Fear. Fear determines what we will or will not do, what we can do, what we can’t, what the capabilities of our core are, and what is holding us back. Fear, rational or irrational, holds us back from embracing new experiences and accomplishing daring adventures.
For the last 15 years I wanted to skydive and free fall. In order to do that, I needed to battle my fear of heights gloves off. I didn’t just suddenly decide one morning that I was going to jump off a plane that day, I needed to practice and build up my courage. Starting with diving boards, moving to rock jumping and then bungee jumping, I eventually did it. I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane and free fell.
Heights still make my knees buckle and a wisp of mingled apprehension sweeps over me, but it no longer incapacitates me nor holds me back.
Winston Churchill and Aristotle both believe that of all our human virtues, courage is the first and enforcing one. Its the one that’s most critical to develop because it guarantees the others. Aristotle asserts “you will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.”
Practicing courage helps tear down the boundaries of fear and build confidence; to keep advancing through hurdles and discomforts you can reach your ultimate goal and gain control of your fear. By building my courageousness through repeated height challenges I was finally able to dominate my fear and embrace heights.
The encouraging thing is that every time you meet a situation, though you may think at the time it is an impossibility and you go through the tortures of the damned, once you have met it and lived through it you find that forever after you are freer than you ever were before. If you can live through that you can live through anything. You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, `I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ The danger lies in refusing to face the fear, in not daring to come to grips with it. If you fail anywhere along the line, it will take away your confidence. You must make yourself succeed every time. You must do the thing you think you cannot do. — Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn By Living (1960)
Courage is both infectious and inspirational. It gives you a new set of eyes to view the world, gives you freedom, and makes you present to the moment; the smells, the sounds, the feeling in your fingertips. Practicing courage and being able to say “I did it” will foster inner strength which will spill into your life, inspiring happiness and bringing you closer to accomplishing all those life goals. All it takes is a little practice.
Did you know?
Top 10 fears in the world:
1. Arachnophobia aka The fear of spiders
2. Ophidiophobia aka The fear of snakes.
3. Acrophobia aka The fear of heights.
4. Agoraphobia aka The fear of not being able to escape.
5. Cynophobia aka The fear of dogs.
6. Astraphobia aka The fear of thunder and lightening.
7. Trypanophobia aka The fear of needles/injections.
8. Social Phobia aka The fear of crowds, groups, and places.
9. Pteromerhanophobia aka The fear of flying.
10. Mysophobia aka The fear of germs or dirt.