By Robert Bauer JD
Have you ever been asked that question: what are you afraid of? I have – many times over the past 5 decades. There were times I was so foolish that I would respond, “I am not afraid of anything”. But as time moves on in my life, I find that I am afraid of many things.
As a father, I am afraid that I might fail my children, be a disappointment to them. My entire life I have lived a life that was set to be an example to them. When they became adults I wanted them to look back on their own lives and say they were proud to call me their dad.
I was afraid that I would not be able to support them financially, provide them with the basic creature comforts and maybe a little more. I wanted to be able to protect them from harm and keep them from danger. I was afraid that I would not be able to do that.
I was afraid that I would not be there if they needed me. If they had their heart broken, I wanted to be a shoulder to lean on or an ear to bend. Or be there when they achieved great success. I wanted to be there for them.
As a son, I was afraid of the day that my parents would leave this world. Over 30 years ago my father passed away from a mean and incipit disease. My mother passed away 3 years ago. There is not a day that I do not sit and think about them. I am now afraid that I might forget them in my old age.
As a person, I am afraid of a lot of things: new beginnings, new surroundings, and new circumstances. The fear of the unknown gives us great excitement and a lot of stress.
The dictionary tells us that if we use the word “unknown” as an adjective we are describing something unfamiliar, strange, and unsure. Similarly, the word “fear” as an adjective means something that fills us with dread, fright and apprehension.
Using both words together describes things we dread that are not familiar to us. It is always easier to live in the comfortable zone than to stretch out our wings and get challenged with new surroundings and new experiences. We are afraid we will fail, so rather than try we live in our own bubble. We program ourselves to stay where it is comfortable, yet we are miserable living on “Better Get Along Street”.
Are you in a dead end job? Why not explore new challenges and new opportunities? I was recently told by a friend of mine that there are three types of people in this world; 1. Museums keepers – those who hold onto the past; 2. Settlers – those who accept things as they are; and 3. Pioneers – those who think of the future and move toward new horizons. Where do you fall?
I know many people that live in the past. They never see themselves accomplishing anything other than their high school days, where they were the big athlete. They can never seem to get past that time frame in their lives. We all know someone like that.
Then there are the people that are content with how things are. Maybe they are trying to get their career established or raise their young family. Those people may need to settle for a while. But there are many others who are in a dead end job, living pay check to pay check and living in a dead relationship. They are not happy, but do not want to make any changes. It is the old comfortable shoe concept; the old shoe has been worn out for years and has holes in it. A new pair means breaking them in, getting blisters, experiencing pain and discomfort. The old pair is better than no pair.
Then there are those that want to go places, do things, and help others. They explore opportunities and live life to its full extent. These people take advantage of opportunities that will help them excel. These people touch others every day of their lives. These people are the ones that are making impacts in the world today. They are not settling into an old pair of shoes and could go barefooted if they needed to, in order to achieve their goals.
Look at your life. Are you where you want to be? Have you settled for not achieving your dreams? When you face your final day in this world, will you say to yourself: “I did what I was sent here to do”.
Or, will you have regrets that will carry you on into the next world?
Today a special friend sent her daughter into a new experience, a new challenge, a life changing experience, “the unknown”. This young lady was facing all the apprehensions that fear has to offer. However, as an observer I have seen a young woman that is at the top of her game; she’s a leader amongst her peers. She has been blessed with wisdom beyond her years. And in spite of her many accomplishments, she still was facing all the challenges that the unknown will bring us.
I want to say this to her, as the purpose of me writing this was not only for me and many like me, but for her as well. You will face successes and failures in life. You will overcome the greatest challenges that life will deal you. You may even fail miserably. But putting forth the effort makes you the winner.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don’t have the strength.”
We are the authors of our destiny. We can choose to live in the past and never experience new and awesome things. We can just settle for the mediocre and never see the horizons. Or you (we) can spread our wings and fly, touching others as we go.
And to Emily take this famous Teddy Roosevelt quote with you:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
To all of us, Stay Safe.