Tag Archives: fear
We had friends over this past weekend, and we started talking about technology and the impact it’s had on our career, photography and life in general. I was talking about traveling and how much different it is now in regards to ease of communication and staying connected.
When I backpacked around the world, as a solo 19-year-old woman in the early 70’s, I pretty much left most communication with my family and friends behind. In a year’s time, I probably only called home 3 times and it was a lengthy and expensive process, going to a call center and waiting until an operator could put your call through to the other side of the world. And there wasn’t any Internet or email or cells phones and texting. When I left home for that yearlong sabbatical, I was really going out on a limb as far as disconnecting from the world I knew.
I’m always asked, “Were you scared?” I suppose I was afraid at times, when I thought about what I was doing and what could go wrong. But most of the time, I was too much in awe of what I was experiencing. I was very tuned in though, to my surroundings and I quickly developed a sixth sense about people, determining if they were good or bad. Those instincts stay with me to this day and have managed to keep me safe in my travels.
I could not have imagined what the future would bring to my life in terms of technology. The world we live in now is far different than it was some 40 years ago. We are more aware – of other cultures, world politics and global news. You would think that would help in bridging the gap of understanding between different cultures. I think it has in many ways, but we have a long way to go.
Our fears keep most of us from “daring” to do something different, especially if our life seems to be working. Usually, it takes a big change in our lives for us to muster up the courage to face the unknown. And when we do venture outside our norm, we are almost always glad we did and wonder why we had hesitated for so long.
I’ve been lucky. I had parents who encouraged me to take some risks. When I was hesitant about doing something, my dad used to say to me “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” and when I couldn’t come up with any really horrible potential scenario, I’d take the plunge and face my fears.
I wonder, what’s in store for me now? The future hasn’t been written yet and the choices are mine to make. Is it scary? Only if I imagine it that way. The story isn’t over yet.
“Speak a Foreign Language Fluently in 3 Months” was one of the workshops I attended this past weekend at the World Domination Summit. That workshop title probably smacks of a snake oil salesman’s pitch to most of you, and what the heck is a world domination summit anyway? Prior to leaving for this conference, I must say it was kind of tricky explaining to people what it was, but everyone was intrigued by the title.
Essentially, it was a weekend gathering of like-minded people who wanted to live remarkable lives in a conventional world. There were people of all ages, from all over the world and from all sorts of career paths. But we had one thing in common and that was we were open to possibilities and courageous enough to be vulnerable. Wow – that seems like an oxymoron “courageous enough to be vulnerable” but actually it’s not at all. One must be vulnerable in order to love, feel joy, hope, empathy, curiosity, and gratitude or be creative. One must be brave to be vulnerable.
It was a “community” of kindred spirits who were inspirational. Some were living remarkable lives and some had come because they had decided to makes changes in their live-s because they were not happy. One woman I met told me that she felt like she was living the lives of two different people – the person she was at her job and the person she really was – who was dying to get out. She told me that she was inspired by my courage and what I have done in my life and that she will remember me. The truth is I don’t perceive myself as courageous at all and in fact I’m terrified of doing most of the things that I do. I have a friend who made a life changing decision to move to another country where he didn’t have a job, nor spoke the language – now that took courage. I’m sure it had to be terrifying – I don’t think I could have done it. No doubt he was helped by friends and it became easier over time as he became part of the “community”.
That is what a community should be – people who connect in ways that help others realize their dreams. It can come from sharing thoughts on forums and blogs online but the real magic happens when they come together in a very “real” way.
You’re probably wondering about the workshop I took “Speak a Foreign Language Fluently in 3 Months”. It was given by a likable and very entertaining Irishman, Benny Lewis, who has managed to learn several languages. He said don’t learn a language from a book and don’t focus on the grammar. He said the best way is to be confident and “just” start speaking the language you want to learn with someone who speaks it. And these days you don’t need to go to Greece to learn Greek – one can find someone who speaks Greek on Couchsurfing.org or ITalkI.com and start having skype conversations with them. So I’m going to take his advice and depart from my Rosetta Stone and start skyping with someone in Spanish. That’s a scary thought to me – trying to talk to someone in a language I don’t know and humiliating myself in the process – but it’s a fear I’m willing to face.
Speaker Chris Brogan made a comment that resonated with me when he said:“the opposite of fear is not courage or bravery. The opposite of fear is surrender and giving up”. I will keep that in mind when I’m afraid to tackle the unknown – that to be fearful is being vulnerable and one has to experience that to be able to find joy.