Sunday, March 2, 2014

Were You Scared Today?

We have all been scared before. The adrenaline flowing is through our veins. The heart rat is skyrocketing. We can feel our pulse about pounding out of our skin. Our muscles tighten.  Our mind is paralyzed with decisions to made. What is going to happen next? Should I do it or not? Can I do it or not? Fear. You can see and hear it in people. People can see it and feel it when it hits you. We are scared and fear is staring us right in the face.

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”

― Eleanor Roosevelt

I came across the quote above a few weeks ago and it has made me think about what this means for me but also what it may mean for people across the world. All this quote asks for is for us to do one thing that scares us every day. It doesn't say two, five, or ten things that scare us, just one. Doing something that scares us often stops us in our tracks because we don't know how to do it or we don't know the end result before we do it.  This results in people often reverting back to where the so called waters were calm and knew what was going to happen next because it is comfortable.  On the other hand, others attack the fear head on with enthusiasm and a risk taking mentality.

Why do many avoid being scared?  Could it be because it sparks such an intense emotional feeling in our body that we don't want to feel it again?  Could it be that when we were last scared, things didn't go as we wanted them to?  Usually when we are scared, the survival mechanism of "fight or flight" kicks in to get us through this feeling.  We accept the challenge or we flee the threat.  Eleanor Roosevelt is asking us to accept the challenge of being scared one time each day so we experience this feeling.  One time a day of taking a risk.  One time stepping out of our comfort zone.  One time of pushing our emotions to the limit.  Letting our mind and body do something that holds us back.  Facing our fears show ourselves that we can do it.  Through this process, we learn more about ourselves and what we are really capable of doing everyday.  We all know what it feels like when we actually conquer one of our fears.  It is like we are on top of the world exploding with confidence.  

Fear isn't a one size fits all emotion.  What scares one person doesn't always scare another person.   Do any of these scare you?  Do they scare a colleague or student you know?

  • Failure
  • Horror/Thriller movies
  • Setting personal or professional goals
  • Skydiving
  • Not knowing all of the answers
  • Teaching students or fellow adults
  • Trying a new lesson
  • Applying for college
  • Taking tests
  • Getting out of bed
  • Going through the front door at school
  • Going home
  • Swimming in a pool or ocean
  • Flying on a plane
  • Leading others
  • Talking to parents
  • Trusting others
  • Speaking in front of group
  • Cooking for others
  • Pets or animals
  • Meeting someone for the first time
  • Financial health
  • Confrontation
  • Getting feedback from others
  • Using technology in the classroom
  • Creating relationships with colleagues
  • Starting a new job
  • Heights
  • Going to jail
  • Going to the dentist
  • Amusement rides (Tower of Terror for me)
  • Eating and exercise
I could keep going on and on. Fears surround us daily. This is where we have to know ourselves but also know others.  We have to seek to understand ourselves and others in times of uncertainty and fear.  How will people respond in times of stress?  Will it be panic?  Will it be withdrawal?  Will it be anger?  Are they nervous?  Are they intimidated?  Are they excited? Do they have confidence?  When we observe these actions from people, know that others are looking at you too to see how we respond to something that may scare us.  

I won't be addressing this one anytime soon.
Can we use fear or being scared as a benefit to make us better at what we do professionally or personally?  Can we use it as a way to learn and continue to push ourselves past our comfort zone as a teacher or administrator?  Can we address our fear and find out for ourselves that is acceptable to be scared or get to the point in which we can remove it as something that holds us back?  Some things are best to leave as fears and make sure we don't do, but others are out their lingering in front of us saying, "Come on, let's do this!" We just have to believe in ourselves.

How can we help people believe that being scared can be seen from a different positive perspective? How can we encourage others to do things that keep them from doing great things?  

We owe it to ourselves to be do one thing a day that scares us that has the potential to make us better than we were yesterday.  We need to be able to look in the mirror and say, "I am going to be scared today." At the end of that same day, we should be able to look in that same mirror and able to say, "yes' to the question, "Were you scared today?"

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