The Fear

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Song for the Day: Echo by Incubus

Greetings.

Yes, it’s another random internet post about “Fear.” <Insert “wah, wah” here>

I’m on a kick of overcoming my fears. After surviving, conquering and enjoying the outputs of conquering my latest fears I’m trying to leverage this momentum to overcome more.

I fear swimming in open ocean and unprotected ocean for extended periods of time.

I fear talking about outer space because it gives me a weird sinking feeling in my stomach. (Yes, weird and odd fear).

I dislike/get uncomfortable/fear spontaneous acts without a plan. As I would joke, “sometimes things are just better if I know what’s going to happen.”

Well, in the past month, I’ve learned to get more comfortable/overcome some of these above fears and AMAZING things happened:

  • Swam in open ocean waters (unprotected by a cove) in Hawaii – As a result, I saw two sea turtles swim under me and even saw an octopus underwater (ink and all!) 
  • Engaged in a lengthy conversation with a stranger about Outer Space, Black Holes and Galaxies. (Oh and I finally learned who Carl Sagan was).
  • SPONTANEOUSLY took a trip to Hawaii, booked last minute without planning a single activity or agenda. With only plans for a rental car and a place to stay, this trip turned out to be full of adventure and discovery. Amazing!

Fear and I have had a complicated relationship – it has either fueled me or paralyzed me. Growing up, my parents used fear as a tactic to motivate me towards a goal. For example, I remember the first time I ever saw a homeless person on the street. I remember my parents telling me that the ONLY way I could ever keep from living on the streets was to study REALLY hard, go to a good college and get a good job. Otherwise, my only option in life would be homelessness. (I believe my parents’ motivations and intent were in the right place despite how binary that logic must sound).

With me being young, gullible and naive (still the latter two), I took that advice literally and worked my ASS off. I took every advanced class possible, volunteered for everything, got into UC Berkeley (Go Bears!) and self-financed 90% of my college tuition/expenses through scholarships, grants and working three jobs. I got my first job at 21 and am still here 11 years later. The fear of FAILING and being WITHOUT made me chase everything possible and arguably, maintaining a sense of fear fueled me to progress decently in life.

However, fear has also paralyzed me and kept me from taking extraordinary leaps that could have yielded amazing opportunities in life. While I would like to say I have lived life without regrets at this point, that would be a lie. And not the point of me sharing my truths with you.

  • Fear has caused “tunnel vision”
  • Fear has fed convention vs. imagination
  • Fear has kept me from prioritizing life vs. career
  • Fear has kept me from LOOKING INWARD to SEE that I AM capable of going outside my comfort zone
  • Fear has made me stubborn
  • Fear has even caused me to hurt those I love

Fear can protect you from many things but fear can also PARALYZE you from revealing your own version of AMAZING. If I have one wish for myself, it is that I live less than 70% of my life in fear. Heck, I’ll even take less than 50%. That would mean the majority of my life lives on the side of LOVE. While I know this is often a biblical or spiritual reference, I see living on the side of LOVE as:

  • Living to LOVE change
  • Living to LOVE growth
  • Living to LOVE others
  • Living to LOVE happiness
  • Living to LOVE adventure
  • Living to LOVE a better version of yourself
  • Living to LOVE life and accepting all the potentially scary & amazing possibilities that await you.

Tomorrow, I will take on overcoming a new fear. I will take on my fear of Karaoke (this is a real thing – phonophobia!) once and for all. Whenever I am asked to participate in Karaoke, I start to sweat, my heart races and I just start to get the flushed feeling in my cheeks. I get sheepish and embarassed for not only myself but for other people. Something about the idea of vulnerability & public critique absolutely guts me and I CAN’T quite understand why it’s so paralyzing. Singing in the car or shower or around family members isn’t so bad, but when it comes to a public display of vocal ability, I absolutely LOSE MY SHIT.

So, I’m going to take singing lessons tomorrow. I already feel vulnerable thinking about it…I’m going to sing in front of someone I don’t know and have him critique me. I might cry, I might sweat profusely, I might lose it and I might cause my instructor to seek therapy afterwards. However, I know that conquering this fear means I am LOVING myself. Because at the end of it, I will have pushed myself enough to try to a be a better version of myself for me and those I love.

What are your fears? Do you think we have any in common? I’m ready to make lists of fears to get over!

Here’s to a life with less than 50%.

Excel.

Notes:

Changing Perspectives on Fear – Developing a healthy relationship with fear

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