Without fear, there's no bravery.
SimonSays #18 - Why we should all be chasing "good fear" 🚀
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The other day I saw this video of two MMA fighters talking and shaking hands after a fight. You should watch the video, you can find it below, and it's only 15 seconds long.
I have to admit; I thought it was cool. I'm sure the fighter had prepared his quote and was ready to deliver it in a movie-like way. But I loved this idea that without fear, there's no bravery. I'm sure I had read it somewhere in some similar form in the past, but I must have forgotten it. Anyways it made me think.
When I started grad school a year ago, I joined the grad rugby team and re-started playing rugby. The week before my first games, I would get anxious. The worst part was probably the 30 minutes before a game, where the anxiety turned into some type of fear. While being nervous before a game applies to all sports, I feel this can be even more pronounced in contact sports, as you are putting your body on the line. Seeing your opponent warm up and knowing that you'll be going hard at each other soon adds to that tension and stress. I like to compare stepping onto a rugby pitch to stepping into an arena, which results in teasing from my friends and family.
This feeling generally lasts until my first contact in a game. Not only does the first hit relieve that fear, but it also signals that it's game on and that now it's time to play and win.
So, right before the game starts, I tell myself, "Why am I doing this?" and that this is my last game. But as soon as I get the first hit and start playing, I start enjoying it, and I understand why I do this in the first place. Interestingly enough, I would ask myself similar questions when I went to Model United Nations conferences, wondering what I was doing here but then having a good time and coming back the following year.
“Good Fear “ is common.
It seems that this is very common. I've talked to many players about this, and they all tell me they have some apprehension going into the game. Doing some research for this article, I realized that this is very common among professional athletes. In this CNN article, former Fiji 7s coach Ben Ryan says that he's seen players "too nervous to take the field" or self-sabotage their performance because they were incapable of coping with pressure. Playing more games, it seems that this feeling has decreased a bit. However, I still get it. Therefore, seeing that video in which a super badass MMA fighter admits he was scared of fighting the other guy brought relief.
I'm confident this is precisely what skydivers and other extreme athletes chase. This good fear, this adrenaline rush, tells them that they're taking risks, that their body is uncomfortable, and it just makes the reward much more enjoyable.
And it means you’re stepping outside of your comfort zone.
It means you're stepping outside of your comfort zone. It's easy to refuse to be put in new or potentially awkward situations. I appreciate the fighter talking about "good fear" because I think this good fear has a lot of value. Take a while to think about it. When was the last time you had this good fear feeling? If you aren't doing something that scares you somehow, then maybe you are staying too much in your comfort zone and doing what is easiest rather than what might be best.
I don't want to go on too much about this. But I think that the next time you have some apprehension, you can feel the adrenaline rushing in your stomach and your body almost telling you not to do what you are about to do or go where you are about to go. Ask yourself, is this good fear? And remember that without fear, there's no bravery.
I hope you enjoyed reading this! If you have any suggestions or feedback or would like to share personal stories, feel free to leave a comment below or contact me on Twitter @the_simonpastor 🙂
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