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The Reality of Fear

Posted By: Randy GageNovember 22, 2010

I was at mile marker ninety-something, somewhere between Key Largo and Islamorada, on US One.  Traffic was slowing up.  On the next big bend it became obvious why.

Eight cars were bunched up behind a large fuel truck, which was going about five under the limit.  I waited for my chance, and hit the accelerator.  I passed all nine vehicles in one swoop, and happened a glance down at the speedometer:  127 MPH!

Sometimes you forget what 500+ horsepower will do.  I hit the brakes and slowed down to speed.  It was just twilight, and the view was spectacular.   This drive is one of the most beautiful you can make, anywhere in the world.

About an hour later, it was getting dark, and there was a thunderstorm off to the left.   Every few minutes, a stunning bolt of lightning would light up the sky.  This cosmic light show kept me entertained till I was past Marathon Key.  I had been traveling on a bridge for a while when I noticed it wasn’t ending.

At the next flash of lightning I looked to my right, and saw the old seven-mile bridge.  This meant I was on the new seven-mile bridge.  Which was kind of interesting, when you think about it…

I have always had a fear of heights, and can barely swim.  So crossing that bridge always makes me nervous.  But this time I had been in such a wonderful, meditative state between the scenery and the lightning, I hadn’t noticed the bridge until I had crossed at least five miles of it.

I didn’t remember to get scared.  So what does that tell you about my fear?

Is fear real?  Did not knowing I was on the bridge make it less dangerous?  Would knowing I was about to cross it have made the trip across any different?

What about your fears?  Do you have irrational fears that you would be better off without?  If you had a situation like this, would it help you let go of some of those fears?  Think about it.
-RG

29 comments on “The Reality of Fear”

  1. Randy:

    I loved this piece about fear. Fear is what keeps people from becoming successful like you and many others.

    Fear of rejection (not the rejection itself) paralyzes people from reaching out and being more.

    I like the fear acronym: FEAR - False Expectations Appearing Real ... It is so very true.

    People need to get out of their comfort zone and past the fear and truly live their lives.

    What a wonderful world it would be.

    Fanfully yours,
    Joanna :o)

  2. Hi Randy,

    I've noted recently how most of my fears are remembered.

    For example I meditate 5-10 minutes on the hour. When I pull back all types of fears rush through my mind: not enough time networking, I can't afford to stop to meditate, this is a waste of time, what will people think of me (if I'm in the library).....and on and on. As I sit the fears disappear but only with continued, persistent meditating do I forget to fear. When my mind is somewhere else - namely, nowhere - I don't reach into the memory bank to pluck out a fear.

    Have a powerful day!

    Ryan

  3. Wonderful post....well, except about the excessive speed......and then again,,,thinking about THAT, what's the difference between *pushing* the speed 5-10 miles OVER the limit or way excessive? Rules are rules and doing something over the rules just because one can.... Enough on that. Next, the regularly fight fears, always have. My grandson tells me all the time to *chill* don't worry, relax...and my biggest hangup in my business is that....fear. Fear of success...fear of using the phone, fear of *them* not accepting a fat old grandma who's trying to pretend she knows what she's doing. Then I find when I DO push through that fear, it's really ok. When I make myself make that phone call, when I have to give my 30 seconds, or when I make connections at networking events, and they DO accept a fat old grandma who sometimes DOES know what she's doing. Fear IS in our minds and I am working hard on getting it in perspective and instead of remembering the fear, remembering the successes! Thanks,
    Judy

  4. This is a great post.

    I have heard so many acronyms for the word fear, but the one that makes most sense to me (Like Joanna) is False Expectaions Appearing Real.

    It seems that it isn't the actual 'thing' we fear the most (bridge, spider, asking for a sale) it's actually the 'what if' that makes us afraid.

    What if the bridge collapses? What if the spider bites me? What if the prospect says 'no'? And in most cases, the 'what if' never happens - but in many cases, the possibility that it might prevents someone from taking action. How sad is it that we would give our potential freedom and success away because of something that will likely never happen?

    I think the 'state' you were in was that of bliss and gratitude - and if we can master focussing our minds on pursuing that what brings us joy, the occassional bridge or spider will hardly get our attention!

