Fear is often fueled by time and thought…that is, the more time you have to think about something, the more fear that can build up within you (sometimes to a point that paralyzes you).
When I was a kid we would sometimes go to the university pool where there was a high dive. While there, I would often decide that I was going to dive off the high dive…but once I climbed the ladder and looked out over the whole pool, my palms would start to sweat and I would be filled with anxiety and second thoughts.
Sometimes I would immediately chicken out and just jump feet first instead (feet first never bothered me – it was the idea of hitting my head or snapping my neck that I was really worried about in diving). Other times, I would stay up there for quite awhile thinking over what I was going to do…visualizing.
The problem was, while I was up there I didn’t always use the time to visualize success…in fact often I was visualizing just the opposite and how it would feel and what it would mean…and then I would be filled with even more anxiety.
Throughout all of that, my urge to ‘dive’ remained…actually it grew stronger. Because I was aware of my anxiety and fear, I wanted…I needed…to beat it.
This constant battle in my head as I stood, drying off, high above the pool often aggravated my friends who were waiting to jump off the high dive themselves (or that just wanted to play some other game in the pool instead)…and sometimes that would also add to my anxiety (hurry, hurry) as well as my motivation (don’t chicken out in front of your friends).
Eventually I would jump…sometimes it would be a dive (I would win) sometimes it would be a feet-first jump (fear would win)…and then we’d move on to something else.
I’ve reflected on that experience a lot throughout my life…and I still find myself frequently atop the metaphorical high dive…battling my anxiety as I approach the edge of the board…I know I won’t win them all…but one thing is always certain, one way or another, I always jump.
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Kevin has a day job as CTO of Veritonic and is spending nights & weekends hacking on Share Game Tape. You can also check out some of his open source code on GitHub or connect with him on Twitter @falicon or via email at kevin at falicon.com.
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