Beating Fear Is Easy – Just Find Something That Scares You More

Good morning, and happy Hump Day! I hope your day is off to a great start.

Two nights ago, we had some pretty intense storms. Nothing like they had in Tennessee, but apparently enough to raise some fears locally. By “locally” I mean here … in this house. I wouldn’t know. Other than a clap of thunder that made me roll over and adjust my CPAP mask, I slept through it. Once I’m asleep, it takes a lot to get my attention.

It was just under a year ago that I was awakened from a deep sleep by loud voices and lights in the hallway. Obviously, something was seriously wrong. I remember thinking, “What has that cat done now?” Anybody who lives with a cat can fully understand that assumption. Then, I heard my daughter clearly say, “Multiple tornadoes on the ground!” Okay, that’s my cue.

To say we live in an area where tornadoes command attention is an understatement. My house was built in 1974. If you stand on the roof and look as far as the eye can see, it was all built in 1974. Or, rather, I should say re-built. There was a perfectly good neighborhood here before then. But in a matter of minutes, it was leveled. So yes, when the sirens go off, we respond.

Apparently, that’s what it takes to wake me up. Not the sirens. I sleep with my hearing aids on the dresser. You could put a siren on the front porch, and I wouldn’t hear it. It was pretty much the same when I was in the Navy. An onboard fire alert meant waking up just enough to see where the fire was. Unless it was under my bunk, I went right back to sleep.

General quarters, on the other hand, was something we couldn’t quite ignore. I’ll never forget the first time I woke up to those dreaded words, “This is NOT a drill!” I haven’t moved that fast since the time my sister walked in while my wife and I were … well, never mind. At least that time I put on the right pair of pants.

Things that alarm one person barely get another person’s attention. And things that get one person’s attention go completely unnoticed by others. Let my granddaughter see a moth, and it’s a full-blown panic. This is the same kid who got her picture taken at the circus with a six-foot snake around her neck. Let me see a snake and it’s a full-blown panic. Priorities. We all have ‘em.

Fear of anything, no matter what, is fear. It’s real. It may be overblown, and it may be unfounded. But to the person feeling it, fear is very real. And, make no mistake. There’s nothing wrong with a healthy fear of tornadoes. Fear of flying insects, on the other hand, can be a little amusing. And fear of snakes just means you have at least two functioning brain cells.

It’s said that the easiest way to overcome fear is to face it head-on. Okay, I’ve faced snakes and I screamed like a little girl. I have little doubt I’d do the same today. Facing down your fears takes desire and commitment, and when it comes to snakes, those two are not part of the equation. Still, I can at least admit my fear is a little silly. Apparently, so can my granddaughter.

Fear can be a healthy thing and, to the extent that it doesn’t interfere with the life you want to live, it doesn’t really hurt a thing. But all too often, all that stands between you and your dreams is fear … fear of risk, fear of the unknown, fear of people, fear of failure, maybe even fear of success. Yes, that last one is real. Much more real than we’d care to admit.

Because success, no matter how we’ve visualized it, means stepping into the unknown. It means living a life that’s different than what you’ve known until now. That change may be subtle or drastic, and you may never know until you get there. So, the real question is, are you ready to face the change, or would you rather just keep doing what you’ve always done?

Sometimes, it takes a five-alarm wakeup call to get us moving. I’m willing to bet thousands of people in Tennessee ran into their basement Monday night without even checking for spiders because something else brought out an even greater fear. It’s in those moments that we completely set aside previous fears for a more important objective.

What’s holding you back from your dreams? Fear of people? Fear of opinions? Fear of trying something new? Well, then find something you fear more – like never reaching your goals or living your dreams. Let that be the wakeup call that drives you past your other fears. More often than not, your fears can be overcome. You just have to decide which ones are most important.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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