    K

  5. Fear is always future based. We project ourselves into the future, perceive it going badly, capture the feeling and bring it back to the present. How insane is that! And when we project into the future, we tend to leave God out. That's why we're fearful. A Course in Miracles teaches that the feeling of fear is a sure sign that you're relying on your own strength. And if you're relying on your own strength, you have every right to feel fearful. So are you leaving God out?

  6. Randy
    I have been on that drive many times. I lives in Key west some time ago. Worked at Lands End Marina and the Half Shell Raw Bar. Love that place.

    Anyway, I had the same thought's my first time flying to Hawaii. I'm not totally afraid to fly but it does freak me out a bit when I'm in the air for a long flight. My flight to Hawaii was the first flight I was on that I sat in the middle row of seats. It was more like a bus ride. With out the ability to look out the window I did not think about being 30,000 feet over the ocean. That evening I was thinking about the feeling of fear as I thought about my trip. Why was the fear not in my mind? I was on a all expenses payed trip with my family for reaching a rank with my company. As I sat on the balcony of the Grand Wailea Resort thinking about all the fears I faced and all the people that said they would be there with us that let the fear win.

    People that say fear in not real WRONG it is real. It is real in me and in you. But the chose is yours to let it control you or for you to control it.

    Not noticing you are on the bridge or me not noticing I was in the air did not make our feel not real. It just shows us that the fear is mental. And if it is a feeling. It can be replaced with ACTION.

    Sorry for the long reply.

    Have a Blessed day

    Vincent

  7. Randy, I came across this quote about ten years ago, and it has always stayed with me (though I don't recall the author of it). It's..."Feel the fear, and do it anyway."

    I believe it means that we name our fear, acknowledge that we are fearful, and then choose to proceed THROUGH IT."

    It's been my experience that the reality is almost always less than what we feared it would be. However, every once in a while something IS as worthy of the fear as we imagined. That's why fear itself is real, and remains so. But the pushing through fear is a more satisfying reality.

  8. Randy,

    You mentioned before about your fear of heights. Let me share my stories about fear.

    Story # 1 – When I was age 1 to 2, I had a cruel and insane babysitter who took me several times to the balcony to make me stop crying. She bounced me in the air beyond the balcony. This was seen by one neighbor and she told my mom. Result: an almost killed babysitter and a severe high anxiety.

    Story # 2 – I was thought to not fight at school at not circumstances. I was so afraid that everyone in school would bit me, take my lunch or money and I would not react, not even cry. Can you imagine what this means to a young boy?

    My uncle saw me being weak in a kite dispute. I could not react to a punch. He took me to Jiu-Jitsu classes. Two weeks latter, and since then, I never lost a real fight. Did I learn how to fight? Truly not, I learn how to overcome fear.

    During 10 years, I practiced and compete in Paragliding. It is a kind of parachute, but it is a glider that you take off from high mountains like hang-glider. Years latter, I quit my corporate executive position and started an ultra light business.

    I dove with whales, sharks, piranhas and alligators. I did a lot of things that would freeze to death most of people. And I am here intact with my almost 50 years old to share these experiences.

    There is only one way to surpass fear: improve self confidence. And to improve self confidence, you do not need pray, hope, faith. You need knowledge. And an important part of this knowledge is: I can do it.

  9. Both faith and fear are imagined -
    fear is imagination undirected and allowed to run riot, faith is imagination focussed and harnessed. This is the choice we face in all situations to a greater or lesser degree: will we "image" in faith or fear - that will determine everything from that point on.
    As humans we do not react by instinct, we are blessed with the ability to choose our reaction.
    Thanks, Randy.

  10. Randy, this reminds me of the story about the man in the dark room who was afraid of the snake in the corner. The lights come on just long enough for him to see it's really a coil of rope and even though it looks the same in the dark it's lost it's hold. He's no longer afraid because he knows it's just a rope.
    ~Karma

  11. It is not so much the horsepower but the torque, yet you probably already knew that. I did that drive a few years ago on x-mas holiday and it was real memorable. You do not see clear water like that too often. Yes, I do have irrational fears and they are holding me back. Thanks for the post.

