What are you scared of?
If you Google “do not fear” a bunch of Bible verses will pop up, and for good reason: “Do not fear” is stated 365 times in the Bible. That makes a “do not fear” message for each day of the year.
It’s one thing to say “do not fear,” and another to practice it. You just need to face your fears right?
A few years back, I went wakeboarding every weekend with my friends, and we got good. Real good. The jumps and speed just weren’t cutting it anymore. It was time to land a flip. Some of us wouldn’t even attempt it. Can you imagine? Pulling a flip on a wakeboard at 30 mph? I kept thinking guillotine by water, so yeah, I was afraid. Then one day, my buddy David went for it…and he almost landed it. Guess what happened next? All of us started attempting to flip, and it wasn’t too long before we were pulling them off. The first time I landed it, a huge wave of exhilaration hit me. It was like what Henry Ford said:
One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.
Do you know the legend behind the 4-minute mile? I referenced how Roger Bannister broke it in 1954 in a previous article, but once he accomplished the impossible feat that had never been done before, guess what happened two months later? All of a sudden, the impossible became commonplace.
The truth is, facing your fears is not the best way to eliminate them. You’ve probably seen this demonstrated at the pool. The kid is absolutely frightened, and the parents throw him in. Does the kid come up all happy with confidence? Heck no. Sometimes these kids will never get near the water again.
The best way to overcome a phobia is to watch someone else do it first. It’s scientifically supported. Social Learning Theory explains how we learn from watching others.
Bandura’s Social Learning Theory, which is about learning behavior through observing, states, “The more rudimentary form of learning, rooted in direct experience, is largely governed by the rewarding and punishing consequences that follow any given action.” You catch that? He said only learning from personal experience is “rudimentary,” meaning simplistic or dumb. So much for existentialism, eh? The best way to learn is through the wisdom of others, or people who have already gone down the path you are about to embark on.
That’s what Good Guy Swag is all about. When a good guy has success, this site is a platform to share it, and in effect, countless other good guys across the world will achieve monumental feats. So, together, we can say goodbye to the fears that have been holding us back. One guy’s testimony of overcoming fear is another guy’s excuse to crush it in the face.
Now back to the Social Learning Theory. Bandura said Attention, Retention, Reproduction, and Motivation are necessary for effective learning from observation. Here’s my take on these for the everyday good guy overcoming his fears:
If fear and/or hopelessness are holding you back from achieving what you want, pay attention to others who have overcome. Ask them to coffee, go hear them speak, read a book. Pay attention to the detail. There’s hope in the detail because big obstacles are usually overcome one step at a time, not in a single bound like Superman. We use distraction to avoid obstacles, and social media has become a great way not to deal with fears.
Guys are stubborn, and sometimes we have to hear the same information over and over again before we retain it. Read it again, listen to it again, or keep reminder notes. Keep a journal.
Now do it and create what you’ve learned. If you don’t make it the first time or mess up, rinse and repeat. Never give up hope. I saw a quote on my Facebook feed that said, “I never make the same mistake twice. I make it five or six times, just to be sure.”
How bad do you want it? In the case of pulling a back flip on the wakeboard, I really wanted to nail it before our other friends did. I used the motivation from my fear of humiliation to accomplish my personal impossible. What’s your motivation?
Knowing there is someone who walks before you takes the fear out of the game. Watching someone like Danny Way skateboard over the Great Wall of China is inspiring. When someone does something radically impossible, there is confidence in knowing death has been defied. Death has been overcome. Be strong and courageous fellow good guys.