You can do anything if you’re not afraid. – from the movie “Daredevil” (2003)
Well almost anything. Let us remember this is a quote from a movie. And not a very good movie either starring Ben Affleck. Regardless the quote bares further contemplation.
Everyone is afraid of something, unless they are insane. Some are afraid of the dark, some water, some spiders or snakes. Even the most fearless warrior is afraid of something, even if he never shows it. There is a difference between being afraid and appearing afraid. Each has its place. Fear is a normal response to things that are new, unexpected or we have been conditioned to fear. I’ll admit it, I am afraid of spiders. My fear stems from being forced, by my parents, into a spiderweb filled storage crawl space under my childhood home 2-3 times a year. I had to crawl into the 3 foot high, dirt floor space a good 4 feet to reach the chain on the light. There were spiders everywhere. Even though I know where my fear comes from and I can mostly control it, and I understand spiders aren’t usually the bad guys, the fear is still there. You won’t know it if you throw one in my lap, but my pulse will elevate!
Controlling fear is the key to success. When we spar we begin with a fear of being hit, this leads us to flinch and thereby typically lose the match. As we train and gain more self-control we learn to control our fear and thereby our flinch, so we might begin to win a few matches. The fear however is constant as hopefully no one likes to get hit. The fear will lessen but that is because we are masters of the fear instead of the fear mastering us. The path to self-control and controlling your fear starts with an act of sheer will, the decision that you are not going to flinch or run screaming like a girl! (Sorry girls)
There you have it, boil it all down and fear is a decision. Following the Sept 11th attack on the World Trade Centers, many of the people trapped in the buildings chose not to be afraid of what they knew was about to happen. Instead a few of them called loved ones to share a final moment, one such caller was described as calm. I am sure others were consumed by fear, for themselves or their loved ones. None of us can say with honesty or certainty how we would react in a similar situation. We react to fear based on the situation, on our state of mind, on so many factors, but if we train to control our fears beginning in the sparring ring we will be better equip to face and handle our fears when they catch us unaware.
If you are a person of faith I would add fear, like worry, is a lack of faith.