On Sunday afternoon, I had a difficult decision to make: I had to choose between a cup of coffee and a nap. I was looking at the words of my book and realized that I was doing more yawning than reading.
Coffee was made…and consumed.
I had been reading a book about choosing and focusing on a single word for one year and actualizing that word into your life. I thought my word may be courageous, but I was sleepy.
Coffee seeped into the adventurous creases of my brain.
I decided, without checking the weather forecast first, that the time had come for me to bike to River Street – Savannah. That’s about 45 miles of sharing the State Highways with trucks of the Southern persuasion: Pickup and Semi.
If there was a time to be courageous, for me, it was that day. Although all the physical obstacles were rain, wind, cold, traffic, and distance; I was not afraid of them. But I was afraid…of the great “what if” dragon within me. This beast resides in all of us, and it takes many forms.
For me it was the self doubt and fear of failure. (shocker I know)
People at work are expecting me to follow through with what I told them.
what if I don’t do this? What will they think of me?
I could lie I guess…It looks like it may rain anyway.
Or I could just shut up and do it.
I read a quote recently by Abraham Lincoln:
“If I were given 8 hours to chop down a tree, I would spend 6 of them sharpening my ax.”
This is atypical for me. If I have a large task set before me, I spend 6 hours worrying about it, an hour talking myself in and out of it, and the final hour chopping with a dull ax. The task at hand is not the obstacle that’s the hardest to overcome. The greatest challenge is not getting stuck in the whirlpool of three destructive fears.
Drive out the fear of peer judgement–which is really what you think they think of you.
Drive out the fear of self doubt
Drive out the fear of measurement. There is no metric used to measure the bravery required to slay the dragon. It’s large, it breathes fire, but is most easily killed by movement in its direction.
The time for fear driven thinking is over.
(I know I used the word drive, but you can substitute the verb pedal if you want. )
When I get on my bike, I become a man of action and contemplation. Cycling meditative action creates space for contemplation, which in turn, contemplation plans the next action. Cycling provides me the means to be brave, it prepares my body, mind, and soul for the daily dragons that roar at me every day.
I’m not suggesting that everyone go out today and buy a bicycle (actually I am) but I am stating that we could all use a little help moving forward in the face of fear. Because, when you finally look at the dragon in the eye, you’ll just see your own reflection.
We were made to be courageous. Knights in shining armor.