Fear….. is awesome

How to live without fear
Getting past fear
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself

Google search terms and a memorable quote from a guy who got us to the moon. What do they have in common? They are all wrong.

Fear totally rocks. Not the mind-numbing, paralyzing type of fear one would feel in a horrific situation (I’ll let you pick the situation). I’m talking about the fear of the unknown or the fear of failure.

Why is fear good? If we didn’t have a “fear of failure” then failure would be common, easy, simple. In truth – failure is a good thing too, but fearing failure is what drives us to do the work required to get things right. If we didn’t fear standing on the edge of a cliff we’d probably lean way too far over the face where gravity would take over. We wouldn’t get nervous. Our “second sense’ wouldn’t remind us to pay close attention to our surroundings.

It’s not about eliminating fear. It’s about using it to our advantage. I have a certain dread, concern, nee’ fear of doing a CrossFit competition as a solo competitor. As part of a team I have to work hard as hell, but solo means it’s only me out there. No support from teammates. Nobody to pick up the slack if I bonk. That’s a bit scary.

I know that I want to do it because it is scary. It’s a challenge. Conversely, I have absolutely no fear about completing a marathon. I have done them. They are 26.2 miles long. If things go wrong I know that I can always cover the distance. Having a really crappy bike ride at IronMan Canada and then walking the majority of the marathon convinced me of this.

I might not surpass my goal times, but I know I can walk 26.2 miles if it comes down to it. Because of that I have no desire to do another marathon. Please note – this is only my viewpoint based on my athletic history as a runner. At one point I did have concerns about covering 26.2, and for many people it’s a huge goal. Awesome. Go for it. Since I no longer have that specific motivator I am not at all inclined to train hard for a 26.2 mile run.

Some people can motivate themselves to do any task they set their mind to. Congratulations. I wholeheartedly support this approach and wonder if it may actually be healthier.

But I’m not that guy. I need that spark. I need that little voice in my head telling me, “you need to prepare, or you won’t succeed.”

Embrace the fear.

What scares you?

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