The following is the planned introduction to a chapter in the manuscript of the new book I’m working on. The tentative title to the book is “A. C. E. Your Way to a Better Life.” The book is expected to be released late fall of 2020.
Chapter 5 Introduction
Fear can paralyze you on and off the playing field. One context of fear is a feeling of anxiety concerning the outcome of something (Siri search). We all have fearful experiences, some through sport, and some in other areas of our life. I remember one fearful experience I had as a young boy at about 8 years old.
I was on the high dive at a swimming pool, trying to get up enough nerve to jump off. Jumping off the low dive was easy. I had done that many times. But psychologically, the high dive put me in a different stratosphere. As I looked down at the water, it seemed so far away. The fear factor kept me on the diving board debating whether to jump or retreat to safer ground. My dad saw my trepidation and said, “Go ahead and jump. I guarantee you will be okay.” I went ahead and jumped into the water. Sure enough, I was pain-free (no belly-flop or landing on my back), and relieved. Wow! Guaranteed success. There was no need for me to take out a “risk-free” insurance policy on having a jump-in-the-pool accident.
That turned out to be one of the last guarantees of that kind. In competitive sports and in most areas of your life, there are no guarantees. There is uncertainty and doubt in which we live, work, and play. In situations where there is uncertainty, people can experience confidence, doubt, fear, and many other emotions.
Let’s take a look at some different activities as it relates to fear. If you are out flying a kite, it’s unlikely you will experience fear. It’s a recreational activity just for fun. There’s a reason little kids start softball or baseball by playing T-Ball. It’s a great introduction to the sport where they don’t keep score, everyone bats, and the treat tastes great after the “game.” This is a smart way to introduce kids to the skills of the game and have lots of fun. There are times I wish we could keep life that way beyond being a youngster. However, as a teenager, and more so as an adult, we have to develop a mature response to fear. It’s forced upon us as we take on more responsibility in life. Some of us may struggle with fear of failure, fear of acceptance from others, fear from acceptance of self (self-esteem), or fear of death. Get in touch with your fears and then take strides to deal with them.
When the outcome matters or when there is inherent danger in a situation, you might also have a fear response. My hope is this upcoming chapter will give you some reflection points on how you can better manage fear. A few quick suggestions would be to look at a situation as a challenge instead of as a threat. Ask yourself, “Are you afraid of heights?” I was literally afraid of heights on the diving board. Learn to adjust to the new altitude in your life, even when you have mixed feelings and no guarantees.