  12. RG,
    I am 6'2" tall and afraid of heights. This was most exemplified when I caught myself "tip toeing" on top of the World Trade Center some 12 years ago.

    We did an exercise where we looked around the room and then pretended we were looking out the window of the space shuttle back at earth. This was in The 4 T's of Prosperity Class. We kept closing our eyes until the lie felt real. It was amazing how we could feel the g force sitting in class and the coldness of the glass looking out.

    Thanks,
    Happy Thanksgiving.
    Jim

  13. I was not affraid of anything as a kid, it came when i became an adult. I really have to work hard with different fears, they are one and the same but in different situations. Fear of rejection is one

  14. Is fear real? Well, that's a highly philosophical question. I would say that fear, or anything else for that matter, is as real as we make it. It is something that we have created in our imagination - a distortion of past events. When we feel fear, we're giving our power to that creative distortion. Randy, not knowing that you were on the bridge made is less dangerous to you, because you were less likely to attract the manifestation of your fear. Not knowing that you were even crossing the bridge did make a difference to your experience, and that's the most important part here. Randy, have you ever thought of doing a tandem sky dive to get over your fear of heights?

    As far as my own irrational fears are concerned, I don't have any of the more obvious ones, like fears of snakes, spiders, heights, public speaking etc. Although I haven't pinned anything down in particular, I'd say I probably have fears relating to relationships, like commitment. I'll give it some further thought.

      1. Frequently, I do things like these that go against my fears (superstitions). The key is to do them intelligently. There is a difference between taking a risk and being risky or a stunt man versus a daredevil.

      2. If you still have the fear, then why not try sky diving? I reckon it would have to be the ultimate fear breaker. Sounds like you tried the others but they didn't really do the job.

  15. ...........paralyzing fear is very dangerous, but other kinds of fears can help draw attention to and we have to choose what to do, fear is in our genes, but how to use it and mastered it's up to us.......

    Have nice day Wencel

  16. Isn't fear a counselor??? Doesn't fear send us a message? Is fear telling us to be prepared or that we are incompetent at something??? I think fear can also be expressing cynicism, skepticism, and specially superstition!

  17. The only fears we are born with are the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. All other fears are learned (perhaps we should even say taught by parents, teachers etc!!).

    I have always found that when I confronted a fear it rapidly disappeared.

  18. Hi Randy,

    Everybody is feared of something.

    In my life, I am always force to encounter my fear because of my career.

    Then I realize, the only way to overcome my fear is to face them again and again until I finally make it!

    Ben

  19. I have one for sure and that is of spiders. I can't sleep until it is DEAD! hehe

    Great story it was interesting for me to read your post since I have passed over that 7 mile bridge many of times. I live at MM1 in Key West so all of your highlights in your travels I have past numerous times.

    These 90 miles can be very grueling when you get behind people that aren't even going the speed limit. I will be making this trip in just a few weeks to see you in West Palm Beach. Cheers.

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  • 29 comments on “The Reality of Fear”

    1. Randy:

      I loved this piece about fear. Fear is what keeps people from becoming successful like you and many others.

      Fear of rejection (not the rejection itself) paralyzes people from reaching out and being more.

      I like the fear acronym: FEAR - False Expectations Appearing Real ... It is so very true.

      People need to get out of their comfort zone and past the fear and truly live their lives.

      What a wonderful world it would be.

      Fanfully yours,
      Joanna :o)

    2. Hi Randy,

      I've noted recently how most of my fears are remembered.

      For example I meditate 5-10 minutes on the hour. When I pull back all types of fears rush through my mind: not enough time networking, I can't afford to stop to meditate, this is a waste of time, what will people think of me (if I'm in the library).....and on and on. As I sit the fears disappear but only with continued, persistent meditating do I forget to fear. When my mind is somewhere else - namely, nowhere - I don't reach into the memory bank to pluck out a fear.

      Have a powerful day!

