I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to watch it yet, but I’ve watched Will Smith’s brief description of his confrontation with fear, while skydiving in Dubai, a total of five times now. First time I bumped in to it was on Instagram, scrolling through my feed, I paused to play the short clip, hearing him describe how bliss is on the other side of fear (while he stood on an imaginary ledge). How leaping past your fears will help you realise that they’re only standing between you and the best life you can live.
Before bumping in to this video I was already subscribed to a fearless discourse. The argument that says, facing a fear is as simple as saying, “I will not be afraid of A, so I will be able to do A”.
Up until two weeks ago I would have said the only thing I was afraid of (besides God) was almosts. Coming close to where I want to be in life, that I can almost touch it, then falling short. I’ll admit I am afraid of much more. Uncertainty is one. It’s scary when you have a choice to make but you have no idea how things will play out. You’re just following “the voice”.
I imagined Will Smith standing at the open door of that aircraft, its his turn to jump, his fear has only multiplied, hearts racing. Him thinking is this where I turn back, try again another time? At least I made it this far. Note, it’s always at that point that you second guess whether moving forward is truly the best decision. Well he went ahead and leaped off that aircraft, but I’m sure he was still afraid.
I tried to imagine it because I experienced it. Not skydiving, no. I pushed myself to do something I was too scared to try, until now.
Let me share this briefly.
I’m afraid of going after what I want. Besides the uncertainty factor, part of the problem is that up to this point, everything I did has been tailored to fit the ideals of people in my life — parents, significant others, friends etc. Is it just me?
So when I recently I had to make a choice against one of their ideals, the only thing I was facing was the choice. Anxiety kicked in. I came up with every reason why it made more sense to play it safe as I normally would. But this challenge couldn’t have come at a better time. I was about to turn twenty seven. What happens when I want more?
It took a bit of courage, self-awareness and that I wanted more.
So from this, a few things I learnt on fear.
Rather than trying to minimise how scary a decision is, try inviting fear along for the ride. Treat it as a given, it doesn’t have to mean anything — it’s just a feeling.
Gods intention for us is to never be afraid. The bible says,
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go”
So it does then make sense that He would place the best things in life on the other side of terror. Bliss, your hearts desires, which means freedom too, are all on the other side of your fears. So what about you? When was the last time you were faced with a truly important choice to make?… and were any of them attached to a certain level of risk? Do you want more?
Becoming less afraid requires a daily confrontation with what’s holding you back. You don’t have to confront your fears to leap, leap while you’re afraid.
If you haven’t had a chance to watch the video I’m talking about, here you have it.