In Spite of Your Fear or Because of Your Fear
I’m a sucker for cards like these. There is something appealing to me about the ability to go for it, even if it means being uncomfortable and risking. It is impressive to me when people move ahead in spite of their fear.
Fear can be a tricky thing, though. When I was in college at PUC I went out to Lake Berryessa with some friends one afternoon and we ended up doing some cliff jumping. It was high (a couple of us went out to the cliff the next day with a 100’ tape and measured the jump at close to 80’) and I didn’t much like heights. I jumped, however, and lived to tell about it. Thinking about it later I thought about how it might have looked like a brave thing for us to do, but at least in my case I knew different. I jumped, not so much because I overcame the fear, but because I was so afraid of what people would think of me if I didn’t jump. It was kind of sad as I thought about it.
“We don’t want to be imprisoned by our fear, but we don’t want to be goaded into jumping off of cliffs either.”
We don’t want to be imprisoned by our fear, but we don’t want to be goaded into jumping off of cliffs either. Choice theory describes our physiological need for safety and survival, and like the rest of our basic needs it varies in strength with each of us. Some people have a very low safety need, while others have a very high need for safety. The safety and survival need exerts a pressure on us to be met, but we each have to decide how to interpret that pressure and how to live our lives in response to those urgings.
This is one area where it is common for our quality world pictures to be in conflict. As I stood on top of the cliff, pondering whether or not I would jump, I was in huge conflict. A part of my quality world didn’t even want to go to the edge of the cliff and look over the side, never mind actually jump off of it. Yet another part of my quality world was pointing out to me how it would look if I didn’t jump. The word ‘Wuss’ came to mind.
More often, though, we are not standing on the edge of real cliffs, but instead are atop cliffs of our own imagining. We allow our safety need to hold more control than it deserves and keep us from doing things that deep down inside we really want to do, behaviors and activities that would be good for us and happiness-producing. We worry about what someone will think of us when it really doesn’t matter.
It boils down to who we really are and what we really want to do. If I want to experience the rush of jumping off of a cliff for the freedom and fun of it, then I should do it. However, if I am prompted to jump off of a cliff because I am worried and fearful of what others think if I don’t, then I should take a second look at who I am and what I want. If a person wants to apply for a better job because he/she believes they are ready for the challenge and wants to go for it, then fine. But if the person is applying for a higher position because of a fear thing and a status thing, then some personal reflection is in order. Choice theory can really help with that kind of reflection.
I suspect that people with a moderate to high survival/safety need are the ones that mostly buy the cards with sayings like “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” We hate it when our fear holds us back. Just keep in mind – am I wanting to do this thing in spite of my fear or because of my fear?
A copy of the Glasser biography, Champion of Choice, can make an excellent Christmas gift. It’s easy to get a copy of the book through Amazon at –
For a signed copy of the biography, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org