      Ryan

    3. Wonderful post....well, except about the excessive speed......and then again,,,thinking about THAT, what's the difference between *pushing* the speed 5-10 miles OVER the limit or way excessive? Rules are rules and doing something over the rules just because one can.... Enough on that. Next, the regularly fight fears, always have. My grandson tells me all the time to *chill* don't worry, relax...and my biggest hangup in my business is that....fear. Fear of success...fear of using the phone, fear of *them* not accepting a fat old grandma who's trying to pretend she knows what she's doing. Then I find when I DO push through that fear, it's really ok. When I make myself make that phone call, when I have to give my 30 seconds, or when I make connections at networking events, and they DO accept a fat old grandma who sometimes DOES know what she's doing. Fear IS in our minds and I am working hard on getting it in perspective and instead of remembering the fear, remembering the successes! Thanks,
      Judy

    4. This is a great post.

      I have heard so many acronyms for the word fear, but the one that makes most sense to me (Like Joanna) is False Expectaions Appearing Real.

      It seems that it isn't the actual 'thing' we fear the most (bridge, spider, asking for a sale) it's actually the 'what if' that makes us afraid.

      What if the bridge collapses? What if the spider bites me? What if the prospect says 'no'? And in most cases, the 'what if' never happens - but in many cases, the possibility that it might prevents someone from taking action. How sad is it that we would give our potential freedom and success away because of something that will likely never happen?

      I think the 'state' you were in was that of bliss and gratitude - and if we can master focussing our minds on pursuing that what brings us joy, the occassional bridge or spider will hardly get our attention!

      K

    5. Fear is always future based. We project ourselves into the future, perceive it going badly, capture the feeling and bring it back to the present. How insane is that! And when we project into the future, we tend to leave God out. That's why we're fearful. A Course in Miracles teaches that the feeling of fear is a sure sign that you're relying on your own strength. And if you're relying on your own strength, you have every right to feel fearful. So are you leaving God out?

    6. Randy
      I have been on that drive many times. I lives in Key west some time ago. Worked at Lands End Marina and the Half Shell Raw Bar. Love that place.

      Anyway, I had the same thought's my first time flying to Hawaii. I'm not totally afraid to fly but it does freak me out a bit when I'm in the air for a long flight. My flight to Hawaii was the first flight I was on that I sat in the middle row of seats. It was more like a bus ride. With out the ability to look out the window I did not think about being 30,000 feet over the ocean. That evening I was thinking about the feeling of fear as I thought about my trip. Why was the fear not in my mind? I was on a all expenses payed trip with my family for reaching a rank with my company. As I sat on the balcony of the Grand Wailea Resort thinking about all the fears I faced and all the people that said they would be there with us that let the fear win.

      People that say fear in not real WRONG it is real. It is real in me and in you. But the chose is yours to let it control you or for you to control it.

      Not noticing you are on the bridge or me not noticing I was in the air did not make our feel not real. It just shows us that the fear is mental. And if it is a feeling. It can be replaced with ACTION.

      Sorry for the long reply.

      Have a Blessed day

      Vincent

    7. Randy, I came across this quote about ten years ago, and it has always stayed with me (though I don't recall the author of it). It's..."Feel the fear, and do it anyway."

      I believe it means that we name our fear, acknowledge that we are fearful, and then choose to proceed THROUGH IT."

      It's been my experience that the reality is almost always less than what we feared it would be. However, every once in a while something IS as worthy of the fear as we imagined. That's why fear itself is real, and remains so. But the pushing through fear is a more satisfying reality.

    8. Randy,

      You mentioned before about your fear of heights. Let me share my stories about fear.

      Story # 1 – When I was age 1 to 2, I had a cruel and insane babysitter who took me several times to the balcony to make me stop crying. She bounced me in the air beyond the balcony. This was seen by one neighbor and she told my mom. Result: an almost killed babysitter and a severe high anxiety.

      Story # 2 – I was thought to not fight at school at not circumstances. I was so afraid that everyone in school would bit me, take my lunch or money and I would not react, not even cry. Can you imagine what this means to a young boy?

      My uncle saw me being weak in a kite dispute. I could not react to a punch. He took me to Jiu-Jitsu classes. Two weeks latter, and since then, I never lost a real fight. Did I learn how to fight? Truly not, I learn how to overcome fear.

      During 10 years, I practiced and compete in Paragliding. It is a kind of parachute, but it is a glider that you take off from high mountains like hang-glider. Years latter, I quit my corporate executive position and started an ultra light business.

