“Fear plays an interesting role in our lives. How dare we let it motivate us? How dare we let it
into our decision-making, into our livelihoods, into our relationships? It’s funny, isn’t it, we take
a day a year to dress up in costume and celebrate fear” – Robert California, The Office
I have a love/hate relationship with fear. It’s fun to be scared with friends, or maybe even alone in your well-lit living room watching scary movies where you can suspend your disbelief of the undead, werewolves, and those who dislike camp counselors. What I do not like about fear is that it can and does prohibit us from taking steps towards greatness, stopping us from befriending another human because they appear different than ourselves, or it facilitates great suffering.
I have a couple of phobias myself: heights and swinging things. A lot of people have a fear of heights, but swinging things? What’s that about? Well, it all started with a playground injury where I was hit in the head with a swing set seat, you know, the old rigid rubber/metal ones. After that injury, I would not go on the swings if there was someone else swinging, for fear of their seat hitting me again. If I was swinging alone and someone else got on the second swing, I’d leave the area immediately. I allowed this fear to govern my actions instead of the other way around. I became fear’s servant, in a manner of speaking. This happened a handful of times before I overcame and mastered this fear. I still have these fears, but I control how I react to them now.
Now let’s consider for a moment those courageous humans who decide they want to go into outer space and work inside the International Space Station; that is truly scary. The thought of being rocketed into space is intense, not to mention the physical demands it places upon the human body. These astronauts dock with the I.S.S. and go about their mission to learn as much as possible before having to return to Earth. These people are living in a fragile environment that is cradled in the cold and unforgiving embrace of the vacuum of space; that’s nightmare fuel, folks. But guess what? These brave souls do it anyway, and they do it for the betterment of our species.
Can you imagine how much we, Human Beings, would not know if some of our more intelligent and courageous members allowed fear or adversity to stop them from discovery? Would we still have the great pieces of music, art, or technology that we take for granted today? Would you, dear reader, have graduated high school or college? Would you have asked that special someone out on a date? Would you have made a new lifelong friend whose skin pigmentation is different, speaks a different language, come from a different county, or think Kirk is better than Picard? (We all know the answer to that last question.)
So, what more is there to say about fear? Plenty, but I will leave you with this final question.
What will you do when fear stands in your path?
Commander Claude Covington
Executive Officer USS Tiburon