“Always do what you are afraid to do.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I would like to talk about fear again. We are all afraid to get hurt, physically and emotionally. Most fear isn’t logical, just the feeling of not knowing the outcome of something or confusion can cause a very uncomfortable feeling. Feeling is dominant over thought. The fear of discomfort is what keeps us from washing the dishes, doing exercise, mowing the lawn, cleaning our room, or even waking up early. This is why I emphasis challenging your comfort and getting use to uncomfortable situations.
So why do I want to talk about fear again? Well, I’ve been having a lot of personal issues that I’m working on. I’m beginning to realize the effects of a hidden fear just waiting to flood out.
Fear, like most things is synergistic. It will spread into all your daily activities if you allow it to do so. How can you stop it? The first step is awareness. You have to be able to spot the fear, even if it doesn’t seem like one, in order to progress. For example: not wanting to clean your room. It doesn’t seem like a fear, does it? But it is. It’s the fear of work, of being in an uncomfortable situation. The second step is discipline. You must be able to control yourself and be willing to go through discomfort to change. The only way you’ll be able to do that is by practicing being in uncomfortable situations. That’s where the third step comes in. The third step is repetition. Developing good habits means using your already good habits often and practicing future habits. Habits are also synergistic. It takes time, but this constant renewal is a must if you don’t want to fall back into your old ways. Remember all three steps whenever you feel like fear is creeping up on you.
New circumstances may bring fear up in a totally new way, even if you already have great habits, so never let your guard down. Remember, letting fear take over in the slightest can trigger a reaction that might cause it to spread over to other things. I can’t stress this enough, BE CAREFUL!!!!
Since I’m a boxer, here’s an interesting story I found on the net about Cus D’amato, Mike Tyson’s trainer and the man who made Mike Tyson the fighter he is.
“At the same time that Babe Ruth was slugging home runs on the other side of the Bronx in the new Yankee Stadium, the young Cus D’Amato was learning valuable lessons about fear and cowardice, toughness and courage and survival on the streets. Lessons he would later incorporate in the unique philosophy of life and boxing which he imprinted to his fighters. One lesson that became familiar to his disciples was that the fear of something is usually worse than the reality, a lesson he expounded using an example from his own life. He would describe how a guy from another neighborhood, who had a reputation as one of the best knife fighters on the streets of the Bronx, was swaggering around Cus’s own patch and intimidating his pals. One day the hoodlum challenged each of them to a knife fight. Everyone was afraid and no one would accept the challenge. Once his dominance was established, the challenger began insulting and humiliating them until he’d had his fill, and then left. Word of this reached Cus that evening. He was so angered that he sought out the antagonist and challenged him to a fist fight. The reply was no; instead, Cus was offered the opportunity to avenge the honor of his friends in a knife fight. The foolhardy Cus accepted. It was agreed the two would meet at an abandoned building at seven the next morning, alone. There would be no witnesses in case one of them ended up dead. On his way home, Cus couldn’t help but think it was most likely to be him. Fear gripped him as it never had before. He hadn’t the slightest idea how to wield a knife in a fight, yet here he was about to face an expert. When he was finally able to control his fear, he thought up an idea that would at least give him a chance. Maybe he didn’t know about knife fighting, but he did know about boxing, about using his fists. He found an ice pick, carved the handle down so it would fit in his closed palm, with the blade extending out between his middle and ring fingers. He then practiced as if he were boxing, only now, at the end of his fist, was a deadly blade as he jabbed the air.
In the few hours that remained until dawn, he tried unsuccessfully to sleep. He then headed for the empty warehouse where the fight was to take place, getting there early in order to check out the surroundings and prepare himself for his adversary. He taped the ice pick inside his fist; made sure the blade protruded far enough and wrapped a jacket around his forearm for protection. Then he waited. When the fear built up too much and threatened to overwhelm him, he danced around, practicing his technique. He learned that motion relieves tension. The minutes passed. Seven o’clock came and went, and the knife fighter had still not appeared. D’Amato felt relieved, but then checked himself. If he began to wind down and his opponent suddenly materialized, he knew his resolve to fight might be weakened. Finally, when more than an hour had passed, Cus realized that fear must have got the better of the knife fighter. He wasn’t going to appear. Cus went home, a hero to his friends. The knife fighter never showed himself again. Cus knew he had won a victory, not only over his adversary, but over himself. He had faced his fear and refused to allow it get the better of him. “
I love this story because a lot of different things factor in. Things usually never go as bad as the person thinks they will. Our imagination can be an asshole sometimes!