Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What Would You Do?

About two years ago I read a book. It had a section on fear and how to overcome it. It suggested that we ask ourselves the following question as a means of overcoming fear:

"What would you do if you weren't afraid?"

I've since applied this question to many areas of my life, sometimes with rather worrying results. The idea is not that you use the question as a device to help you in driving at 95 mph through Hounslow High St or, for the Sri Lankan crowd, at 5 mph down Duplication Road, those kind of things are just plain stupid. But the idea is that you ask yourself what things you are not doing, or don't do, in your life purely because of the fear factor.

So, if fear is the only thing holding you back, then just do it. In about two years of bunging this question into my everyday activities I've done lots of things I probably wouldn't have done before. It's been a bit about learning that fear is a good thing to have, a nice emotion to feel, but not a reason in itself to prevent me from going ahead and doing stuff.

One of the biggest applications of this for me has been in my day to day dealings with people and in procrastinating. I realised that I would often postpone certain tasks because I was actually afraid of doing them, so now I try to launch into them whenever possible.

A bit of fear is good, it helps to keep us grounded and helps us to avoid stupid mistakes. But, I don't want it to stop me from doing things I actually want to do.

What about you?

What would you do if you weren't afraid?

8 comments:

galleblogger said...

since u asked....
i have lived with fear almost all my life, mostly during activities related to physical exercise/competition/physical challenges. from a young age my parents introduced me to a variety of sports, martial arts (including competitions), rock climbing, etc etc (i wont list them all otherwise it might sound like showing off, but really there are many).
now if you do sports you cant afford fear, there are so many "fearful" situs that arise. you have to maintain control.
fear of falling (skiing, clinmbing, windsurfing, surfing etc), fear of physical pain (getting hit by someone, a ball enything)etc etc
you just HAVE TO overcome it, you come to realise that it's just a waste of time/effort and you can loose out on adrenalin/achievments/new experiences. so sports is the way to go 4 me, it teaches u how to overcome it. i dont recall ever feeling panic or real fear, maybe because of this. and yes a bit of fear is good, keeps you from being foolish and from being in the casualty lists.
p.s. i s....ed my pants yesterday but i flew over that bastard wave! hehehe....!

darwin said...

I'm taking your question literally, so I'd do a lot more dare-devilish things if I wasn't afraid. Two years ago I almost had the chance to sky-dive but I totally chickened out. I don't really regret it now, but sometimes I do wonder what it would have been like...

N said...

probably move straight back to Sri Lanka...though actually on second thought that might go into the stupid category...right now at least...a friend gave me a quote on risk that really influenced me...but fear is a tough enemy to fight for sure...any idea what the book was?

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

galleblogger - I like your approach. I think some fear is good, it just must be overcome.

Darwin - You surprise me, I would have thought you'd be the type to have done a sky dive at the first chance.

N - What was the quote? Sounds interesting. I actually now try to think of fear as a friend, not an enemy. Not a friend that has much influence over me, but I try to accept that it's there sometimes, then ignore it.

I can't rememebr the book but will try to figure it out and will let you know.

darwin said...

I'm too chicken to pierce my ears so I don't wear earings. Is that a good indicator of how chicken I am when it comes to physical pain?:)

sach said...

I would give up university and go to music school.

Anandawardhana said...

Well I can share one thing directly related to blogging... I would blog under my real name...

S said...

If I had proper gonads, I'd quit medschool and take on a less lucrative career path in the third sector. I'd also start my novel/sitcom/stand-up comedy ideas, get the tattoos/piercings I've been planning to get for a while, learn a few languages and go travelling, taking in South & East Africa, SE Asia and Japan on the way.