I grew up in the country, working and playing on farms. There’s scarcely anything more adventurous for a kid than the things he can find to do on a large dairy farm. Some of it was permitted. A lot of it was not and we got yelled at from time to time. But it was great fun.
When you are young, you don’t always use your head. One of the things we did was to jump out of hay mows and walk on really high beams above cattle, mangers and bales of hay and straw.
The key to doing these things—which were quite scary for a boy—was simply doing it. If you sat at the edge of the mow or straddled a beam and thought about it, your courage would flag and you wouldn’t take the chance. (A victory for brains; a defeat for derring-do.)
In 1988, a book appeared with the provocative title Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway.
Jack Canfield has referred to this book and the principle it highlights. I’ve adopted the idea with good results.
We all face fears and anxieties over different things. For some it’s flying. For others, public speaking. Most of us shy away from difficult conversations, whether in sales or conflict resolution. The key is to own the fact that you feel the emotion of fear but decide to do the thing you fear anyway. And then do it. Fear is, after all, a feeling. It may have validity. I have a good friend, a career Army guy who’s jumped out of a lot of planes. There is real fear launching out of a C-130. Good sense for a paratrooper is to make sure his parachute has been properly prepared.
Most of us will not be leaping out of moving aircraft or tackling pythons. But we can all grow by feeling it. Then doing it. It’s really simple.