What Are You Scared Of? | The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans LLC


Oftentimes, we’re really good at staying in our comfortable bubbles of life, going about our day in a routine fashion. Get up, shower, make coffee, go to work, drink more coffee, go to the gym, have another cup of coffee just to play it safe, make dinner, try to go to bed after having your last cup of coffee at 5 p.m.

Ok maybe that’s just me.

I watched this Ignite talk the other day (below) by Josh Fraser, a young guy who appears confident, but his nerves betray him ever so slightly as he stumbles over some of his words. He talks about fear, and the things that scare us versus the things that we should be afraid of, and it really stayed with me.

There are a lot of scary things in this world, but to live confined within the limits of what scares us is a hindrance of a life worth living. “There’s a disparity between the things we’re scared of and things that are actually dangerous.”

He lays out some of the real dangers that we forget about, “like what happens when kids stay indoors all day, or are brought up to believe happiness can be found in a bag at McDonald’s. We’re scared of the wrong things.”

One of the points the speaker makes struck me, because I’m totally guilty of being afraid of this: I’m afraid of riding my bike on a road with traffic. While I only live 5 miles away from work, I drive because I don’t trust myself not to somehow fall into traffic and I don’t trust other people not to hit me. I might consider it if I were wearing an entire football team’s padding. However, Josh broke it down:

Road accidents only account for 1 percent of deaths, where heart disease kills 1 out of 3 people. Riding 25 miles a week on a bike cuts your chance of heart disease in half. For every year lost due to cycling accidents, 20 are gained from the improved fitness.

Check out the talk:

The overall notion of this talk could be applied to many different areas of our lives. Scared of trying that new Zumba class because of how you might look? Take a deep breath and go for it. Scared of deciding whether or not to take that new job? What’s the worst that could happen? Scared of making a big change in your life? Change can be good – I am a firm believer in the benefits of change.

Everyone is scared of something. Everybody has fears, whether rational or irrational. Confronting them and doing something that’s a big “in your face” moment to combat those fears can make you feel alive, as opposed to just living.

Here are my fears, in no particular order:

  1. Snakes – despite this being my number one fear, I have touched a live Anaconda
  2. Heights – but I plan on skydiving one day
  3. Needles – but I have two good-sized tattoos
  4. Tornadoes – I have never seen one before, but am terrified of them anyway
  5. Public Speaking – I know the best way to get over this is to keep doing it. Being in graduate school, I’ve had to give a lot of presentations, which I’m hoping will help me with this one
  6. Ocean creatures – even I’m not entirely sure what I mean by this one, but Josh makes a good point “twice as many people die each year from vending machines than from shark attacks.” It’s a little helpful, but doesn’t entirely make me feel better.
  7. Failure – maybe not so much a fear, but an anxiety.
  8. Not being good enough – at something or for someone – I don’t have the “well if you don’t like me, then f you” attitude, but it’s a work in progress.

Touching on the idea of being alive versus just living, try and break out of your daily routine, even if it’s just a slight change for one day. We can go through the motions of life without really thinking about it – do something to mix it up! This may take a little bit of effort, but you never know what could come of it.

I want to know one thing that scares you (and maybe even a way you plan to face that fear). And remember, “don’t let your fears get in the way of living your life.”

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