There is a warm breeze in the air that intensifies as my knees bend back and forth on a park swing. My bare feet flex as the swing moves upwards and I close my eyes to capture the mental picture of the clouds from a higher vantage point.
My friend swinging to my right asks if I can feel gravity’s pull on my face as the swing rocks back. I appear confused by his question, so he advices me to keep my face still as the swing pumps back and forth. I then immediately feel this strange droop that makes my smile turn to a frown without any change in my emotion.
Our mutual friend sits beside us still on the third swing. He chooses to refrain from swinging because it makes him nauseous. I suffer a similar effect from the swinging motion but to me the benefits outweigh the risk.
What is it that determines the risk-takers from the worriers? Is it something we are born with or perhaps something that can be changed through time and experience?
I used to know a man, who would test his fairly severe peanut allergy from time to time. Depending on his mood, he would try to test his immunity to nuts, which commonly resulted in an unpleasant reaction. This mood most likely would strike when he was out to eat and wanted to order something from the menu that went against what his body could tolerate.
His mellow nature was refreshing compared to the others at the table who so quickly would try to convince him not to do anything stupid. The company surrounding him would nervously anticipate the result whereas this man would sit awaiting his food in such a content state. Being completely unaware of what the future would hold and noticeable fine with that fact.
Unfortunately I do not remember how the story ended but I do know he lived to tell it. However, I am not interested in his medical state following the taste test, but rather what made him so willing to adventure into this particular unknown. Why is it that some people plan for the worst and others only look to the worst, if and when it happens?
I like to visualize a meter in our minds. On one side is anxiety and the other is tranquility. If we are to start off as those more prone to anxious thoughts and feelings, we can begin to push this meter towards the tranquil side by pushing our anxiety levels.
When one is to step out of their comfort zone and conquer a fear or anxiety, a new layer of confidence is gained. Through every new experience, a new layer is added. In turn this anxious person is never truly gone but rather disguised as a tranquil type.
As I approach my trip, I know full well that I am the master of disguise when it comes to fear of the unknown but I still have to hush the internal faulting voices that play. To do so, I remind myself that nothing magical happens when fear is our guide, so I must take a deep breath and let it all go. Life is all about faking it until we make it, just as one would fake that they don’t have a food allergy when they actually do. Perhaps not just like that, but you get the point.
I’ll leave you with this thought. If you were to be trapped in an elevator with one other person, who would you want it to be, and why? It may be useful to try and adopt some qualities from the person you chose. Wouldn’t we all like to be the person who is able to remain level headed?
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