      I dove with whales, sharks, piranhas and alligators. I did a lot of things that would freeze to death most of people. And I am here intact with my almost 50 years old to share these experiences.

      There is only one way to surpass fear: improve self confidence. And to improve self confidence, you do not need pray, hope, faith. You need knowledge. And an important part of this knowledge is: I can do it.

    9. Both faith and fear are imagined -
      fear is imagination undirected and allowed to run riot, faith is imagination focussed and harnessed. This is the choice we face in all situations to a greater or lesser degree: will we "image" in faith or fear - that will determine everything from that point on.
      As humans we do not react by instinct, we are blessed with the ability to choose our reaction.
      Thanks, Randy.

    10. Randy, this reminds me of the story about the man in the dark room who was afraid of the snake in the corner. The lights come on just long enough for him to see it's really a coil of rope and even though it looks the same in the dark it's lost it's hold. He's no longer afraid because he knows it's just a rope.
      ~Karma

    11. It is not so much the horsepower but the torque, yet you probably already knew that. I did that drive a few years ago on x-mas holiday and it was real memorable. You do not see clear water like that too often. Yes, I do have irrational fears and they are holding me back. Thanks for the post.

    12. RG,
      I am 6'2" tall and afraid of heights. This was most exemplified when I caught myself "tip toeing" on top of the World Trade Center some 12 years ago.

      We did an exercise where we looked around the room and then pretended we were looking out the window of the space shuttle back at earth. This was in The 4 T's of Prosperity Class. We kept closing our eyes until the lie felt real. It was amazing how we could feel the g force sitting in class and the coldness of the glass looking out.

      Thanks,
      Happy Thanksgiving.
      Jim

    13. I was not affraid of anything as a kid, it came when i became an adult. I really have to work hard with different fears, they are one and the same but in different situations. Fear of rejection is one

    14. Is fear real? Well, that's a highly philosophical question. I would say that fear, or anything else for that matter, is as real as we make it. It is something that we have created in our imagination - a distortion of past events. When we feel fear, we're giving our power to that creative distortion. Randy, not knowing that you were on the bridge made is less dangerous to you, because you were less likely to attract the manifestation of your fear. Not knowing that you were even crossing the bridge did make a difference to your experience, and that's the most important part here. Randy, have you ever thought of doing a tandem sky dive to get over your fear of heights?

      As far as my own irrational fears are concerned, I don't have any of the more obvious ones, like fears of snakes, spiders, heights, public speaking etc. Although I haven't pinned anything down in particular, I'd say I probably have fears relating to relationships, like commitment. I'll give it some further thought.

        1. Frequently, I do things like these that go against my fears (superstitions). The key is to do them intelligently. There is a difference between taking a risk and being risky or a stunt man versus a daredevil.

        2. If you still have the fear, then why not try sky diving? I reckon it would have to be the ultimate fear breaker. Sounds like you tried the others but they didn't really do the job.

    15. ...........paralyzing fear is very dangerous, but other kinds of fears can help draw attention to and we have to choose what to do, fear is in our genes, but how to use it and mastered it's up to us.......

      Have nice day Wencel

    16. Isn't fear a counselor??? Doesn't fear send us a message? Is fear telling us to be prepared or that we are incompetent at something??? I think fear can also be expressing cynicism, skepticism, and specially superstition!

    17. The only fears we are born with are the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. All other fears are learned (perhaps we should even say taught by parents, teachers etc!!).

      I have always found that when I confronted a fear it rapidly disappeared.

    18. Hi Randy,

      Everybody is feared of something.

      In my life, I am always force to encounter my fear because of my career.

      Then I realize, the only way to overcome my fear is to face them again and again until I finally make it!

      Ben

    19. I have one for sure and that is of spiders. I can't sleep until it is DEAD! hehe

      Great story it was interesting for me to read your post since I have passed over that 7 mile bridge many of times. I live at MM1 in Key West so all of your highlights in your travels I have past numerous times.

      These 90 miles can be very grueling when you get behind people that aren't even going the speed limit. I will be making this trip in just a few weeks to see you in West Palm Beach. Cheers.

    Leave a Reply to Edward Devero Cancel reply

    Your email address will not be published.

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