Fear

Looks like another hiatus took place. I blame the summer heat! However, I was able to finally try surfing for the first time. It was intense, and I cannot wait to get out there again.

After some ground instruction, me and the instructor, Jason, paddled to the outside (further out then where the waves were hitting). After gaining my balance, Jason sent me to the inside (where the waves are breaking), and reminded me that because the waves were breaking quite literally on the shore, if I was going to bail out, I must remember to bail out falling backwards.

So in true “fight the man” spirit, my first wall was face first into the beach. Fortunately, the one thing my reflexes learned from those several months of Aikido was ROLL WHEN LANDING. Standing up with a boy full sand, I experienced what it was like to have your entire sinus system packed with sand. Jason paddled yelling to me if I was ok, and all I could respond was, “That was so AWESOME!”

The rest of the class continued with me trying over and over to stand on waves, and wiping out in… creative, ways.

Looking back on the experience, I started wondering, why, while snowboarding/climbing, I sometimes psych myself out with fear of falling/getting hurt, whereas during the surfing class, I had no problem wiping out on 10 foot+ size waves.

I realized something. Since I was unable to keep my balance when looking behind me, I had to trust the instructor when he told me to paddle out and get ready for a ride. I had no idea that behind me were huge waves, ones I wouldn’t imagine trying out for my first time. However, because I had no idea what was coming, I tried without fear, and focused on the lessons I was given.

I’ve written a lot about fear, it’s a big topic. But here is yet another revelation. In order for fear to be properly dealt with, you have to define it first. If you fear everything, you can’t do anything about it. As you drill down through your fear, using self meditation, exploration, trial and error, etc, you begin to find its root causes. As these causes are identified, you can begin to tackle each one.

Ask yourself, what are you afraid of, and why. Surprisingly, things are typically easier than how you have envisioned them in your mind. In order to begin taking control of your destiny, you need to begin to understand what it really takes to accomplish your goals. Many times, the mountains we stand in front of, are simply shadows casted from our insecurities about the road ahead.

A great example is the story of Genentech. Genentech had humble beginnings, as a group of geneticists aiming to synthesize insulin for human use. The initial start up cost, $4 million dollars…

It took a venture capitalist named Robert Swanson to realize that, by renting facilities, labs, equipment, and even outsourcing much of the labor, they could bring the initial expenditures to $250,000. You read it right, that’s 1/16th of the proposed cost. The result? In 2009 Genentech sold for $46.8 billion. The founders of Genentech had put a huge mountain in their paths, one that no one would fund.

The point of the story is this, when you have an objective in your sights, you need to be creative and find ways to achieve them. Money can be raised, people can be hired, knees can be broken(?).

At the end of the day, what’s the worst that can happen?

“We fear things in proportion to our ignorance of them.”

– Christian Nestell Bovee

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