Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Year in Review 1: Spitting in the Eye of Fear

Happy New Year to everyone. I got back from Guam with Nava and Arman on the 31st. Our family got a call from Boni, inviting us to her house for the New Year. Arman and Nava were too tired, so Mara stayed home with them, and I went up with the younger two. It was nice to finally meet Tony and the rest of Boni's family. We left around 9, but it was the most we've done on a New Year's Eve in a long time. Thanks, Boni for a great time, great food, and great company.

The New Year and my birthday come around the same time, so it’s always a doubly opportune time for me to review the year. This has been one of the most important years in my life, because it signaled major shifts for me on many levels. I suppose the changes have been incubating for the last year or two, but this year they seem to have hatched, and I’ve set out on a new course of sorts. Over the next few days I’ll write a bit about some of the big shifts of the year.

At various times in my life, I’ve designated what I considered to be, “life’s most important skill.” At one point, it was “discipline.” At another it was “the ability to effectively set and pursue goals.” This past year, I came to realize that one of life’s most important skills is to face your own fears. What scares you? Face it. Stare it down. Spit in its eye. The rush, the sense of accomplishment, the internal strength that comes from it is amazing. It has nothing to do with the “success” or “failure” of what you undertake. The success is in simply facing your fear. In my case, if I fail, all the better, because one of my biggest fears has always been the fear of failure. This realization has been huge for me – realizing that my own fears limit me more than any external forces or any intrinsic abilities. This is what was so invigorating about taking my guitar down to the acoustic idol contest at GIG. I knew I sucked. I knew I would flop. But the glee was in leaning into the fear and conquering it. And amazingly, with each new fear that I face, the next one seems trivial. Now that we’re putting together the stand-up comedy night, I’m not in the least bit scared. When I think about what scares me the most right now, I realize it has to do with having a specific conversation I don’t want to have. That conversation for me is like engaging with the dark side of the Force. I know I'll have to face it.

So, this is one of the big lessons of this year. Be daring when it comes to my own fear. Lean into it. Seek out my fears, and one by one, free myself from them. Find out what scares you to death, and then do it. It’s one of the most fun things (and scariest things) I’ve every undertaken.


Boni said...

I was really glad you came, and glad for a nice quiet evening with silly string and poppers. It's always easier to sit and relax when you aren't hosting, so I hope we get a chance for our families to really fellowship one day.

Saipan Kat said...

Brad took me mountain biking the other day and I walked every steep hill and rocky downhill. I knew I had to do at least one to get rid of that 'not again' look on Brad's face. So on a rocky downhill trail to cowtown I rode it...I felt like I was flying. Not "WOW I'm flying" but "Oh God, oh God Im flying..." So does that count as "facing your fear" even though im sure I wouldnt do it again?

Marianas Eye said...

Definitely, Boni.

Kat, it sounds like you did it to me!

Sean said...

I admire you more every day, David.