I had a conversation with a young man at the pool this morning. He was seeking some advice on how to swim longer distances, and shared that the best he has ever done 500 metres, but that he was not sure he could do it again.
That fear stops us from achieving what we are truly capable of is well documented. Less often however do we talk about the signs, the behaviours, the evidence that it is in fact such fear that is getting in the way. That is because fear is most frequently disguised as a harmless and often quite logical reason.
- I am not cut out for this.
- I don’t have the bone structure to run like that.
- Every time I try it goes wrong.
Beneath phrases like these are apprehensions far scarier than the most ghoulish Halloween disguise. And beneath that disguise is a simple monster, one that is common to most people: OUR fear of other people’s opinion.
It comes wrapped in more complex fears, like public speaking, or fear of failure. But ultimately it comes down how we want to be seen, and since all of us live with some inconsistencies and slip-ups of integrity, we are very weary of anything that will give away our weakness.
Most of us believe that it takes courage to be exposed for who we truly are. The reality is actually the opposite: most of our closer friends have a pretty good idea of who we truly are, and they also know the lengths we go to in order to hide some of our perceived weaknesses.
What takes courage is not exposing your true self to others, but to expose it to yourself.
You have things that somewhere deep inside you wish you could do, but it sits wrapped up in the conviction that it is not possible for you.
Here are three reasons why it is virtually certainly possible for you, three thoughts that you can summon to expose, catch or chase away the monster that stops you:
- Its been done successfully before – by people who you think less of!
- It will not kill you, infect you or cause you to break out in an incurable rash.
- You live in a world of great fortune and privileges (because you can read this!), and therefore you have not reached your risk limits yet. In fact you are nowhere near them.
You and I know these are absolutely true for you. So go ahead and do the thing that scares you the most first. You now its is safe to do so.
I left my new friend at the pool with some ideas how he could break 600 metres within a few sessions. I will find out soon if he succeeds, I do hope he does, because I know he can swim 1000. Only he knows if he has the courage to endure some fatigue.