you may as well just go ahead and do it scared! It’s hugely satisfying.

  3. 17 March, 2017 / 11:46 am

    Hey Friend,

    Hope you are doing fine…!

    I am a patient of Acrophobia (fear of heights). Due to this I missed out so many precious moments with my family. I am not able to go to higher places, could not fly to attend any event and many more things. It made me a kind of anti-social person in my family. But I had no choice until I decided to get a treatment for this. Now, I am getting therapies for the same. But nothing would work, if you do not want to change things from inside. You have to gather all that courage to face your fears.
    I did so and I am in a better situation now.

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful post…!

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