I listen to NPR in the mornings on my way to work. It helps me keep up on how my ultra-liberal friends are thinking, plus it’s my only access to news outside the U.S. on a regular basis. It’s important we make ourselves aware of all sides of the conversations taking place.
On a recent ride in I was introduced to an NPR produced podcast called “10 Things That Scare Me” which is a podcast about our biggest fears. The interview struck me with the idea that I’m not sure what my biggest fears are because my brain subconsciously helps me not think of them!
I thought a good experiment would be to try and list ten things that scare me, with how I rationalize these fears. Here’s what I came up with in random order:
- Bees – My wife laughs at me about this. There’s an actual video of me she took of me freaking out about a bee chasing me. There’s no logical reason that I don’t like bees. Oh, wait, yeah there is, bee stings hurt!
- Heights – Let me preface this by saying I’ve jumped off the Stratosphere in Vegas and I’ve done many Zipline adventures. I love roller coasters. But have me climb a ladder and walk on the roof of my house and my legs are shaking like crazy! I think the difference is all about safety harnesses. I don’t mind heights if I’m safe, I mind heights when I could fall and die.
- Horror Movies – I don’t go to them, I don’t watch them, you can’t make me. Again, completely stupid I know, but yeah, I’m out!
- Something Bad Happening to my Wife, kids, or dog. I think I spend too much time thinking about this, but not half as much as my wife, but it’s still a fear. Probably will always be
- Not being able to pay my bills. This might seem irrational to many people. I’m a successful person. It comes from childhood and being raised by a single mom, who was trying to launch a business, and many times being at stores where they wouldn’t allow her to write a check because she had ‘bounced’ so many. And we definitely didn’t have any cash! Taking food back to the shelves of a store because you can’t afford it doesn’t leave you. That walk, with the employees staring at you feels pretty bad.
- Not knowing the right answer. For most of my life, in almost any situation, I’ve felt like I’ve had ‘the’ answer. School, work, life, love, okay, way less in love, but most things! So, I’m fearful of not having the right answer that will solve the problem. Turns out, some problems don’t have answers, or at least not a ‘right’ answer.
- Dying unexpectedly. I have this notion that I’ll die with some warning. I’m planning on it. There’s really only one time in life when you can truly tell people what you think, and I do not want to miss out on that time! We see random death every day, and it’s hard for me to understand it.
- Embarrassing people who are important to me. To know me is to know anything might come out of my mouth. Mostly that’s been a great trait over my life. Every once in a while, not so much. I truly care about my family and friends, and if I say or do something that embarrasses them, it truly impacts me deeply. Just not enough, apparently, to change my personality!
- Access to guns. Guns don’t scare me. I grew up around guns. I’ve shot guns. Hunted. Shot skeet. Etc. The access that mentally unstable people have to guns scares me because of fear #4 above. Guns are too readily available in our society and I can only pray and hope for the safety of those I care for.
- Failing my Mom’s company. For those who don’t know, I run the company my mother started and ran quite successfully for decades. 2nd generation family businesses have an extreme failure rate. I work and stress every day to not be a statistic. So, call me and do work with me! Help me conquer this fear!
So, what do you think? It feels pretty good to get your fears out there in the open. To look them in the eye. To introduce them to the world. They are definitely more scary when they are locked in my head!
What fears do you have that you have admitted? Hit me in the comments and let’s do this cleanse together!
Hey Tim, great post & share. Here are a few of my fears:
1) Drowning – I don’t know how to swim and I’ve dreamt about this before. I have contingency plans in my mind that I hope to never have to use. As a result, I don’t get in pools and I stay very close to the shore when I’m at the beach.
2) Losing Control – this fear is mainly related to driving as that is one activity that brings me a lot of anxiety, especially if I’m in an unfamiliar area. I own a car & drive out of pure necessity & will quickly get on a bus or train if those choices are comparably efficient.
3) Being crushed by debt – I hope to own a home one day & travel and I often fear that those things will not happen b/c of debt. I am currently working toward rebuilding my credit & eliminating my debt and it can sometimes feel overwhelming & exhausting.
I’m quite sure I have others but these are the main ones.
You reminded me of a story. I have three boys and when we only had the two youngest I noticed they seemed intimidated by dogs. Both my wife and I grew up with dogs and loved them. So, we went out and got them a puppy. I see adults who are fearful of dogs and it crushes me because I know that’s a real fear, and I didn’t want my kids to grow up with that fear. They all love dogs now.
Point to my story? Go take swimming lessons! You can do it. You can conquer that fear! So many things that we learn as kids and if we don’t we are still fearful of as adults, and I know it’s much harder as adults to conquer them, but you can do it!
Something happening to my husband or kids would definitely be number one.
I also hate scary movies. The news is scary enough, I don’t need to go looking for scary things!
I’m not sure I’ve rationalized these as much as I’ve identified them. Couldn’t come up with another six, but these four are pretty soul crushing:
1) Being Homeless
2) Something happening to my nieces – don’t have kids, but whether its being bullied in school or facing a major medical procedure, I’d trade places instantly.
3) Being Stuck – the general Claustrophobia (which happened later in life) or just being stuck in a bad situation. I need to see an escape route of some kind.
4) Not having a purpose – the feeling of being useless, not having anything to offer, especially as a job seeker.