Have you ever heard someone talking about an experience such as sky diving or read about one of those people that sails around the world by themselves? Do you ever think “They’re crazy! I would never do that!” Why is it that we often shy away from things that scare us? We know that if we were to something frightful, we would feel alive and pretty much all around amazing once we made it to the other side. So why do we hold ourselves back?
Personally, I am deathly scared of a few things such as public speaking, falling from heights, and roller coasters. When I say deathly scared, I mean I had to take public speaking in college about 4 times. No joke! It held be back from graduating on more than one occasion. I just couldn’t do it. Those judging eyes were going to crucify me for drawing a blank or stuttering a word.
But one day I realized there was no reason not to do it. I was going to do it because what I was wanting to do was much larger than a stupid public speaking class. I wanted to graduate and feel that accomplishment and not be the guy that never graduated because I was afraid of doing a speech or 2. No, I faced my fear. My heart was pounding, hands so sweaty I could barely keep a grip on anything, but once I gave my speech and sat down I was awash with a wave of exhilaration. I found that even though I was stressed and literally on the verge of needing some new underwear, I did it, I felt great, and it got easier each time after.
Have I told you that I’m scared of falling from heights? I am. Seriously scared. It’s not the height itself, but that fact that I might fall and have to bear witness my death as I fell to the earth at terminal velocity (125 mph). There is no way, not in a million years I would ever sky dive…..except that one time I did. A friend was going sky diving for his bachelor party and not wanting to be a party pooper I went along. I can’t say that I wasn’t scared, because I was. Its not really the same as giving a speech because with sky diving, you are actually looking death in the face, jumping out of an air plane at 10,000 feet in the air and hoping that some cloth saves you. Honestly, I was perfectly fine until I stepped into the harness, but talking yourself up only does so much. I boarded the plane and started thinking of every reason not to do it, but there was no way I was going to pay $200 for a 20 minute plane ride around the air field.
When the time came, I stepped out onto the ledge and my tandem jumper pushed me. “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH” and then the parachute deployed and caught us. I can confirm that my underwear stayed clean, however I may or may not have lost the pop tarts I ate for breakfast at a few thousand feet in the air. Once we landed, I made a bee line to the water hose and paper towels, followed by a trip to the gift shop. I was pumped and had an amazing story to tell. The experience is truly something I will always remember.
Am I still scared? Hell yes! Would I do it again? Perhaps. The point is, I did it and felt great that I did too, once I cleaned myself up.
Nobody is ever proud to say they were comfortable on the cough, doing a binge weekend on Netflix. They’d rather tell you about the time they wrestled a bear or climbed Mt Everest. So again, why do we hold ourselves back from doing things we are scared of when we know that once its over, we’ll feel amazing and truly alive? I’m not sure, but I do know I need to go find a roller coaster…