Over a year ago, I had been to Goa, India – one of the best vacation destinations in the country. The month of March had brought with itself a warm sunny day. We visited one of the beaches at 7 in the morning. It was perfect; so perfect that the water made way for us to see the sand below it, the sun slightly up in the sky and the peace, reverberating in our minds. We stood on the shore, amidst the high tide, feeling the waves crashing against us. We knew no fear of the water then.
It was only moments though.
Our adrenaline rush propelled us further into the water, step by step, one laugh, and one little urge to feel the water higher up our bodies. What we didn’t realize, was that high tide can be a killer too, and the current below was washing the sand below our feet.
That’s when a big wave came, and…
It swallowed us. 4 of us, into the deep sea, the currents below us taking us in, while the waves on top growing in size. I did not know swimming, and being the farthest into the sea, I did not see much hope. All I wanted was to run back home to mom, and tell her that she was right to be scared around water. I was scared. Fear had engulfed me.
At that moment, when my feet did not find solid ground, when my inability to swim had me struggling for life, I decided to not let my face go under water. I decided I would fight, no matter what, to keep myself afloat, because my time wasn’t up yet. My parents were waiting for me and I wasn’t ready to give up, at least for their sake. So I struggled – I kept beating on the water with all the might I had, while my friends who knew how to swim, struggled to get me out.
A loud whistle brought back hope..
The lifeguards, in no time, were into the water, handing me floaters and pulling me out like a fish barely alive. I was never more thankful to God when I touched the afternoon, burning sand. All 4 of us were out there, on the shore, water pouring out of our noses, while we were laughing and crying at the same time.
Fear of dying, fear of losing had given me the strength to fight. And eventually, emerge alive.
Why is Fear, feared?
Fear is often credited as a negative emotion. We have advertisements depicting fear in extremely poor light. We think it takes away our power to succeed, maybe keeps us away from achieving our goals.
It is like a blanket – it covers us, keeping us anxious. We hesitate, fearing the outcomes. Waiting for the worst to happen, we fear to lose, we fear to die, we fear to fight. We call people who fear cowards because fear is a bad quality to possess, especially if you dream to go beyond your limits. Fear can snatch everything from you because fear does not let you try.
3 Ways this fear of yours can be your best aide to success
After I was saved from this drowning fiasco, I decided to learn swimming. While I got into the pool, memories came flashing by, but my fear had channeled my determination to learn. Within 15 days, I was at the bottom of a 16 feet swimming pool, looking up at the top, smiling.
1.Allow fear to take over you
The disillusion that you do not (or can’t) feel fear, is the first step you lose. You can’t win a war if you don’t accept that the enemy is on your doorstep and you have to pick your swords. You need to let fear control you, briefly. Your mind has to accept that you are royally screwed and whining about it will do no good. You may need to cry, so do that.
When you accept that you are a goner, your brain starts finding solutions. It is a natural instinct; if you don’t find food in your kitchen, we start looking at e-commerce websites. (Poor analogy, I know). For your brain to find solutions, it can’t stay ignorant. It has to know the situation and fear gets the job done.
Now, no matter what the problem is, your brain has some solutions ready to counter the situation and help you stay afloat.
2. You are not brave, so stop showing off to people
You fear because you are a living creature. But you do stupid things because you are a human.
Showing off to people that you are brave and nothing can get in the way, is a stupidity only we humans are good at. Ever seen a bull showing off to his mates, about how he outwitted the lion? No! They are either hunted, or they escape and learn to stay within their boundaries while protecting their kin.
Due to fear of death.
Showing off is like Morphine; it takes the pain away temporarily, making the patient believe it no longer exists. With time, the pain is back and so is the issue, which has grown to a tantamount level. Fearing is understanding the gravity of the situation and working your way to eliminate the problem.
3. You have two options – Choose wisely
When you fall, you have two options – get up and get going with your life, or stay down and wonder whether you could ever get up again. In simple cases, we choose to get up and get on with our work. Yet, when times demand the best of our will, we refuse to get up, blame it on our fear and wonder all our lives if we could ever do that.
Fear will always give you these two choices. Most people name their lack of will as fear and laziness. That’s the moment where you lose without even fighting.
If you still think there is no difference between the two, here’s something – we don’t give up the idea of making a bad omelet because we fear to cook. We stop because we lack the will to overcome our incompetencies to learn.
What is fear then?
Fear can be the perfect guide for your life, your destiny if you allow it to be. The best parts always lie beyond the fears; as if fear gives you a milestone to cross, to achieve something you thought you couldn’t. It keeps honing you, and if used wisely, one day you will have nothing to fear.
Only then that your mind will explore the depths you couldn’t dream. Ever.