Have you ever thought about asking yourself this question?
There’s a lot that we are all scared of, but what does that really mean?
By definition, being scared is being fearful or frightened. It’s not knowing what’s going to happen. It’s not being in control.
Being in control is the interesting part. As astronaut Chris Hadfield explains: as he went temporarily blind when being suspended in space outside the shuttle, he should have been scared, but he wasn’t.
How can that be? It seems impossible to be in such an extreme situation and not be scared. But, it was the extent to which Chris underwent intensive training prior to his space expedition that prepared him for such fearful situations. Chris was trained in every possible scenario. Prepared for everything that could go right, and everything that could go wrong.
“The danger is entirely different than the fear.” – Chris Hadfield
There is a lesson to be learned from this. If you’re well prepared for anything, you are less likely to be scared and are more capable of handling yourself when things don’t go to plan. Chris uses a great analogy of being fearful of spiders in his TED talk shown below.
“[by finding a way] to concur your fear, you see the beauty that otherwise would have never happened.” – Chris Hadfield
Think about the time you had to present in front of your peers. How would you feel if you hadn’t prepared a presentation at all? Nervous and scared, I bet. But, if you had prepared your presentation and practiced it to the point in which you were so comfortable with the content – well, I bet you would feel less scared and more confident to tackle not just the presentation, but any random question that gets thrown at you.
Being scared isn’t a great feeling, but if you can find a way to concur your fear and prepare yourself for whatever may happen – even if it’s just embracing the fear – you’ll appreciate the experience. You’ll learn from the experience and it’ll make you a stronger person.
Perhaps easier said than done, but I hope next time I or you get scared a different perspective you can rethink how it should make you feel.
PS: If you’re trying to overcome your fear and need a bit more help than Chris’ words of wisdom, check out some of these books on Amazon. I personally recommend the first one, Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm.