Overcoming Fears: One Fried Egg at a Time

This morning, something amazing happened. I made a nice, hot breakfast for myself.

While that may not seem very amazing to you, for me it was kind of a big deal. My host parents are away this weekend, and I have the house all to myself. While this has largely meant peace and quiet, it has also been the cause of some anxiety for me. You see, my host family has a gas stove. I grew up in a house with an electric range – the idea of having gas in the house immediately triggers images of fatal leaks and explosions.

Even more terrifying to me is that you have to light this gas stove manually. With an actual match. As someone that has always been a little afraid of fire, I was really not sure if I could do this. Would I be able to get over my trepidation to strike the match with enough force to actually ignite? Could I hold my hand steady enough to light the gas flame? I put myself to the test by deciding to make eggs for breakfast today. And I passed the test. With flying colors, I must say.

And this got me thinking about what can happen when we overcome our fears. Not only did I get to enjoy a wonderful breakfast, but the sense of accomplishment and confidence this small achievement gave me put a smile on my face that lasted all day. As silly as it sounds over something so trivial, I am proud of myself. And this pride and confidence creates an extremely valuable mindset.

One of my favorite quotes about the importance of mindset is something Yogi Berra once said: “Baseball is ninety percent mental, the other half is physical.” While his math is a little sketchy, the essence of what he is saying is completely correct: attitude is everything, and what is in your head impacts what you can and cannot do. We can let an irrational fear hold us back from doing something… or, we can dive in and amaze ourselves when we find out what we are capable of.

The other day, someone told me that they try to do something that they are a little bit afraid of every day. This doesn’t mean that you skydive or bungee jump everyday – it can be something small, like lighting a stove. Or it can be taking your first solo trip, something I was scared to do at first but now I totally love!

But the point is that you do something out of the norm for you, something that makes you a little bit uncomfortable. As has been said many times: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

The more you dive in and overcome naysayers and fear, the more you begin to live. The resulting positive feelings will only build on themselves. Before you know it, you will gain confidence in yourself as a capable person with a can-do attitude, able to take on whatever challenges life decides to throw at you.   We face our fears together


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