Things I Wonder: Why Am I Afraid?

All day long I pick up the phone and call people who (a) don’t know me, (b) probably don’t want to talk to me, or (c) will be rude to me. And if I make 10 phone calls, 9 will end in disappointment. But that 1 good call …thrilling. Inspiring. It so far outweighs the other 9 calls that I think, “wow, what a rush …I’ll make 10 more calls right now!”

But only after I quick grab a coffee. And quick stop into my co-workers office to chat. And only after I return a few emails. And then, well, I’ll make those next 10 calls tomorrow.

Why I am afraid?

It’s not real fear. It’s not the fear you’d feel if a bear was chasing you through the woods. It’s not the fear you’d feel if your house was on fire and you couldn’t find one of your children.

In fact, I shouldn’t even call it “fear”, now that I think about it. A better way to describe it is “mildly uncomfortable.” But you know what? Before I pick up the phone, make a call, get ignored, thrown into voicemail, hung-up on, or someone tells me “no” or “not interested”, I’m a good guy. After I hang up the phone, I’m still a good guy. Before the call, my life is good. After the call, my life is good.

Why am I afraid?

The other night, I watched Jarhead. It freaked me out. It made me feel like a pretty big pansy, actually. Oh, boo, hoo, hoo …I make phone calls and sometimes people hang up on me. I try to sell stuff and sometimes people say, “no.” I need to get myself a copy of Jarhead and whenever I feel too uncomfortable, I’ll pop it in and remind myself for 200+ years, a buncha men have fought, died, and come back home injured or messed up in the head so I can sit around making phone calls all day, and the worst thing that might happen to me is that I’ll hear someone tell me “no” or hang-up rudely.

Why am I afraid?

For almost two years, I’ve been playing the “poor me” card about not being able to run because of my Bronchiactisis, but the truth is, I wasn’t doing anything. I wasn’t running. I wasn’t walking briskly. I wasn’t swimming. I wasn’t doing jumping jacks or sit-ups. Because of my lungs? It’s the excuse I used, but truthfully, I had no idea if running or heavy exercise would hurt me or not. Sitting and doing nothing was easy and ensured I wouldn’t feel “uncomfortable.”

Is that what stops all of us? I’ve read it countless places that “avoiding pain” is a stronger motivator than “finding joy” or “experiencing pleasure.”

In my life I’ve had moments of bravery, but never sustained. It’s time to put it all together. Write that book (even if it sucks when I’m done and people who read it tell me so …guess what …I’ll have written a book …and for sure, a half-dozen people will like it and be proud of me). Run those 5Ks (even if I do end up hurting my lungs again, maybe it will be a chance to have doctors look again and fix it for good, this time). Pick up that phone (knowing the person might hang up, but for goodness sake, just tell them what I’ve got and how awesome it is and show them how excited I am about it).

Do things. Are you afraid? Don’t be.

3 Comments on “Things I Wonder: Why Am I Afraid?

  1. First off, watched Jarhead many years ago and was not a fan, didn’t get it, not a strong story.
    Second, I for one and very proud of you for getting back into exercising and finding what works for you now rather then sitting and saying you can’t! I will run a 5K with you when you are ready.

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