~Taking a new step, uttering a new word is what people fear most~ Benjamin Disraeli
Standing on Luna Island, I watched people marvel at nature’s grandeur and power. Some pondered the thousands of gallons of water racing over Niagara Falls each second. Some photographed each other from every possible angle, making sure they included views of the falls in each photo. Most huddled in groups to share their observations of the spectacle.
One exception was a family I had noticed earlier in the day enjoying Niagara Park. The father, daughter and son all stood together by the rail watching the water cascade over the edge from rapids to falls. The mother stood back about twenty feet by herself. No amount of coaxing drew her nearer the rail. Her daughter went to her in an attempt to draw her closer. The mother protested that there was too much mist by the railing. I stood by the rail a few moments earlier and felt a little mist but was not soaked by any means. I wondered whether the mother was afraid to get closer to the falls and was afraid to say so.
Our fears often prevent us from doing what we might enjoy and even what we need to do. We imagine the worst and remain trapped in our fear. Some thinkers point out that fear keeps us from acting rashly and keeps our actions in balance. Others decry our fear which keeps us from discovering new truths about ourselves and our world. I think of all the explorers before Columbus who feared they would sail off the edge of the earth if they ventured beyond the horizon.
What can we do about our fears? The first step is to know what they are. We can’t do much about them if we don’t admit they are part of us. The second step is to seek understanding of what troubles us. Where would our lives be if we stay paralyzed by the phrase, “What if…”
Knowledge and understanding help us overcome our fears and break the bonds which keep us from reaching our potential. We become like children who eventually look under the bed or in the closet to find no monsters lurking there.
But we are not done yet. Knowing logically that there is nothing to fear, we still don’t know what will happen when we take a calculated risk and move beyond our fears. We don’t have to jump in immediately with both feet but can approach a new situation with baby steps if we want to. Some people prefer to take the plunge immediately upon entering a pool, lake or ocean and others start by splashing in the water and gradually becoming accustomed to it. What’s your choice?
Life Lab Lessons
- What are your main fears?
- What do they keep you from doing?
- Do you know where and when you acquired these fears?
- What can you do to overcome them?
- What will your life be like when you do?